How To Create A Social Media

How To Create A Social Media Strategy In 5 Steps

Social media marketing is a necessity for small- and medium-sized businesses.


This rings true for larger brands as well, but they are more established and have larger budgets to support a broader marketing mix. Smaller businesses must leverage internal resources and can’t afford any waste.

From producing content to engaging with customers, social media offers an inexpensive way to broaden your customer base and create long-lasting relationships.

When they are executed correctly, social media strategies can help brand your business and build a strong online presence for the long term.

1. Start by Choosing the Right Platform (Audience)

For your social media strategy to succeed, you have to pick the right platform for your business.

The platform should be selected based on research. Where do your types of customers hang out the most, and what are they looking for? (that you can help them with?)

Choose social platform based on usage and audience demographics

Choose the right platform for your targeted audience

The social media site needs to be content friendly so that you can upload images, blog articles (LinkedIn, Medium) or white papers (

Instagram photos are 15 times more likely to be shared than Facebook photos, so a photo-rich industry may want to focus primarily on Instagram.

However, don’t forget Pinterest, they have a powerful advertising platform as well.

Meanwhile, snippets, links, blogs and articles are easier to share on Twitter and Facebook (Instant Articles).

Finally, as mentioned – consider the locations where your prospects hang out because these will be the most effective platforms to spread your message.

2. Create Your Social Media Objectives

Once you know where you will place your content and what they are looking for, you have to decide on your goals.

content marketing lead gen goals

Lead Gen Opportunities Via Content Marketing

You need clear objectives because these goals will help you determine if your marketing plan is a success or a failure. In addition, you must determine the metrics that let you know if you have gained a return on your investment. (Web Analytics)

If your goal is to increase website traffic, your social media strategy is a failure if your traffic does not increase.

Likewise, a goal of bringing in leads is a failure if your content is widely shared, but does not draw in new clients.

Go a step beyond vanity metrics like Facebook likes or Retweets.

Instead, focus on how your website is generating leads, web referrals and conversion rates.

The ultimate goal is always to boost your profitability, so any plan should be designed with that in mind.

3. Design a Content Plan

While mentions in the media are always a plus, you need to have a content plan for long-term success. (Think content calendar)

Articles about your business, new products, events and related topics will help to draw readers to your website.

In addition, Google loves fresh content, and so do your users. 

Fresh content and Google

Fresh Content, More Traffic & Engagement

Ideally, you should post at least once a week. For the best results, consider implementing a daily content goal, and refer back to your content calendar.

Your content plan should include the target audience, the frequency of your posts and the types of content you plan on posting.

Likewise, you should determine who will create the content and how it will be promoted.

Once you have answered these questions, you should set up a daily or weekly plan of blogs and social media posts that you plan on releasing.

You should also consider the types of keywords that you use because the search engines will use keywords as one of the factors to determine what your content is about.

4. Building a Diverse Content Strategy

Today, people go beyond just reading books and articles to get their information.

Videos have become a crucial part of social media success because people cannot just skim the video.

In addition, look into creating blog content and images that get placed on your social media profiles.

U.S. researchers discovered that the human brain can interpret images that the eye sees in just 13 milliseconds – the first evidence of such rapid processing speed. It was previously thought it took almost eight times longer for humans to process a picture.”

visual elements and the human brain

Use visual elements when it supports your story/message. Human beings process imagery faster than text.

The human mind can process visual presentations much faster than words or speech, so a picture can convey your message much faster than content.

By diversifying your content, you can ensure that your business can reach out to every type of consumer.

5. Test and Adjust Your Marketing Plan

Even with the best social media strategy, adjustments will always be needed.

social media metrics that matter

Decide on the right social media metrics

Before you put your plan into action, decide on the metrics that you will use to determine how successful your approach was.

Tracking things like the number of clicks from a link, visitors to the blog, leads generated and website traffic will help you determine if your social media plan needs to change.

Every business is different, so your company may need a unique blend of social media platforms or content to become successful.

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3 Powerful Tips For An Effective Tweet

If you want to get your brand name out there, you should be on Twitter.


With over 310 million active users, according to Twitter, (SocialBakers) the opportunity to engage with new and existing customers is almost endless.

best tweets optimization

Don’t waste this chance by posting fluffy or irrelevant tweets, though.

Check out these three tips to ensure your brand is creating meaningful relationships with your audience on Twitter.

#1 Have an Interesting Message

Just as if you were trying to make a friend, communicate with your audience through topics that relate to both parties.

For example, Orkin Pest Control understands that users follow its Twitter account because they have an interest in science and animals.

To engage with these followers, Orkin posts about a variety of science-related topics, such as a picture of a ladybug in its natural habitat and a reference to the new science-related “Ghostbusters” movie.

To increase your relatability on Twitter, keep your tweets short but personable with words like “you,” “your” and “us.”

According to Twitter research, users follow a median of six brands on Twitter and they are looking for interesting and fun content, news and updates, and discounts and promotions. Ensure you are one of those brands by using different tweet formats.

Try a mixture of:

  • stories, article and blog links,
  • jokes,
  • competitions,
  • …and interesting facts.

Your followers should be excited and rely on the information on your Twitter.

End your tweets with a call to action or hashtag to boost engagement. Whether you request a re-tweet, comment or link to a purchase page, a CTA is a great way to reach new audiences and encourage a response.

In fact, research conducted by Twitter revealed that 60 percent of respondents said they’ve made a purchase based on something seen on Twitter.

#2 Include a Visual

Social media company Buffer sampled 100 tweets from its Twitter account to analyze the use of images.

The result?

Images received:

  • 18 percent more click-throughs,
  • 89 percent more favorites and
  • 150 percent more re-tweets

And it’s no surprise.

Photos and videos stand out among the clutter of text and they implement a sense of reality.

To boost your engagement, re-tweet a picture of a customer using your product or service or upload an image of the office on a night out.

Ask your followers to tweet a picture of their favorite work night out to start a conversation. You could even create a hashtag and start a competition for the best picture.

#3 Be Cautious of Timing

Certain times of the day have more engagement than others, which can affect the effectiveness of your tweet.

Saturdays and Sundays see 17 percent higher engagement compared to weekdays, but only 19 percent of brands publish tweets on the weekends, according to Salesforce.

Depending on the culture of your brand, the time when your audience is most engaged may be different, so take the time to pinpoint when your audience is active on Twitter.

In addition to the days of the week, major events and holidays are important to keep in mind.

Is it a holiday like Mother’s Day or Christmas?

Is an important sporting event happening?

Use these themes to make your tweets more interesting and to engage in the viral-nature of the platform to reach new audiences.

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How to Master Twitter to Amplify Your Brand

Social media is here to stay, and let’s be honest: If your company doesn’t have a Twitter presence, it’s missing out on a giant opportunity to connect with customers and prospects.

Not to mention, if you’re not tweeting, you run the risk of appearing out of touch.

Global Connection with Twitter Hash Tags

Twitter branding the global way

Unfortunately, though, many companies are missing the mark on Twitter by failing to take advantage of all the the microblogging platform has to offer. Twitter plays a big role in many successful business plans. And, newsflash — even if your company is not active on Twitter, your brand likely exists. Meaning, whether you’re actively participating or not, your customers likely are — and some may even be talking about you, both good and bad.

So it’s up to you to get in on the conversations.

And with Twitter being free (besides any promoted tweets you may wish to pursue), there’s really no reason not to tweet.

Twitter boasts 310 million unique monthly visitors and is the second most popular social media platform. Suffice it to say, Twitter isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Listening is as Important as Tweeting

Twitter offers businesses a unique opportunity to not only hear customers’ thoughts, but to also have a glimpse at what’s being said about their competition and industry leaders.

This “inside” information is a great way to maintain a competitive edge.

Since Twitter is known well as a breaking-news platform, by keeping an eye on key accounts, you can have advance notice on any big announcements that are important to your company.

Not to mention that bench-marking your following and your impressions against your competitors’ is advantageous in setting goals for your own marketing campaigns.

What’s more, tweeters — now more than ever — expect to have their customer service issues addressed in real time by a company’s Twitter account.

Which means it’s crucial to have a dedicated staff member manning the social platform and ready to respond to customer service inquiries and complaints.

Follow the Crowd

While creativity is always a plus, if you’re just getting started on a Twitter strategy, there’s no need to recreate the wheel.

LifeLock, an identity theft protection company, is a great example of a company getting Twitter right.

While using relevant industry hashtags that people interested in their product would search, like #PrivacyAware and #OnlineSafety, the company makes it a priority to share the latest identity theft news, along with identity protection tips, positioning themselves as a subject-matter expert in their field.

Among the fashion brands capitalizing on social media are Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Burberry.

By staying trendy and timely, these brands know the value of a good tweet, appropriate response time and catchy photos of their products.

Use the Tools

According to, businesses should be taking advantage of the many Twitter analytics tools out there that are designed to enhance your brand.

Tools like Buffer, TweetDeck and Hootsuite allow you to schedule your tweets in advance and follow trends easily.

Furthermore, Twitter’s in-depth analytics dashboard allows you to see your top-performing tweets, as well as your mentions and followers, along with helpful tips to create more engagement.

Speak So Your Customers Listen

For lingerie-specific brands, whose customer base is predominantly women, it’s key to be immersed in women’s lifestyle topics, including fashion, beauty and wellness.

By sharing information on topics your customers care about, aside from company and product information (which can appear self-serving if that’s all you’re putting out there), you’re showing you care about and cater to your customers’ needs and interests.

And that you understand them.

And isn’t that what every customer really wants? Happy tweeting!

FREE: Download the free Social Media Performance Handbook that will show you how to set up your social media campaigns in 7 simple steps. Includes 2 bonus strategies not found in this post.

3 Website Improvements That Make for Happier Customers

3 Website Improvements That Make for Happier Customers

As technology improves, customers have higher expectations for business websites.

For instance, 52 percent of consumers say a high-performing website is their most critical expectation when visiting an e-commerce site.


Technology And Website Improvements Make A Big Difference

Forty-eight percent of users won’t wait for more than five seconds for a site to load and 33 percent will leave to buy from a competitor if a site takes too long.

Customers also expect more from mobile sites, with only 35 percent willing to wait longer for a mobile site to load compared to a desktop, compared to 44 percent of respondents willing to wait in 2014.

Staying competitive in today’s market means keeping up with your customers’ expectations of your website.

Here are three key areas where it’s crucial to make sure your website meets customer expectations in order to keep your customers happy.

#1 – User Experience

Your visitors’ user experience helps form their first impression of your website and your brand, which can play a crucial role in determining whether or not they decide to become a customer.

Business consultant Larry Alton recommends three initial steps you should take to optimize your visitors’ user experience.

Page loading impact

First, since page loading time has such a large impact on whether or not your visitors stay on your site, you should make sure your page loads quickly.

Google provides PageSpeed tools that your developer can use to analyze your site and identify areas for improvement.

The benefits of an SEO audit are undeniable and should always be considered before starting any SEO planning.

Ensuring that code is built correctly is important, including e-commerce and WordPress developed sites.

Website and data security

Second, with cyber attacks on the rise, it’s important to make sure your site and your customers’ data is secure.

Limit the number of users who have administrative access to your site, and use two-factor authentication to reduce the risk of being hacked.

Make sure anyone on your staff with access to your site follows your security policies.

Third, adopt a streamlined design layout that users will be able to view comfortably on mobile devices.

This means reducing excessive text and focusing on large graphics and video when possible.

For instance, if you view Apple’s home page on a smartphone, you will see a clean look with an emphasis on graphics and white space, minimal text, and icons for menu options.

#2 – E-commerce

E-commerce & SEO is another area where you should take steps to optimize your visitors’ experience.

The vast majority of your visitors come to your site not yet ready to buy a product. This means that you need to offer content that motivates them to stay on your page and get into your sales funnel.

One effective way to do this is having your home page offer a case study, e-book, guide, or video that addresses some need that your visitors have.

Your home page should also include calls to action oriented towards visitors who are looking for information or resources but are not yet ready to buy from you.

As for your sales page and shopping cart, the easier you make it for your customers to buy from you, the higher your sales conversion rate will be.

For example, Amazon includes a shopping cart icon at the top of its home page so that it’s easy for visitors to begin the purchase process as soon as they arrive.

Amazon also makes it easy to add products to the cart, begin the checkout process, choose shipping and payment options, review orders and make repeat purchases with one-click ordering.

#3 – Customer Service

Customer service is another crucial component of an effective website.

Forrester research shows that 76 percent of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a representative on the phone.

A good contact cloud center solution can help ensure that you’re able to provide your customers with consistent support across live chat and other media.

When customers do need help, they increasingly prefer live chat, with 65 percent now using live chat compared to 43 percent in 2012, according to Forrester.

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5 Ways To Increase Your App Store Downloads

The amount of downloaded apps from the Google Play store doubled downloads from Apple’s App Store in 2015, according to app metrics company App Annie.

However, the App Store still generated 75 percent more revenue, pulling in a healthy $1 billion in December alone, according to a Sensor Tower report.


Ways to increase downloads from Apple and Google “App Stores”

As these numbers indicate, app downloads are big business, but only if you know how to market them. If you are working in specific niches, like finance, banking and wealth management, there are specific ways to optimize mobile apps for banks.

Here are five ways to get more downloads and your share of the growing app market.

1. Optimize Your App Store Page

The most cost-efficient way to increase your downloads is App Store Optimization. ASO is essentially search engine optimization for app download pages, and the same general principles apply.

Your app name, keywords and developer name correspond to what would be considered on-page optimization factors in SEO terminology, and user ratings, reviews and number of downloads correspond to off-page optimization.

Your choice of your app name affects both your branding and your ASO, making it one of the most crucial factors for effective marketing.

A catchy name is good, but titles that include relevant keywords average 10 percent more downloads, according to MobileDevHQ.

Your app name can be up to 255 characters long, but iPhone users only see the first 35 characters, so lead with your keywords.

However, as with SEO, avoid artificial-sounding keyword stuffing.

2. Create a Promotional Graphic and Video

Graphics and video play an important role in promoting your app.

The App Store lets you include screenshot images and Google Play lets you display video.

Select images and videos that show off your app in action. Host your video on YouTube and display it on your Google Play page.

You also should embed your YouTube video on other sites and share it on social media.

3. Drive Traffic to Your App Store Page

Get the most out of your promotional video and app download page by creating a website to drive traffic to your download link.

The site can be a standalone microsite or it can be a dedicated page on a larger website that you use for other purposes.

For instance, Rooms To Go uses a traditional squeeze page model to drive traffic to its app.

The page’s opt-in form invites users to enter their phone number to receive a text with a link to the app.

An advantage of this method is that it creates a prospect contact list you can use for follow-up marketing.

4. Expand Your Reach With CPI Advertising

App marketer Victor Balasa grew his app downloads to over 7 million a year using a strategy that included cost-per-install (CPI) advertising.

Similar to pay-per-click advertising, CPI advertising enables you to display ads for your app across a range of media and you get charged a fixed rate or bid rate each time your app is installed.

CPI can get expensive, so use it strategically.

Balasa says it is best used in short bursts after you’re already getting a decent download rate from other methods because it gives your app a temporary push into the top 50 on Google Play and the App Store.

Leadbolt and Tapjoy are a couple of ad networks that specialize in CPI.

5. Extend Free and Discount Offers

Balasa also recommends offering your app for free or for a discount for a limited period to accelerate your downloads.

Use this technique in conjunction with a CPI ad campaign to strengthen your CPI offer.

To promote your discount, use apps that are similar to daily deal services, such as AppGratis.

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How To Optimize iOS and Android Mobile Apps (ASO App Store) For Banking

While websites have long worked on perfecting the art of SEO (search engine optimization), mobile applications for Android and Apple devices have been pioneering the field of ASO for quite some time.


Google Play – Top Mobile Banking Apps (picture)

The “ASO” acronym stands for App Store Optimization.

It’s a process that’s just as important as optimizing a website for prime placement in keyword-targeted search results.

With millions of mobile apps competing for the same set of users, on just two major platforms (Amazon is “tiny” in comparison), the difference between a bank that finds its app in the hands of consumers and one that languishes at the bottom of app store rankings can be traced directly back to the preparation and planning for app store optimization.

Below are essential “store” optimization strategies and procedures that need to be addressed before and during the app development, which also include submissions and finally, getting listed on Google Play and the Apple App Store (iTunes).

Before listing a new banking app for listing and subsequent download and installtion, there are nine ASO steps that must be taken.


Apple iPhone – Top 5 Banking Apps Apple Store

Here’s the process to follow:

1. Conduct Market Research

One of the biggest mistake that app developers make when creating a new banking application is that they don’t conduct market research.

Many developers assume that their app is the solution to a long-held customer problem, and that the sheer amount of demand for mobile banking services will help the app be discovered and routinely downloaded by the bank’s customers.

This is simply not correct.

Today, mobile apps must be thoroughly researched so that they can be effectively optimized and marketed after development is complete.

What does this mean?

  • Target the appropriate customer language and location.
  • Research the app keywords used by competitors in the industry.
  • Search for banking apps as a customer would and examine the results.
  • Consider the size of the competition and the prominence of their keywords: Can those keywords be effectively targeted by this new app?
  • What are the pros and cons of targeted obvious, or less obvious, keywords in each of the app stores?

By working through this list of key questions and considerations, it becomes easier to focus on what the app does, who the app works for, and who will find the app in a particular search.

This will help to create a blueprint for app store optimization practices that will give the bank a head start in reaching its target market.

2. Choose the Right Keywords

Choosing the right keywords can be an intimidating process for developers and banking executives who have never given them a thought before.

When it comes to making optimizing bank apps, however, there are a few places to start.

First and foremost, keywords should always be localized.

  • Does the bank serve only a certain city?
  • Certain counties?
  • A smaller geographic region of the country? If so, that local area is a key addition to the keywords.

Everyone searches for “mobile banking,” but how many customers search for “Cincinnati mobile banking” or “Ohio bank app?” or even “mobile deposit app” (broader).

By localizing a keyword, and targeting phrases that customers often use to find bank applications on Google Play and the Apple App Store, two goals are accomplished.

First, the application is associated with a local identity that makes it easier to discover in its target market.

Second, the bank is competing among localized keywords. It’s easier to “win” search results and appear at the top of those results because there simply is less competition in a narrow geographic area.

FACT: Over half of the discovery of new mobile apps are done via SEARCH.

3. Pick a Relevant App Name

In a bygone era, apps might simply be called “Mobile Banking” or “Mobile Accounts.”

That era is bygone for a reason: It was simply too hard for a customer search to find the right application for their financial needs.

In the modern era of ASO, the appropriate approach is to pick an app name that is inclusive of targeted keywords.

Both the Apple and Google app stores allow developers to submit an app with a short name for display on the home screen, and a longer name that is used for search discovery.

Leverage these two app names carefully.

The short name should include the bank’s name and a one-word description of what the application does.

The longer name should use a few words to describe what the app does with keywords.

A bank in Philadelphia might use the following title: “My Bank Accounts – a Delaware Valley mobile banking, check deposit, and payments app for [Bank].”

Good keywords are localized, relevant, and descriptive, whether they’re being used for SEO or ASO.

4. Create a Compelling App Icon

A plain white icon with a dollar sign is probably a terrible way to optimize an app for easy discovery.

Instead, paint with a colorful brush, get creative and make the bank’s logo front and center.

The icon is one of the first things people look at.

In fact, many people choose their banking apps based solely on the icon.

The most important job a bank has is to drive merchant loyalty and CRM. Provide this from a visual point of view as well.

With color and a centrally placed logo, trust and relevance are established at first glance.

5. Include Screenshots or Videos of the Most Important Features

Customers have found the app that they believe works with their bank’s accounts and features.

That’s a strong first step in the world of app store optimization.

What’s next?

Showing that the app is not only relevant, but also useful.

That type of information is conveyed visually by inserting a few key screenshots.

Show the app’s login screen, including whether it uses technologies like Touch ID. Chase Bank has implemented touch id.

If the app offers special features, like mobile payments, mobile bill pay, or remote check deposit, include screenshots that clearly show those features in action.

This will be the decision point for many customers, indicating that the app does exactly what they need it to do.

6. Draft a Useful App Description

The app description is not only a description of the key features, but also an important way to sneak targeted keywords into the app store listing.

Carefully craft a useful, easy-to-read, keyword-rich app description when listing the app.

Don’t be afraid to change this description over time, as many times as needed, to optimize its relevance and the app’s ranking in targeted searches.

7. Take a Proactive Approach to App Ratings

Both Google and Apple allow developers to ask for ratings within a newly downloaded app, but it’s important to go beyond that included feature.

Include a small line in the app description: “Let us know what you think of our new app by rating us!”

Customers will oblige, and the positive ratings they publish will help the app increase its relevance in targeted searches.

If there are any complaints, app developers will also know exactly what to work on for the next version.

Make sure to monitor and track your company reputation at all times.

8. Publish Regular Updates

Regular updates accomplish two goals:

  • First, they fix key bugs and increase the number of positive reviews written by customers.
  • Second, they help the app stay in the “recently updated” category on both the Google and Apple app stores.

This increases “clicks,” or taps, and can help boost both relevance and download rates over time.

9. Take App Promotion Beyond the Walled Garden of the App Store

The App Store can’t do all the heavy lifting required when promoting a new banking app.

It’s important to think outside the walled garden of the app store and do a little promotion on the bank’s website and at its retail locations, if they exist.

Use these opportunities to show a screenshot of the application, describe its key features, and provide a QR code that will allow mobile device users to go directly to the app store listing for a quick download.


These are the 9 Key Ways to Boost App Store Relevance.

An application won’t promote itself.

Instead, developers and banking professionals need to take time to perform market research, create keyword and marketing strategies, and give their app a solid introduction to the world when it’s first listed for download.

That includes a competitive analysis and complete technological and marketing audit, including fully understanding customers and their needs.

A strong start will help create momentum, drive keyword relevance, and push the app toward the top of search results.

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10 Cloud-Based Apps for Web Designers

With mobile devices now accounting for 51 percent of American adult Internet usage, it’s not surprising that web design has followed the Internet’s move to the cloud.

A signal of the sea change came in 2013 when Adobe dropped its traditional desktop-oriented Creative Suite in favor of its Creative Cloud line.

This was a move that initially outraged veteran Adobe desktop users but which ultimately tripled Adobe’s recurring revenue and stock value, McKinsey & Company reports.

Today web design is mobile oriented, and designers typically work on their mobile devices from the cloud. Here are 10 cloud-based apps that web designers find handy.

1. Mozy

Backing up your website is vital for disaster planning to make sure you don’t lose all your hard work and your online business doesn’t go down. Mozy provides automatic cloud-based backups that you can set and forget.

Mozy’s cloud backup feature comes with MozyPro with pricing starting at $109.89 a year for 10 GB or with MozyHome starting at $5.99 a month for 50 GB. An enterprise version is also available.

2. Adobe Animate CC

Adobe Animate CC is the current successor to Flash, the longtime web animation standard which Adobe is now phasing out due to security issues, software changes and battery life limitations, Fortune reports.

Adobe Animate CC features include animation creation, the ability to convert old Flash ads to HTML5 Canvas, vector art brushes that let you modify and rescale drawings without losing quality and export tools for exporting video to 4K resolution.

You can get Adobe Animate CC as part of a Creative Cloud Single App plan for $19.99 a month, as part of the entire Creative Cloud apps suite for $49.99 a month or with Adobe Stock plus Creative Cloud for $69.98 a month.

3. Affinity Photo

Serif’s Affinity Photo is emerging as a cloud-oriented rival to Adobe Photoshop. Designed for Macs and named by Apple as the best Mac App of 2015, Affinity Photo provides a dedicated RAW editing workspace compatible with all major camera file formats and supports Photoshop files.

Among other advanced features, Affinity Photo’s layering method lets you adjust images and vectors without disrupting them, while providing instant previews so you can edit in real time. Affinity Photo is currently available for $49.99 with no subscription needed.

4. Codeanywhere

For designers who want to be able to work from any location, Codeanywhere provides a cloud cross-platform integrated development environment that supports development from anywhere using a web browser and mobile device.

Written entirely in JavaScript, Codeanywhere runs entirely in-browser, includes an FTP client and Dropbox integration, features a sandbox with MySQL support and supports over 75 programming languages. Pricing ranges from a freemium version to a business version for $40 per month.

5. Sass

CSS can get hard to handle when you have to juggle multiple style sheets to manage thousands of lines of code.

To deal with this issue, smart web designers rely on CSS pre-processors, the best known of which is Sass (Synthetically Awesome StyleSheet). Sass helps you create code that’s easy to maintain by letting you write CSS in the style of programming languages with variables and functions, for compiling into browser-ready CSS format.

An open-source program, Sass is free to install.

6. CodeKit

Like multiple CSS sheets, projects with multiple HTML pages can get cumbersome when you have to change one element across multiple pages.

To make editing easier, the CodeKit template engine adds variable and file import ability to HTML to let you make changes to multiple pages from a single template instead of editing pages individually.

CodeKit pricing options currently range from $32 to $39.

7. GridFox

Getting your layouts to display properly across a wide range of strings can be tedious. GridFox makes design layout easier by superimposing a reference grid over any webpage so can check your grid-based designs.

You can also modify grids and save them to the cloud for future use.

A Firefox add-on, GridFox is free.

8. Balsamiq Mockups

Wireframing simplifies web design by visually stripping sites down to their essential functional and user interactive elements.

Balsamiq Mockups lets you do wireframing from the cloud by providing hand-drawn style elements you can drag and drop to preview your site.

Pricing for the cloud-based version of Balsamiq Mockups ranges from three active projects for $12 per month or 100 active projects for $199 per month.

9. Grunt

Web design tasks such as minification and compilation are repetitive.

Task runner program Grunt automates repetitive tasks by letting you install JavaScript plug-ins or by writing your own task scripts.

An open source program, Grunt is free.

10. Dropbox

Storing and sharing files is an essential part of collaborative web design.

Dropbox makes it easy to share files of any size between your devices or with other users by using simple drag-and-drop features.

Dropbox is free for 2 GB of storage space and costs $9.99 per month for 1 TB.

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How an Effective Product Page Design Can Boost Sales

Between 2015 and 2020, retail sales will reach $523 billion, Forrester projects.

As e-commerce growth accelerates, marketing departments will prioritize the need to develop content that increases website traffic, with 65 percent of marketers investing the biggest part of their budget in social marketing, according to Gartner.

But while focusing on traffic, it’s easy to overlook the design elements that make product pages sell. Here are some key ways to create effective product pages through design, testing and implementation.

1. Design

There are nine product page elements that have the biggest impact on the user experience and sales performance. Here are a few:

  • The header image helps make the sale by speaking to peoples’ emotions. And, imagery is an especially important consideration in industries like clothing, where detail makes the difference. Accordingly, the Gap’s home page is dominated by images of models posing in various clothing items, with minimal text.
  • Product names can also speak to peoples’ emotions and create a rational appeal to buyers. To enhance emotional impact, include benefit-oriented descriptors in your product name fields.
  • Add buttons for buying items or adding items to a sales cart, followed by prices. In some cases, you might be able to showcase price discounts as well as prices. For instance, a TireBuyer product page for Goodyear Tires highlights a money-back offer in the space above the fold.
  • Use product headlines that draw attention to the overall benefits.
  • Include product reviews, additional photos or gallery photos and full product blurbs or specifications. These elements speak to the shopper who may already be considering a purchase, which can help close the deal.

2. Testing

Testing to improve conversion rates is another important step in page design. Many Internet marketing A/B split tests focus on tweaking details, such as alternating images, colors and fonts.

WordStream founder Larry Kim says these minor tweaks can sometimes boost your conversion rate a few points. But if you want to double or triple your conversions, focus on items that have a bigger impact on sales persuasiveness.

The biggest element you can improve is changing your sales offer. Many industries use offers that sound essentially similar to their competitors. For instance, most software providers offer free trials. You can make a free trial offer more compelling by making it more specific and unique, Kim says.

For instance, to promote his company’s online advertising service, Kim’s team used an online tool to offer visitors a free AdWords campaign performance grade evaluation; the company offered 40 hours of PPC analysis in 60 seconds or less.

Other elements you can adjust include the usability flow of your design and re-marketing to visitors once they leave your site.

3. Implementation

Successful page deployment also requires effective marketing implementation. This includes covering social media promotion and order fulfillment.

Limelight Department content strategist Steve Ference describes how his design team launched a successful T-shirt sales campaign for a client.

After building the client’s social media following and email list, Limelight photographed the T-shirt to promote through social media and email marketing.

Limelight also calculated shipping costs, calibrated the ordering process and coordinated with customer service representatives to ensure a smooth launch from start to finish.


SEO For Real Estate Agents

This Is Your Quick Guide To SEO For Real Estate Agents

Learn how you can beat Zillow at their own game!

Become a highly trusted real estate agent in the eyes of search engines and users alike – by following these SEO for real estate tips.



Real Estate Researchers state 90% (PDF download) of all real estate purchases begin with a simple online search on Google.

Plus, the importance of “local” search terms and the power of mobile friendly websites adds to essential drivers for future (your) real estate buyers and sellers.

The unprecedented success of SEO becomes easier to understand with these statistics:

real estate research starts Google online

Real Estate Research: Buyers Begin Online

It has become vital for real estate agents to grasp the modern advantages of ranking their site and targeting incoming leads through search engines.

Those who are not doing this will continue to settle for less. Learn the ins-and-outs of SEO in this article and get started on Real Estate SEO Training (Los Angeles courses)


Home Buyers & Sellers Profile – Research Data – people who used internet to search and those who did not

However, where does one begin when it comes to ranking a site and understanding SEO?

This simple guide to SEO for real estate agents should help set things up for those who wish to maximize the market to its fullest potential.

SEO Real Estate Definition?

Before progressing to the “nitty-gritty” details, let’s commence with what SEO is all about.

SEO is the idea of optimizing your site to help rank for targeted keywords (long or short) in a purposeful manner to help attract leads of buyers and sellers. We call this organic, natural or algorithmic search.

You of course have options to buy your real estate keyword clicks, say on Google Adwords or Yahoo Gemini. Facebook Ads and Twitter Ads both have great targeting and lead generation opportunities.

But, once you rank using SEO for your local real estate terms, that listing if FREE in search results – forever.


PPC & SEO graphic on Google For Real Estate Search Terms

For example, a prospect visits Google or Bing, enters a word or phrase (i.e. Real Estate Listings Beverly Hills), and clicks on one of the results that show.

(Ed. Note: In the picture above, you see and as highly authoritative sources. They are known brands to search engines as well as users. But, this doesn’t mean that you cannot position yourself in your region for highly valuable search terms, as you’ll see.)

With a simple search, the site they clicked has gained a new lead (assuming they contacted you, via phone, search or form submission). You want to be that site and SEO coupled with lead conversion optimization is how it is done.

When you rank for keywords for your area, you are the site that will show up when the prospective client types it into search engines.

Real Estate SEO Keyword Research

For a successful SEO campaign, you need to be particular about your keyword research.

seo keywords tools for real estate

Learn How To Use The Best Keyword research tools for real estate

This is the foundation you are laying down for the site.

If the keywords being targeted are not valuable, the work you put in will be wasted.

So, what should a real estate agent look for when it comes to keywords?

You are going for local key strings.

Let’s stick to the example of Los Angeles for this part of the guide.

A few examples of keywords you might target would be the following.

Here we use Los Angeles (LA) as an example, but you can replace the location with [City], or [Your Town]. That includes using specialized, local terms like [South Bay] (Just south of LAX region)

  1. Best Homes in Los Angeles
  2. Best Homes In LA
  3. New Homes For Sale In LA
  4. Best Real Estate Agent In Los Angeles
  5. Top Real Estate Agent In LA
  6. Real Estate For Sale In The South Bay

These are just a few examples.

You can create an endless list if you’d like. Ubersuggest is an excellent tool if you are finding a hard time coming up with potential options. It will pop out hundreds for you to work with.

However, anyone can do this. You need to make sure those keywords are being searched up as well.

This is where you will use a keyword research tool & planner (Read the Google’s Keyword Planner example for local cities). Start entering in these keywords you have come up with. You will then look at how many “monthly searches” these keywords are getting.

Do NOT go for the highest trafficked numbers found in the Google Keyword Planner Tool! That is a mistake. Instead, look for the competition level column and see how the local identifiers coupled with the competitive metrics stack up instead. Look at Low to Medium numbers.

Look to create a list of 20-30 real estate related keywords with variations of length, location and types of searches to start.

Unique and Custom Content Is Important

SEO is more than keyword research, despite what the first segment of this guide states.

It requires precision and an eye for detail.


Content and Real Estate Agents – Create the difference

It also requires an appreciation for the reader’s intelligence and understanding of what they are looking during their Customer Journey. (Read my article on Huffingtonpost regarding Commercial Intent)

You are not aiming to outwit the reader with real estate SEO, but instead, educate and woo them with current, fresh information while you create triggers to engage them.

For example, you can create a popup or message that says: “sign up to get my daily real estate alerts for your area with price comparisons, selling history, information for families, and much more”.

This is done by presenting quality content they will wish to read.

Getting a person to come in from Google is the easy part. But, you want to convert them as well. A visitor is useless until it leads to a conversion.

This doesn’t mean they will pick up the phone and call you directly at that time – you must engage them, capture their email and look at options like retargeting.

Video on retargeting pixels:

Therefore, you want to create custom content, which seems to weave in keywords without being abrupt or reckless. This is the sign of a well-oiled SEO campaign. You will gain far more traction doing this than someone who blindly copy/pastes content in the hopes no one will notice.

15-20 years ago you would have used radio, tv and the now outdated Yellow Pages. Leverage content creation and promotional strategies instead, and learn about content marketing (definition) today.

Google and other search engines notice changes and updates on your pages. Their bots are meticulous about this – unless you have blocked them from accessing your online assets. And yes, that includes media like video, books, news and more.

Use SEO Plugins For Your Real Estate Web Site

If you are using WordPress for Local SEO, you should be looking to download Yoast as soon as you can. This is one of the better “free” SEO plugins on the market right now. It will tell you when the content being posted is 100% SEO friendly or not.


WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast (for Real Estate Agents too)

This is vital because you might miss out on details along the way.

NOTE: Do not follow it as ‘gospel’ – but leverage the tool as a guide, and it will help your search engine optimization work.

It will provide you with hints as to what you can do to optimize the content before publishing it.

Follow the lead and watch as your real estate website comes to life.

Do Not “Keyword Stuff”

This guide has to repeatedly state this because keyword stuffing is a major sin in the world of SEO.

You will have all of these great keywords, and it will become enticing to add them as many times as you can into the content. However, this does not work.

Here’s a quick video on doing better keyword research for financial markets, the real estate industry and related businesses:

The bots will know when you are keyword stuffing. There used to be a certain percentage (keyword density %) regarding keywords, but that’s not an advisable strategy any longer. Instead, sprinkle keywords naturally throughout the copy and use related terms and links within the copy to help the reader.

Real estate websites have to be on top of this and make sure the keywords are positioned well, and that the text reads well.

It is of particular importance in this niche because the client has to make a major decision and will read through every word, especially details around the home properties.

It’s obvious if you are doing it (to users and search engines), and you will eventually drop in rankings and potentially permanently filtered.

Keyword stuffing is unacceptable.

On Page SEO Matters

On page SEO (vs. “off-page SEO” – links) is all about what you are doing on the site itself.

That includes the copy (text) and also the internal (HTML) code that the search engines will capture and store in their databases.


What is on-page SEO? (picture)

You want to make sure all of the tweaks are made to improve the site and make it easier to rank. You want it to be full of custom content, rich in keyword quality, easy to use and have the appropriate meta tags in place.

Real estate agents will be smart to interlink (link out to other pages on your site, and also externally) as much as possible.

This gives the site a better look in the eyes of search engines and provides a “trusted” resource that will invite repeat visitors.

You should also be seeking to change the URLs and have them as clean as possible (no unnecessary letters or numbers).

You want to add meta descriptions to entice the user to click on your result in search engines. Don’t worry about stuffing keywords here. Think about the user’s needs first. This is the first thing a person sees when the site pops up on Google. It is the little blurb under the link.

Build Backlinks And Remove Dead Links

Backlinks are vital, and Google was built on this premise: get a trusted link or vote from another source with a relevant context. shows millions of backlinks, but you don’t need that for your local area.

realtorcom-backlinks-snapshot – backlinks snapshot (majestic)

You want to show Google this is a well-connected site that is appreciated in the real estate niche.

Ever seen agents who have joined up with a big firm and automatically start ranking? You will see this often when you are doing your homework on how to make things work online. Bigger firms have acquired trust and authority online, and they have a lot of links, and many of them are high quality too.

Those agents are not ranking because of a magic potion.

They are ranking because of quality backlinks from the web and back to their agency or firm’s website pages.

The organization places pictures, content and build their own link from their trusted site site and providing “SEO juice” to help the new agents.

It is a simple process and one that works.

You will have to do the same without the aid of a big agency’s site. You will use it through other means such as asking for them and visiting forums, related sites, and blogs. That includes guest blogging as well (which is not dead by the way!)

You want to build as many backlinks as you can in a natural way.

Please do not spam as that is unacceptable and will make you seem unprofessional and Google will not help you either.

You want to approach site owners and ask for guest spots on their site. You might even find people who are willing to take a monthly payment in some cases, but tread carefully. Google doesn’t like paid links.

And remember – local links and citations (references) are hugely valuable to your brand, and you’ll rank for search terms when applied correctly.

Social Media For Real Estate Agents

Search engines have come to expect the best to be seen with data consistency and proper connections to their social media accounts.

You want to have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram to name a few.

And, make sure those accounts are active and fresh with content, listings, giveaways, contests and more. But, don’t just flood these with information. Watch for where your audience ‘lives’, and engage on those platforms. Be different.

They should be connecting to your main site at all times and you must provide a healthy, professional look and feel throughout.

This will help users find you, and Google will take note also. Building likes on Facebook is useful, but not as good as presenting quality content that people will share, and eventually comment on. (Plus, running Facebook ads for folks who already like your page is incredibly powerful. Try it!)

The more these platforms are growing, the more it has become necessary for you to connect to them as a real estate agent.

Understand Competiton In Your Marketplace

What is the competition doing that you are not?

SEO is not just about doing your own thing; it is about learning from the rest of the field and making yourself stand out.

You don’t have to copy them, but being aware of what they are going for makes it easier to lay out your plans as well.  As you enter search terms yourself, look for the results, click on them, see what paid ads show up as well.

Anything you are not doing?

The competition is an excellent way to close the gap as much as you can.

Maintain Data and User Engagement Consistency

Regardless of what type of SEO campaign you are running, consistency is the name of the game.

You have to post fresh content (listings, blog posts, videos etc) on a regular basis and work hard on SEO as often as possible.

This is the only way you will take all of the major leads and get a fresh stream of new clients.

Remember, 90% of people in the real estate market start off with that simple search. You will see a noticeable increase once you keep at the SEO game.

REMINDER: Spamming Search Is Off Limits

Please do not spam.

It bears repeating: stop spamming.


You are only hurting yourself by spamming.

The site won’t do well in the search engines and you will look unprofessional, and possible become de-listed.

If there was one niche where spamming is off limits, this is the one without a doubt. Stick to your guns and do the right stuff to see results and work with a top Real Estate SEO Company.

This is what real estate SEO is all about, and this guide should give you the leveraged needed to push forward.

Finally, think about leveraging YouTube Videos and maximizing their results in search engines.

Many times these videos can be easier to rank in your SEO results than your websites.


There are of course lots of great resources available in this market. Here’s one we like – 42 Creative Real Estate Marketing tips from other experts that you can use.

Editor’s Note:
This post was written for real estate agents – and if you are seeking advice, training or consulting on Real Estate SEO and marketing, submit a quick request here. We are real estate SEO experts.


7 Warning Signs Your Content Marketing Sucks

Content marketing has quickly become a buzzword in the world of Internet.

The problem here is; most people are getting it wrong.

First of all, lets make it clear with the definition to the content marketing. Why not ask somebody who knows it all?


Wikipedia says:

Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. The type of content businesses share is closely related to what they sell. However, the content’s main focus is on the needs of the prospect. This information is consistently delivered and can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white paperse-books, infographics, email newsletters, case studies, podcasts, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, blogs etc.

In fact it means that content marketing should be useful, conquer the audience, and attract potential customers, rather than subtly promote a product or a service.

Everyone’s doing content marketing today. But there’s a problem. It appears that “content marketing” is more a buzzword rather than a long-term strategy for the company.

So before you decide whether this promotional channel works for your business, ask yourself the following question:

“Is it really content marketing you are doing here?”

Just because everyone is doing content marketing does not mean that they are winning at content marketing, or even if they are doing the right thing.

So why isn’t the strategy and content marketing working for you?

Here are a few of the common signs you may be doing it wrong. See if you can identify with any of these.

#1: You Have No Idea What Content Marketing Is About


The first sign that you have gone astray is advertising your products or services in a content marketing strategy directly.

Do not get me wrong, there is some product advertising here.

But if it takes more than 30% of your publications, this is not content marketing.

When you release a selling promo video of your product, or publish an article which points to why the prospect should buy the product you offer, you shouldn’t expect your readers go nuts and give your publications numerous likes, comments and re-shares.

The most effective content marketing is built primarily on the needs of your audience, and not on the need of increasing your sales (at first).

First, build a trust-based customer relationship, and then only you can move on to the sales stage.

#2: Your Content Isn’t Optimized


If you want your target consumer to spend his time and/or money on your business, you have to make your content simple to find.

So here comes SEO.

SEO goes beyond blog posts as it’s equally important to optimize your content marketing efforts, whether it’s an article, press release, status update and so on.

Keywords and relevant research are an essential part of of content marketing.

Using industry or niche specific keywords in the content assists the bots in identifying topics your website covers and index the pages and relevancy, to better to rank in search results.

These keywords are the words that customers are most likely to enter into a search engine to find the products or services you offer.

The battle online for your audience’s time is vicious, and if you don’t implement a content marketing strategy to fight off your competitors and boost organic traffic to your site, then you’re doing this online marketing thing wrong.

Adding keywords is not going to take longer than 5 minutes, but it will get you customers. (Note: keywords research for an in-depth content strategy can take several days with follow-up meetings and final selections, as they are built into a content calendar and an overall promotional strategy).

Hence, identify and shortlist the keywords you want your business to rank for — opting for long tail keywords (3+ words) is wise too. Keep all your content creation and syndication efforts around these keywords to increase the exposure and relevance of your website in the industry as well as the market.

TIP: Use to dig deeper, along with

#3: Your Content Is Boring as Hell


Instead of creating the kind of content that works for themselves and their niche, some companies are turning their websites into content farms.

They are over-optimizing their keywords, they are making titles that make no sense, and worst of all; they have forgotten about the user.

That is pretty much the reason why all you see around you is ordinary content that adds value to no one.

While excessively entertaining content may attract the wrong target audience, boring your readers to sleep will also do harm to your brand.

Both facts and statistics are important and interesting to readers.

But at the same time, if your content is nothing else, it is going to be too difficult to perceive.

It is not an easy deal to add humor and personalize content in the initial stage of the funnel, when the visitor first comes to your site and knows nothing about you.

But neither it is the reason to be discouraged at this stage.

We all love positive human attitudes and a good sense of humor. Use common words. Add some humor.

Make your content look more like a personal story rather than a review article containing only the facts.

Content marketing appeared because “the world of technology” gave its grounds to the world of “Handshake Networking”, where you need to be on friendly terms with customers, and customer service is the number one factor to get people to buy your stuff.

By engaging in conversations with your prospects and customers, you can better adapt your marketing and business services to meet their needs.

Basically, you’re going to invest in building relationships online. Your network is perhaps your most valuable professional asset.

#4: You’re Writing For Yourself


Quite frankly, people do not want to know about you or the product – they want to learn about something unknown and exciting, and find information, tools and insider access that solves a particular problem.

It is important to combine all of these elements into something of value, but make sure you are listening to the needs of your readers, rather than polishing your own ego or overselling.

“If you want your company get results from content marketing, the first thing you need to do is to find out what customers want, what they are interested in, and how you can give that to them. In other words, your content should be a separate product rather than being a part of your marketing or advertising.” – Robert Rose, CSO Institute Content Marketing

Marketing experts usually start with identifying the needs of their audience, and then they switch to meeting these needs and delivering the valuable content.

If you think that you do not have any spare time to visit theme-specific forums, comment on blog posts, read articles dedicated to your subject matter, or communicate with customers through social networks, then you are going to fail building the appropriate customer relationship.

Be sure when you sit down to write content (or your hired writer who does it for you) that you start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

The blog posts, landing pages, and web content is NOT for you.

It’s for your target market.

Spend a lot of time thinking about what they need and what they want to know.

#5: You Are Being a Lone Hero


Content marketing is not something you should be doing it all by yourself.

Creating and promoting content, especially for a new site, is essentially a full-time job.

And you might want to outsource content marketing is because you have other things to do.

What else you can do:

  1. Engage your staff in content creation. Show them that their participation in a content marketing strategy would bring them career advancement and dividends.
  2. Use third-party content and case studies. There is nothing wrong in placing the content created by other companies in your blog. What is more important, is that you should add your thoughts, statistics or facts to it, and don’t forget to indicate the source.
  3. Engage your subscribers on the social media in content creation. This is an excellent way to attain loyalty, identify the needs and learn how to listen to your customers.
  4. Outsource big projects. Order several major studies, articles or video content from professional companies. You will not only get a high-quality content from the market experts, but will also receive a fair outside perspective onto your niche and business. If you’re in a tough niche, there’s no magic key that will produce instant success in your content marketing.You’ve simply got to strategize regarding the most effective form of content, and keep at it.

#6: You Lack Focus On Your Business


Ask yourself these 2 pivotal questions:

  1. What are you trying to make your customer do after having read your articles or e-books?
  2. Does your content lead your customer do this?

If you create content only because it’s easy, you aren’t likely to enjoy the outcome.

The effective content marketing should consist of these two things:

  •  Storytelling
  •  Focus on making this storytelling coincide with your business goals

None can survive without the other, otherwise you will not get the desired outcome.

There’s one more thing to remember.

“The quickest way to kill your content marketing is to do nothing after you create your content.”

If no one can see your content piece, what was the point of writing it in the first place?

The important thing to remember about content marketing is that half the work is creation, the other half is promotion.

Promotion is the heart and soul of content marketing, so if you’re not doing it well and often, then you’re going to be dead in the water.

#7: You Are Stuck In a Sales Funnel


At the end of the day, it’s still marketing, but your task is to make people forget that it actually is one.

People don’t want to be convinced to buy something – they want to think that they made the decision themselves, and when you’re pushing content in their faces which sounds too salesy, they’ll see right through it and leave.

What happens once a potential customer left you his contacts for to obtain valuable content?

Does he receive an email or the call from the manager? Or his contact info is merely dusting in your client database?

You may not be targeting your visitors at all points of the sales funnel. If you don’t have any clear plan for carrying your customers throughout the sales funnel, then your content marketing is worthless.

“An integral part of the problem could be that your sales crew know nothing about your content-marketing strategy.”

They do their best to close the deal, while not being aware of what it all is about. If your crew don’t know your business goals and plans, the sales are going to be affected correspondingly.

To address this problem, it is necessary to put together all of your sales department, and lead them throughout the funnel, from visiting the the website and obtaining the client’s contacts prior to the first sale.

This will help maximum efficiency to transform website visitors into buying customers.


Here’s the TL;DR for you…

Your Content Marketing Sucks because:

#1 – You Have No Idea What Content Marketing Is About
#2 – Your Content Isn’t Optimized
#3 – Your Content Is Boring as Hell
#4 – You’re Writing For Yourself
#5 – You Are Being a Lone Hero
#6 – You Lack Focus On Your Business (Building)
#7 – You Are Stuck In a Sales Funnel

The content popularity promptly grows in an online business, therefore content marketing is increasing in value.

Becoming successful in this field becomes more and more complex, and your rivals will always beat your heels.

But better late than never.

So if you still have not have launched a marketing content for your business, now is just the right time to do it.

Good luck!


Kristina Smile – is a CMO at TriggMine, an email marketing automation service.

She is great at email marketing tips & increasing conversions. During the past 2 years she successfully launched more than 50 email campaigns for e-commerce websites.

She’s also the voice of TriggMine. Kristina has performed as a speaker at 100+ events in Europe & Asia. She believes that email marketing rules and data is king.