blocks stacked in a pyramid with social media logos displayed

10 Reasons Why Your Company NEEDS a Strong Social Media Presence

Social media isn’t just vital for your business, it’s actually a lot of fun.

Trust us, we know the world of social media may seem overwhelming! That’s why  it’s so important to choose the correct social media platform for your business and utilize social media correctly. We still get the question regularly: “Is social media worth it?” Here’s why its not only worth it but why its vital to your business.

10 Reasons Why Your Company NEEDS a Strong Social Media Presence

  1. Limitless Potential – Extends your customer reach to an audience that might have never known about you. The potential for new customers is limitless. On the other side of that same coin, company’s can now get extremely focused with who they target on social media eliminating wasted marketing spend.
  2. Branding – Think of your social pages or profiles as an additional storefront.  Make sure when potential customers are coming to your online storefront, that they are seeing your company’s brand identity.
  3. Connecting to Potential Customers = Increase in sales.  You don’t necessarily need to take it from us – just look at Major brands across every industry. They are using social media to raise awareness of their new products and services to generate leads and new business. That’s because it works. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a huge brand, or a small family owned company….if social media is done right, it will increase your sales.
  4. Social Media is the new Search – Yes people use Google and Bing still to search but they are also staying on their social media channels and searching for the answer as well as SOCIAL PROOF through reviews, etc.
  5. It’s Free!  Setting up your pages is free. Maintaining them is another story because it does take time and resources.  Hopefully after reading this list you see how important a strong social media presence is.
  6. Share Your Strengths and Insights– This is the new way to advertise your company’s value proposition!   Social Media has transformed business marketing into a forum that has trackable engagement and interactivity.  By sharing your strengths on social media, you position your company as the experts in your industry.
  7. Building Relationships with Direct Access – Customers, friends, fans, supporters have direct access to you which is something they have never had before. This can mean a lot of additional feedback, but also a built in engine to help manage it. The new age of customer service is here.
  8. Social Media Influences Search Engine Rankings– Search Engines incorporate social media into their algorithm when calculating results, so having a strong presence in Social Media carries over into SEO
  9. Competition – If your competitors are already using social media this should be a “no brainer.”  However, if they are not, you are a step above them. Companies that invest in Social Media now are connecting with their customers in a way other companies are not. Don’t just stand out in a a crowd, Rise ABOVE the crowd.
  10. Social Media is not going away!  It is not a fad, in fact it’s growing substantially, and staying for the foreseeable future.!   Time is increasing for the average person visiting social media websites, which means the time of reading newspapers, watching TV, and listening to radio is decreasing.

To get the conversation going about YOUR social media presence, reach out to us @ hello@paramountgr.com

 

Find customers near you.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO is important. In fact, it should be vital practice. However, before we begin to understand what ‘off-page SEO’ means and the various methods that relate to its techniques, let’s touch briefly at what ‘on-page SEO’ means.

On-page SEO (or on-site SEO) refers to all the elements on your web page that you can control in order to make it visible to search engines.

For instance: For on-page SEO, Paramount focuses on internal linking – which means using a clear navigation with a naturally flowing organization. We ensure search engine friendly URLs that have relevancy to the content being distributed. Pages and images on your site need to be fast loading. And not much of this will do you any good without submitting regularly updated XML sitemaps and reminding search engines like Google to index your website regularly. Google also needs to make sense of your media as well, so we make sure to tag your images and videos properly as well.

EFFECTIVE on-page SEO can be considered a technical job, and advanced or aggressive tactics should only be trusted to a professional. Nevertheless there’s nothing particularly complicated to carrying out the basic techniques of good SEO. It’s truly about adopting a routine or having a checklist in place that ensures you remember the tasks that benefit your page’s visibility most.

Here’s the essentials of off-page methodology.

Off-page SEO

This refers to the methods that you can use to raise the ranking of a website through promotional means, outside of the actual code or design of the site itself.

For example…

Link building

Google treats a link from another website to your site as a digital referral or a vote of confidence. Google will therefore rank you higher based on that vote. Therefore the more good quality sites that link to your site, the better.

Not all links are born equal though. One link from a high authority site – something relevant to your industry that ranks well itself – is much better than many links from a bunch of low authority sites.

Part of your off-page SEO strategy would be to get your links on higher authority websites.

Be careful though, as artificial link building through the buying and selling of links or the use of automatic programs to create links to your site are considered ‘black hat’ by Google and will result in penalization.

The key to generating good quality links to your site is to create good quality content, the kind that other people want to link to.

If you’re a start-up with limited exposure, one of the best ways to get your content recognised is through social media.

Social media

It’s simple: Get on Twitter, get on Facebook, get on Vine, get on Pinterest even…Find out where your audience is and start talking to them there and don’t waste time anywhere that they aren’t. Know your audience.

Always remember its called “social” media for a reason, it’s all about engagement.

Stay consistent with good quality content and you can hardly go wrong.

Google+

Make sure your business has a Google+ page and make sure you’re sharing your content there. This is the only exception to the “audience” rule for social media…even if you don’t think your audience is on Google +, it’s very likely that Google uses its own social channel as a major signifier for ranking content higher when it’s shared via its proprietary channel. Cultivate a Google+ following and it will bring you major brownie points with Google – the most dominant search engine in the world.

Local SEO

Local SEO has grown significantly over the last few years, partially due to the rise of smartphone usage and simply better connectivity while on the go.

Although it has a lot of similarities with organic/on-page SEO, it’s actually very distinct. Local SEO is focused on providing results that are relevant to a searcher based on their current location. Google says that one in three US mobile search queries is now ‘local’ and 87% of people use their phone when on the go. Google also found that 95% of mobile users look up local information on their phones and the the most dominant functions that typically follow are calling or visiting a business.

Today’s “phonebook” is search engines, and they can do so much more than list an address and number. Make sure you’re locally optimized so customers can find you when they’re right around the corner and ready to buy.

Off-page SEO requires a different discipline and skillset from the those needed for on-page, but both share the same end goal: to increase your website’s visibility.

Lead generation measuring tool pointing to sales.

The New School Rules of Old School Lead Generation

Contrary to popular opinion, online marketing has not eliminated the need for older-fashioned lead generation to bring customers to a small business or start-up. Indeed, while the rules and technologies for lead generation have changed, many experts still see it as the most effective way for businesses with limited budgets to maximize their return on marketing investment (ROMI).

One of these experts, David T. Scott, just published a new book that I like, The New Rules of Lead Generation, highlighting the changes brought by the internet and social media. Here is my summary of the seven most successful lead-generation vehicles he recommends today:

1. Search-engine marketing.  For small businesses to get the phone ringing, search engine marketing (SEM) is still one of the most cost-effective and scalable lead-generation approaches. It’s also one of the most accountable, with in-depth data provided by search engines about performance. You can start an SEM campaign with a relatively small budget today and get results very quickly.

2. Social-media advertising.  Social-media advertising relies on popular social media sites (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) to generate leads through pay-per-click ads and tweets on sites that target customers in specific demographics or under specifics contexts. In other words, you can get your ads in front of a targeted audience very simply, and send your message out to ONLY that audience – when done right, this practice tends to turn up more quality than quantity, which isn’t such a bad thing when resources are limited.  You bid on the amount you are willing to pay for a click or promoted tweet (such as $2), and a daily budget (like $1,000).

3. Display advertising. To use online display ads to generate leads, you post ads on websites frequented by your target audience or ones with content related to the ad. Display ads on mobile devices, including video and audio, also offer a new opportunity to reach target customers. Again based on contexts of user patterns, display ads get placed in front of the right people at the right time.

4. Email marketing. This one has been around a long time but still works well if your target demographic is well defined and you do your homework to buy or rent a top-quality mailing list. New technology allows for psychographic targeting (such as finding people who like to travel) and geotargeting (specifying a certain neighborhood) for improved response and spam avoidance.

5. Direct mail marketing. Some consider direct mail very expensive or dead as a lead-generation tool. Yet it is more alive than ever before. About $20.5 billion is being spent annually on direct mail, according to the U.S. Postal Service; the amount has been increasing each year. Compared with other methods, it does require the largest up-front investment, mostly for printing and shipping but tends to yield surprising results in this digital age.

6. Cold calling. This is still one of the best vehicles if your business has a small, well-defined purchasing audience as do government agencies or medical establishments. You need to first purchase or build a targeted list of clients from a trustworthy source, then refine it with some new tools, like LinkedIn and Gist, before contacting them with a good script. But do make sure the script is good… or don’t even bother.

7. Trade shows. Such forums are still the best opportunity for you to meet face-to-face with people who should be interested in your products or services and to display your goods in person. Pick the right shows, start small and work hard ahead of time on your marketing materials, promotions and especially booth staffing.

In all cases, it is crucial to set specific goals for each lead-generation campaign, keep track of the overall costs and measure the return on your marketing investment in terms of cost-per-action and cost-per-sale. Don’t hesitate to use small test projects to compare the results of multiple approaches.

Technology and consumer feedback have indeed changed the landscape. Telemarketing and robocalls, once a popular approach to lead generation, have been the subject of recent legislation, which many believe will soon eliminate these options. The last thing a new business needs is to antagonize potential customers or become embroiled in controversy. The antithesis of the famous Nike mantra: “Just Don’t Do It”

Plus lead-generation strategies can now be easily updated by the flood of new technologies and software, including use of near-field and Bluetooth communications, QR codes, social check-in promotions, mobile search, mobile web, text, SMS, MMS and geolocation. All Beautiful, trackable stuff if you’re a marketer.

Whether you are an entrepreneur with a new startup, or a mature business charged with improving your growth and competitive posture, don’t fall into the trap of assuming that the new social media initiatives and focus on viral will mitigate your need to do proactive lead generation. Mix the old-school in with the “newish” school and you’ll find a balance engineered to boost business.

Hand clicking on envelope representing an email.

7 Keys to Effective Email Marketing

Email marketing was already old before social media marketing came of age. It’s a testimony to the efficacy of this model that this continues to be an important channel for millions of small businesses. Email marketing lists are considered priceless and businesses go to great lengths to develop and maintain them for two reasons: sales and more sales.

Here are seven small business email-marketing ideas that will drive qualified, in-the-mood-to-buy traffic to a company’s website.

1. Make the sign-up process easy. Place a sign-up box high on the company’s website and add a link to the email-marketing signup page on the organization’s social media profiles. This can serve to drip feed a steady list of new prospects.

2. Grab the reader’s attention from the subject line. Start with a compelling proposition: a teaser, giveaway or discount. Try to hook readers from the beginning so they’ll read till the end. Oh, and do this so the email isn’t snagged by the spam filters.

3. Stay compliant. Stay on the right side of the email service providers. Do not violate the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act of 2003. Email service providers offer tools and learning resources; use them. Know the difference between a “hard bounce” (the message won’t be delivered because of a problem with the email address) and a “soft bounce (the message hasn’t been delivered yet but might be later on).

4. Develop the audience. What sources are generating the most responsive audience members, the kind who open, read and click on the links of newsletter? Work further on those sources to build the company’s email newsletter list. Also work on developing more content, or maybe even split your newsletter into related audiences that are organized to receive unique information.

5. Use best practices. The most effective calls-to-action go above “the fold,” the area of the message that shows up on a computer screen, without a user needing to scroll down. Also emails without a lot of images typically generate a higher return on investment – depending on the audience. Keep in mind that images may not always load automatically or properly in some subscribers email clients – plan accordingly.

6. Be brief. Test and tweak until arriving at a satisfactory combination of format, structure and tone. Brevity is valuable; learn to say more with fewer words. Look up Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing about how to create crisp content. Readers might just scan an email newsletter. Pack in words with special meaning and use subheadings.

7. Keep the communication going. Judiciously use automated replies. Auto-replies are time-savers, providing useful information, nudging readers toward downloads, reminding them about freebies — all while generating information on subscriber behavior.