Posts by Kevin Kennedy
Post by Kevin Kennedy
Stenz Construction Corporation launched a new website this week to support their growth and to further position their organization as a leader in Indianapolis Construction Services.
Stenz is a full-service general contractor, construction manager and real estate services firm, headquartered in Downtown Indianapolis. Since their founding in 1973, Stenz has built an impressive resume of work throughout the Midwest and across a variety of project types; ranging from interior remodels to complex high-rise construction, and demanding historic renovation and adaptive reuse projects. Stenz's mission is to deliver quality, innovative and cost effective solutions to their partners and clients.
Beau Ansty, Director of Asset Management for Stenz, feels that the new site is a dramatic improvement over the company’s previous website and that it does a much better job communicating the organization’s heritage, expertise and capabilities.
“We have enjoyed working with Marketpath on the complete redesign of our website. Their expertise on the aesthetic and content strategy has been invaluable", said Mr. Ansty.
The new website, designed and developed by Marketpath, Inc. is structured around Stenz's construction services (general contracting, construction management, real estate services), while also hi-lighting their expertise with specific types of construction projects, including commercial, residential, historic, multi-family, retail, education, religious, and healthcare construction projects. One of the main areas of the new site is the Stenz Project Gallery, which features large, beautiful photography of various Stenz construction projects, showcasing the craftsmanship on display in many of Indianapolis' most significant landmarks worked on by Stenz.
The new site also features the Building Traditions Blog, which will provide information about significant construction projects around the state of Indiana, as well as best practices regarding general contracting, construction management, and historic building renovations and urban infill projects. The site was also developed with search optimization (SEO) in mind, so that Stenzcorp.com receives greater visibility within Central Indiana for their general contracting and construction services. The new site was developed using a responsive (mobile-friendly) web design framework, so that mobile users (phone, tablet, etc.) will have the best possible experience when viewing the site and interacting with Stenz Construction.
Finally, Marketpath worked closely with the Stenz team to develop an ongoing content marketing strategy focused creating credibility for the organization and greater online visibility. The content plan leverages the new Building Traditions Blog, to highlight the company’s expertise, while also leveraging visual content through multiple project galleries that feature imagery from Indianapolis area construction projects to hi-light Stenz's quality work. Content syndication via social channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus) are also part of the plan. And because Marketpath CMS (website content management) is very easy to use, ongoing site updates and content marketing should be easy to accomplish for Stenz's internal staff.
To learn more about Stenz Construction Company, visit their new site at www.Stenzcorp.com and to learn more about Marketpath, visit www.marketpath.com. If you'd like to view additional responsive web designs and sites, visit our Mobile Website Project Gallery.
We are seeking an experienced, full-time Website Designer to join our Indianapolis, Indiana team. If you are interested in applying for our Website UX/UI Designer position or in learning more about a career in web design and development and marketing technology solutions click here.
Or if you'd like to learn more about Marketpath, Inc., view our About Marketpath page. Contact us now if you'd like to join an innovative and growing marketing technology firm.
A locally owned family business that has been active in Indianapolis for over 10 years, The Peters Group is a leader in Indianapolis irrigation and lawn care, landscaping, and outdoor lighting services. Chris Peters, the founder and president of The Peters Group, feels that the new site is a dramatic improvement over the company’s previous website and that it does a much better job communicating the organization’s strengths and capabilities - to create and maintain beautiful and livable yards, lawns and outdoor living areas.
“I give Marketpath an A+ grade on their web design, development and marketing work. They helped to re-brand our company and also helped is develop an ongoing content marketing plan to showcase our leadership and expertise in irrigation and lawn care, landscaping, and outdoor lighting.”
The new site also features The Perfect Lawn Blog, which will provide home owners with tips and insight into lawn care, eco-friendly best practices, and ideas to help families get the most out of their yards and outdoor living spaces. The site was also developed with search optimization (SEO) in mind, so that The Peters Group receives greater visibility within Central Indiana for their irrigation, landscaping and outdoor lighting services. The new site was developed using a responsive (mobile-friendly) design framework, so that mobile users (phone, tablet, etc.) will have the best possible experience when viewing the site and interacting with the new Peters Group brand.
Finally, Marketpath worked closely with The Peters Group team to develop an ongoing content marketing strategy focused creating credibility for the organization and greater online visibility. The content plan leverages the new The Perfect Lawn Blog to highlight the company’s expertise, while also leveraging both written and visual content through multiple project galleries that feature imagery from Indianapolis area homes. Content syndication via new social channels (Facebook, Twitter) are also part of the plan. And because Marketpath CMS (website content management) is very easy to use, ongoing site updates and content marketing should be easy to accomplish for The Peters Group’s small internal staff.
To learn more about The Peters Group, visit their new site at www.thepetersgroupllc.com and to learn more about Marketpath, visit www.marketpath.com. If you'd like to view additional responsive web designs and sites, visit our Mobile Website Project Gallery.
Marketpath executives Matt Zentz and Kevin Kennedy survived (barely) the 2014 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon this past Saturday. The event, the nation's largest half marathon, is in its 37th year and kicks off Indianapolis' great month of May.
Now that the Mini is complete, and we are nursing our sore limbs, we have vowed not to exercise until the month is over. Bring on the Indy 500!
In a previous post, I wrote how website credibility, or creating credibility with your website, should be a small business’ number one objective. In my post, titled Credibility is Paramount for Small Business Websites, I suggested that creating credibility for your organization should be a significant part of your website strategy, possibly even more so than site visibility (via search engine rankings) - although both strategies should be connected. The basic reason for this is that credibility can dramatically impact not only your online conversions, but offline conversions as well, which can lead to greater sales and enhanced brand perception.
So if credibility is so important, what can you do to positively impact your organization’s credibility on your small business website? The truth is I have no idea. OK, I do have some idea, but as each business is different, so too will each plan be to create credibility for your organization. And, as I don’t know your organization like you do, I also can’t create a credibility plan that will completely fit your business – at least not until I learn more about your organization and your dealings. So, as you read through the rest of this article, use it as a starting point for your own organization’s credibility plan or something to get your creative juices flowing. With that said, here are three (3) main components to creating credibility on your home page and throughout your entire website.
- Have a Professional Looking Site:
As I mentioned in my previous article, your website is the new yellow pages for your business – it’s the first place any prospect will go when they want to learn more about your organization and what you do. With that said, you don’t want them arriving to your homepage and immediately having a poor experience (and opinion of your company). That’s what will happen if your site is old, outdated or poorly designed – even if you have good content within your site.
If your site looks unprofessional or unorganized, a prospect may never even take the step of browsing your site for specific content. If you have a high home page bounce rate, this could be the reason. Think back to the last time you went shopping in a new mall for the first time. You walk around and stick your head in a few stores to see if they quickly interest you. If they don’t quickly grab your attention, you don’t walk in and browse – instead you move on to the next storefront. Same thing with your website – make a positive impression in the first five to ten seconds, or the user will move on to other options.
Now days you also need to make that positive impression regardless of the device (desktop, tablet, phone, etc.) your audience is using. If you don't have a responsive web design or mobile friendly site, odds are that smart phone web viewers will not have a positive experience.
- Feature Content that Shows Your Expertise:
When I visit a website for the first time, my mental processing works like this. First, can I tell what the organization does in the first few seconds and do I get a generally favorable impression from the site’s overall appearance? If so, I then move on to my specific need or reason for searching or visiting that site. Does the organization offer the product, service, or information I’m looking for? If the answer is “Yes” again and I quickly see that high level offering (product, service, etc.), then I move on to specifics that will make me more comfortable in taking some next step (conversion), whether that next step is buying, making a call, or downloading an article.
So depending on what your organization does, what type of content will portray you as an expert, provide credibility, and make me more comfortable so I will take that next step (conversion)? Certain content, such as awards, press releases, membership in associations, or featuring well known customers, will provide basic confidence that your organization is credible. Different types of content can really hook me and drive me further down your purchasing or conversion cycle. If, for instance, I’m searching for a service offering, my next thought process may be whether your company has specific experience with my type of company or industry. Testimonials, case studies, project galleries, or white papers – specific to my industry or more specific needs (project type for example) – give me a much greater level of comfort that you are a viable option. Specific blog posts that touch on details (examples, industries, specific types of projects, etc.) can also provide that same level of reassurance I’m looking for, while positioning your organization as a leader in your space.
- Reinforce Leadership via Social media:
The third way to create web credibility is directly related to the strong content I discussed above. A strong social media presence can reinforce the positive impression your website provides, while allowing you to leverage some of that compelling content across multiple channels that encourage sharing and that will drive more eyes to your site. Nowadays, you may have certain individuals that start their search via different social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, or even Pinterest or Instagram if you have robust visual content. Having a strong presence on these sites will drive visitors to your website, but will also provide yet another level of comfort for those prospects that use that particular social marketing site. Reviews via sites like Google+, Facebook, Yelp, or Citysearch can also enhance credibility and help drive conversions, especially in certain industries (restaurants, service business, etc.) where reviews are prevalent. With that said, most small organizations don’t have the resources to have a positive presence on all the sites I mentioned. I’d recommend starting small and doing one or two social sites well, rather than trying to manage too much too soon. Remember, a poor impression on a social media site can be much worse than not having a site, and will hurt your credibility.
Whether you are designing a new website or just updating your current site, you should spend some time developing a content strategy that focuses on creating credibility for your website and your overall business. If you need help developing your social media or content strategy, contact Marketpath today. ,
KSM Transport Advisors (KSMTA), leaders in trucking profitability strategies and trucking consulting services, recently launched a new website to support their new branding and marketing initiatives.
David Roush, President of KSMTA, believes the new site does a much better of job of supporting the organization’s brand identity and communicating the organization’s leadership within the trucking industry.
“KSMTA needed a new website that looked polished and up-to-date, integrating our parent brand’s visual identity, while utilizing a flexible technology platform for content expansion and management. Marketpath successfully met our needs in these areas and more. Their professionals worked with multiple parties, including myself and our marketing team, in a seamless fashion. What’s more, the project came in on time and on budget and has received rave reviews from our clients.”
The new site, designed and developed by Marketpath, Inc., features new content focused on KSMTA’s two main trucking industry offerings:
- Carrier Profitability Assessments – Consulting assessments focus on industry best practices and benchmarks, providing a thorough analysis of the current situation and creating a roadmap so the identified issues can be quantified, prioritized and pursued.
- Carrier Profitability Products – Products that support and improve carrier profitability and efficiency.
The new site also includes KSM Transport Advisors’ new blog, Trucking Profitability Insights, where KSMTA will feature trucking industry expertise, insight and advice to help transportation and trucking organizations improve their operating efficiency and profitability. The site was also developed with search optimization in mind, so that KSMTA receives greater visibility within the transportation and trucking industry. It was created using a responsive (mobile-friendly) design and development framework, so that mobile users (phone, tablet, etc.) will have the best possible experience when viewing the KSMTA site and interacting with the KSM Transport Advisors brand. Finally, KSMTA is utilizing Marketpath CMS for ongoing website management – Market path’s easy-to-use solution for effective website content management and content marketing.
To learn more about KSM Transport Advisors, visit their new site at www.ksmta.com and to learn more about Marketpath, visit www.marketpath.com. If you'd like to view additional responsive web designs, visit our Mobile Website Project Gallery.
That’s the phrase to keep in mind with the introduction of Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm. While previous updates Penguin and Panda were modifications to the company’s existing algorithm, Hummingbird is a complete replacement. What does that mean for SEO? In a nutshell, the days of extensive keyword data are over – at least in regard to individual search terms driving your site optimization strategy.
Hummingbird is based on semantic search, which means that individual terms are no longer the main driving force behind what gets found during an online search. Instead, Google provides results it believes meet the context of the search and the user’s overall intent. Rather than one or two individual words triggering the results, entire phrases within the search help generate what is found.
For most, the change shouldn’t come as a surprise. Google has been moving in this direction for some time now, improving their technology to eliminate sites designed to game the system. Forward thinking web development businesses have anticipated the shift. Though extensive keyword data was valuable, and still is to some degree, it doesn’t remove the fact that what matters most is rich, engaging content that can be shared across networks.
Google’s position is clear: As the dominant search engine, the company wants to make sure they provide the results users want. The questions are simple:
- What is the user’s intent?
- In what context are they asking for this information? In other words, why is it valuable to them?
Though Google owns the market, they’re savvy enough to realize that the closer they are to the user’s target, the more likely they’ll remain the industry leader. At the heart of the movement is the need to instill trust. The user puts their trust in Google, and they, in turn, attempt to provide the best answers.
As a website owner, your job is to create valuable, relevant content. That’s what will draw people in. If you don’t, you can’t expect Google to find you.
Are you generating quality content that takes into account the changes in SEO? If not, Marketpath can help you put together a content marketing program. Contact us today to learn more.
Franchises have an interesting dilemma when it comes to search marketing and website design. The corporate hub usually maintains overarching control of the brand, but local franchisees need a relevant website that connects with their nearby customers. To ensure that local franchisees are able to develop a robust presence in their market while adhering to corporate mandates requires a delicate balance. Below are the top 5 best practices for franchise website design and marketing.
- Defer to Corporate on Branding: Your franchise has likely built its multi-million dollar brand through years of trial and error. Though you have rights as a franchisee, even minor changes to the logo, color palette, vision statement, and font can have repercussions. You need to leave those elements alone and focus on the regional aspects of your positioning.
- Assess the Local Market: After you’ve accepted that there’s little you can do with company brand, you can focus on the pieces that will draw customers to your local franchise. Make sure your website has a section specific to your local market, where you can provide content that may be specific to your geographic region. Having the flexibility to easily feature different products or services can go a long way towards local success.
You may also want to build online campaigns that speak to problems and solutions in your area. If your business is an auto maintenance and repair company, for example, consider the value you can provide customers specific to your climate. Perhaps your organization sells water filtration systems. You could build a campaign around where your water is sourced. Or if you own a restaurant franchise, consider campaigns that connect to local events, teams or themes.
- Everyone Likes a Deal: The corporate franchise may have national offers, but as a franchisee, you probably have the leeway to offer specials specific to your market. When designing your website, make sure your franchisor includes a section for deals exclusive to your city or region. Consider including a subscription form to collect visitor email addresses for newsletters and coupons.
- Keep Control of Social Media: Headquarters will have its own content marketing collateral, which you should be able to use. Yet engaging with your local customers is even more important. If a customer uses social media like Facebook or Twitter to discuss your local franchise, you need the ability to respond and to develop ongoing communication with your customers and prospects. It’s corporate’s brand, but it’s your business and specific customer.
- Employ a Flexible CMS: Your website and content marketing system needs to meet the needs of both the franchisor and the franchisee while maintaining across the board consistency. Whatever website management or content management solution you choose should offer the flexibility to streamline corporate branding while enabling local franchisees to manage and update content related to their location or territory.
To learn more about ways to maximize franchise website design and marketing, contact Marketpath today.
Nearly 20 percent of web traffic comes through mobile devices. As smart phones become even more ubiquitous, that number will only increase. As a result, companies are compelled to create mobile-friendly versions of their websites. The debate that’s arisen from this growth is whether an organization should use responsive web design – creating a site that works similarly on a PC and a mobile device – or opt to create a dedicated mobile site.
What’s the Difference?
A responsive website is exactly how it sounds: It shifts and scales based on the vehicle the user is employing to see it. Large desktop monitor or small phone – the design is fluid and, well, responsive. A mobile site is built within a mobile framework. It’s a custom development designed to be experienced specifically on a smartphone. So how do you choose the right option for your company’s mobile presence?
The Case for Responsive Design
The number one reason to opt for responsive web design is overall simplicity. Regardless of where the customer decides to look at your site, they’ll be able to see it as it was intended. On the developer side, responsive sites, though more complex to create up front, are also easier to maintain down the road because the code doesn’t need to be modified to fit various formats.
Responsive design is also the preferred choice of Google, so that’s a big plus, too.
For a content-heavy site, responsive design may be the best solution. You create your content once and can publish it everywhere. You also spend less time on mobile-specific development because the site is built to accommodate large and small screens, and you have more time for content development.
We recently developed a micro-site for KSM Consulting (www.ksmconsulting.com/careers) and wanted the same basic content to be visible on all devices. But we also wanted a positive user experience, where the content was easy to read, regardless of whether you viewed it from a desktop or a mobile phone. Responsive was the perfect approach.
The Case for Dedicated Mobile Sites
Consider your average customer. Do they expect a custom experience when accessing your site via mobile? If so, a dedicated mobile site may be the better option. One example of this would be if the primary function of the site, or portions of the site, is meant to act as an application or connect with separate applications. On Amazon, for example, the primary action is for a user to purchase items while housing secure customer data. A native app would be able to integrate directly with a user's personal mobile device, which is easier for the end user if they want to securely open the app and buy something.
Another reason you might go with a dedicated mobile site, would be when special custom features or advertising are required. Responsive design sites typically don’t allow for the inclusion of advertising banners or other custom features. If graphic calls to action are a necessary aspect of your marketing plan, a dedicated mobile website is a wise choice.
The biggest reason to go with a dedicated mobile site is the user experience. Are you content with providing visitors the same interactive result no matter how they navigate to your site, or should the mobile experience be different fundamentally because of your brand or a unique service offering? If the latter, the choice is clear.
A final reason (and probably the most common) to go with a dedicated mobile site, might be that your business already has a well-designed website (non-responsive) and isn’t ready for a full site redesign. In that case, it may make more sense to develop a simple mobile site than trying to fit a responsive approach into a site that wasn’t designed that way. In some cases, this is a more economical approach, until your next major redesign.
Still Not Sure Which Approach Is Best?
Are you trying to determine the web design strategy that’s right for your business? Contact Marketpath today to learn more about our mobile design capabilities. Click here to see some of our latest responsive web designs and mobile web development projects.
The number of social media outlets continues to expand. Because of its quantity of users, Facebook is a must for most businesses, especially if they are consumer focused (B2C). Beyond that, the debate opens up. LinkedIn is extremely important to building professional relationships and for business to business (B2B), Twitter is the most dynamic, and YouTube has a sizable portion of the video market. But the social network with the most significant expansion is Google+ (or Google Plus).
Here are the top reasons your small business should use Google+.
- The primary reason your business can’t afford to ignore Google+ is its impact on search rankings (SEO). As the number one search engine, Google has incorporated Google+ into its algorithms. Here’s why this matters: Suppose your organization is on Google+ and posts content through its account. When one of your connections on the network does a search, your content is more likely to have a higher ranking in the results. Countless studies have been done on the value of page placement. Bottom line – the higher you appear, the better.
- Google+ is growing. The latest data indicates, with hundreds of millions of users, it’s the second largest social network behind Facebook, with just over 50% of internet users with a Google+ account. A business would be hard-pressed to ignore that many potential customers.
- Google’s integration is far reaching. Google Places and Maps, for example, impact local search results. When a potential customer does a search for a service – say, content marketing – a local firm with an active Google+ profile is more likely to appear near the top of the results. And let’s not forget Gmail – how long will it be before there is a closer connection between Google’s email users and Google Plus?
- One of the most valuable, new aspects of Google+ is its integration of Authorship. By linking a small business employee’s Google+ account image with, for example, a company blog post, early studies have shown an increase in conversion of as much as 150 percent.
- Everyone’s a critic and Google realizes that. Google+ Reviews are now showing up in search activity, which impacts leads and, ultimately, conversion. A small business can take advantage of this feature by proactively soliciting reviews about its product or service from their customers - see Flat 12 Bierwerks example below. The result – better control of the perception of your brand.
Many organizations and individuals have had their fill of social media networks and are content to stick with already established accounts that have delivered results. But the growth of Google+ can’t be ignored, especially when valued customers are at stake.
Marketing doesn’t work without measurement. It’s a simple concept, but one that frequently gets overlooked. Ensuring that limited marketing resources (dollars, people and time) are used wisely is critical for all organizations. But metrics especially matter for small businesses because the margins for error are small.
Your company should, at the very least, have a website and Facebook page. These are the first stops for a potential customer looking to find out more about your business. Now consider whether these online storefronts are adding value for your organization. Are they increasing visibility for your brand? What impression are your sites portraying? How are you assessing whether visits are converting to sales or at least moving the prospect further down the purchase funnel? That’s where metrics come in. By measuring metrics, you can collect information on page views, click-throughs, registrations, and more. You can then modify you efforts based on this data.
Below is an outline of online marketing data a small business should be trying to measure:
- Website Metrics – These include site visits, time on site, number of pages visited, and conversions (email address registrations, downloads, purchases, and other general contacts).
- Blog Metrics – These include the number of posts per week or month, the resulting traffic from those posts, search rankings of posts, and the leads generated from those blog posts.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Metrics – These include measurement of keyword rankings and subsequent traffic from the search of those keywords on major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
- Social Media Metrics – These include numbers of followers per social networking site, social sharing of your content, conversions to website traffic via those networks, and the number of leads generated from those hits.
- Email Metrics – These include open and click-through rates, subscriptions, and the resulting leads from those emails.
If you haven’t been gathering data about your online marketing efforts, never fear! Plenty of tools exist to help you collect that information. Contact Marketpath today to learn how your small business can take advantage of these features and begin collecting valuable data.
How does a business choose the right social media platforms? Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter have been around for several years now. Pinterest and Instagram are gaining traction. But many businesses are still trying to figure out ways to leverage the technologies.
The first step in choosing the right social media platforms for your business is to identify your goals. Consider why you want to use a particular network. Do you want to increase customer engagement? Is your primary focus establishing an audience? Maybe it all comes down to sales? Take some time to work through the reasons your business could benefit from launching into social media.
After you’ve determined the triggers for your social strategy, you can then establish a process to reach those goals. Social media for businesses requires a plan to succeed, and that plan needs to be driven by content marketing. Regardless of the social channel, you need to determine what content provides value to your prospects and customers, while adding credibility to your business. You need time to build an audience, followed by studying analytics to determine ways to improve the plan.
Strategy in place, you can move on to choosing platforms. Below are some of the most prominent social marketing channels:
- Facebook – Whether it’s perfect for your business might be irrelevant. Facebook is the biggest network so your organization probably needs to have a presence, especially if your business is consumer focused. Internally, you must determine how to best leverage the system, and at what level.
- Twitter – Twitter moves quickly, so your audience will determine how effective it can be for your strategy. In terms of ease of use and efficiency, however, Twitter can’t be beat. If your business has a lot going on (news, new products, events or promotions) Twitter is also a great way to communicate on a daily basis. Finally, Twitter is a great way to leverage a strong content marketing strategy, attracting new audience members to your blog, case studies, white papers, videos, etc.
- LinkedIn – All businesses need to establish a presence on LinkedIn. Professional relationships form the heart of this network. As a result, it’s the most business-to business (B2B) focused of the social networks. If you sell to other businesses (B2B), you should be on LinkedIn.
- YouTube – Video, along with blog content, is rapidly becoming the backbone of any content marketing strategy. In today’s business environment, an impactful one to two-minute video clip can deliver exciting results. If you have content that is conducive to video, you should develop a YouTube strategy.
- Google+ -- Though it’s still gaining audience, Google’s social network is important for one key reason: search engine rankings. Because of Google’s importance in how anyone finds your business, I’d suggest having both a personal and business Google+ page. If the type of business you’re in is impacted strongly by “reviews” – such as a restaurant, having a Google+ presence will be even more important.
- Pinterest – Pinterest is getting a reputation as the social network for housewives, but it can be useful if your business features a strong visual component. Pinterest, for example, may be useful if you want to promote a wall of products. Do your products visually sell themselves? Are influencers such as designers or decorators involved in your business (remodeling, furniture, home products, art, etc.)? If so, then Pinterest may be a great way to visually promote your products and brand.
- Instagram – The photo-sharing network has become the go-to place for creating a visual diary. That alone doesn’t make it that valuable for business. But the recent roll-out of the platform’s short video capabilities adds a new level of applicability. Another short video network, Vine, was beginning to grab hold, so it will be interesting to see how the two battle it out for that segment. Instagram can also offer similar benefits as Pinterest for businesses with visual products or services.
Still not sure what the best social media channels are for your company? Marketpath can help you build an online marketing strategy to capitalize on these exciting technologies.
Small business owners may find themselves unsure where to focus their online marketing resources. Email endeavors, newsletters, and the plethora of social media options (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and so on) – the number of channels can be overwhelming. And finding the time to dedicate enough resources to those efforts adds another layer to the puzzle. That’s why the simplicity of business blogging – the not-so-secret weapon of a small business – is so appealing.
Blogging may seem unsexy compared to some options, but it works. Here’s how:
- Blogging creates credibility – Potential customers are looking for expertise. Blogging offers an easy way to convey your stature as a key thought leader in your industry. And those customers are likely to tell their cohorts about their new source of expertise.
- Blogging gives your company a voice – As an extension of building the perception of expertise, blogging enables you to position your organization. It also provides a channel to talk about services or products your company offers, the latest industry news, and upcoming events.
- Blogging allows you to begin conversations with potential customers – Marketers are always looking for ways to speed up the sales cycle. A blog gets that relationship started by increasing online activity. Companies that blog generate 55 percent more website visitors, 97 percent more inbound links, and 434 percent more indexed pages. In addition, 7 of 10 businesses believe blogging has led to an improvement in their lead generation success.
- Blogging on a consistent schedule builds a library of content to share across other social networks – Your social media audience is looking for valuable content. By pushing blog posts through these channels, you’re pulling people back to your company site and encouraging your network to share your blog posts with their extended networks as well.
- Blogging improves search rankings (SEO) – The more you blog, the more often Google will recognize the value of your content in its overall algorithms. As long as the content is of high quality, your ranking will improve.
Blogging is here to stay. More than one-third of companies now use blogs for marketing purposes, and those companies that do blog receive 55 percent more website traffic than companies that don’t. More traffic leads to more opportunities for sales. For the small business owner, ignoring the value of blogging as a marketing tool is a poor business decision.
Does your company need assistance creating a blog and putting together a content marketing strategy? If you are planning an upcoming web design or website development project, don’t forget to include a business blog. Marketpath can help get you started. Contact us at our Indianapolis office today!
The debate has raged on for years now about the value of an open-source Content Management System (CMS) versus the on-demand Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) CMS model. Yes, Wordpress, which holds a large chunk of the market, is free. Anyone can pick a template and toss something up on the web. And everyone likes things that are free, right? Perhaps, but you also get what you pay for.
The concept of a free CMS is a bit misleading. Yes, it’s true that open-source code is developed by a community of people who offer it to users at no charge. But just because a technology is available doesn’t mean you’ll know what to do with it.
Suppose you get through the basic steps of getting a site up and running. Now what? Who do you turn to when you have a question? What happens when it’s time to update the source code? Free technologies don’t come with award-winning 24/7 customer service departments. Your likely options are suspect online documentation and Wikipedia. Not too comforting. How much time do you want to spend digging for answers? What’s that time worth to you?
Take the lack of help desk support a step further. Basic technical support is one thing; get hit by a virus or hacked, and you’re looking at a whole other set of problems. Security should be a primary concern for anyone carving out online real estate. Open source plug-ins can solve some security issues, but they’re not a guarantee. Worst case scenario, you get bugged, information is compromised, and the site comes crashing down. Again, who do you call? How much time do want to spend trying to fix the problem?
How about new functionality? With open-source systems you can find free plug-ins that add new capabilities to your site. But you’ll need someone to install them and hopefully understand them from a technical perspective. With Marketpath CMS, upgrades are included with your subscription and you receive them automatically – no hassle.
Take a few moments to consider the overall potential for frustration. If you’re a business owner, your focus needs to be building the company - and your website should be a strategic component of your plan to do so. You can’t afford to be bogged down in technical minutia. Marketpath’s on-demand, custom CMS eliminates these concerns so you make the most of your time, increase revenue, and reduce costs.
The internet is inundated with statistics about the growing importance of mobile websites. If you haven’t gotten the message by now, you haven’t been listening. So, for the benefit of those who’ve yet to grasp the full implication of this trend, we’ll state it one more time: Smartphone usage has exploded. If you want your brand to cut through the clutter, be accessible, and look good to the hundreds of millions of people checking out your company or product on their device, you need a quality mobile website.
- Mobile is Immediate: When users hear about your product or service, they don’t have to wait until they park themselves in front of their laptop to get a glimpse. They flip out their phone, tap their browser and get to work. The Will Rogers quote still applies: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” State your case and make your contact options – email and phone – obvious and easy.
- Mobile Removes the Fluff: The average mobile web surf lasts less than a few minutes. Your mobile audience wants you to get to the point. They expect simple, direct, memorable, and concise calls to action. Content is valuable, but make a user wade through the morass of excess copy and large images and you risk ticking them off. They don’t want to have to modify images or tweak resolution. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. Make it easy for them to understand your sales proposition.
- Mobile Means Forward Thinking: A potential customer wants reassurance that you’re at least on pace with the industry curve. If they bring your business up on their smart phone and find something archaic – or nothing at all – that leaves a negative impression. A quality mobile website indicates that you’re thinking not just about the current state of your business, but where it’s headed going forward. Perception is critical.
What’s the current state of your company’s mobile website? Would you like to learn more about optimizing your mobile presence? Contact us today to find out more about designing your website and implementing a quality mobile website.
Selecting the right web designer for your website can be a tough decision. Costs, levels of experience, and expected outcomes all factor into the pick. You’re not alone if it all seems a bit overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be if you keep your process simple and focused. Consider these four questions for selecting the perfect website design company:
- Can you show me some examples of your work? A simple question and one that should be completely expected by a design firm. Of course you want to see what prospective company has done of late. Do they specialize in certain industries? Are they incorporating the latest technologies? How would they build the site? Do their designs incorporate their clients’ business objectives and strategies? You’re looking for designs that speak to you and match your rough vision.
- How do you ensure I can track the data? Building your new website is only part of the plan. You need to be able to gauge whether you’re reaching the target audience and achieving your organization’s goals. Your design firm should understand the importance of website strategy and analytics to measure site results. They should also be able to train you on the process for assessing your traffic and conversion data.
- What is your communications process? You’re investing not just in a firm’s design capabilities, but also in its ability to convey trust. Basically, you want to feel comfortable paying the bill. The firm you select should have a proactive plan to communicate with you about the status of your project throughout the process. At no point should you be wondering what’s going on with the creation of your website.
- What support and services do you provide? A new website is just the start of the relationship. You want a firm that’s going to be there to offer customer support, training, and a plan to help you make the most of your investment. A site is necessary to carve out your organization’s online real estate, but you need to feed it. Easy to use content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) solutions can go a long way to maximizing your website investment.
The four questions above will help you make the right decision when selecting your design and website development agency. Is your company in line for a new website? Marketpath can answer these questions and more, ensuring that your online presence matches your goals.
Contact us today at our Indianapolis office.
The St. Margaret's Hospital Guild, one of Indianapolis’ most respected and longest running volunteer groups, recently launched a new website to promote their organization’s good works and their annual Decorators' Show House and Gardens project.
2013 Show House (April 27-May 12)
Proceeds from the annual Show House, running April 27th - May 12th, benefit Wishard Health (Eskenazi Health) and a variety of their services and programs. And this year’s house is extra special, featuring Indianapolis’ historic Schnull-Rauch House, located at 3050 North Meridian Street in Indianapolis.
Visit the new St. Margaret’s Guild and Decorators’ Show website to learn more about this year’s Show Home and to learn more about one of Indy’s most successful not-for-profit organizations. The new site, designed and developed by Marketpath, includes beautiful photo and video galleries of the past and present show homes, a blog that hi-lights historical information about this years’ Show House, as well information about Indy’s best decorators and designers that work to restore many of Indianapolis’ most beautiful homes. The site also features Marketpath CMS, an easy to use web content management system, so that the Guild’s non-technical memebers will be able to easily update and keep the site fresh.
And last, but not least, you can order your Decorators’ Show House tickets directly from the site. They’re perfect for Mother’s Day!
The typical business owner has a fairly stable gauge for assessing success. Solid revenue, a strong sales funnel, and opportunities for growth. Sure, there are plenty of other metrics you can apply, but these form the core. How a business owner goes about establishing that foundation, however, is open for discussion. At the very least, passively waiting around for the phone to ring is a bad idea. You have to proactively get business.
For many companies, hard sales tactics don’t work. Small businesses frequently can’t afford a dedicated sales team. In many cases, the owners know they’re just not good at it. But one way that any business, regardless of size, can create opportunities is through content marketing. As business models continue to change, a good content marketing plan may very well be the tool that keeps you in business.
Content marketing is the practice of brands developing and curating content that communicates a story which resonates with customers. Readers find the content useful or entertaining and worth sharing. As a result, the brand, product or service highlighted in the story reaches several audience layers. Decision makers who reside within those layers and have need for your services could then pick up the phone or contact you via your website.
Now, before you go throwing every random piece of content up on your website, you must first consider your audience and intent.
- Who do you want to read your blog?
- How would you define the ideal person you want to click on your video or read your email?
- How and where will your audience find your content?
Beyond that, after your intended audience reads or views your content, what do you want them to do next? Share it on Facebook or Twitter? Pick up the phone and call you? Sign up for your newsletter? You need to identify your strategy. You should also make sure your content strategy is directly related to your search engine optimization (SEO) objectives – if done right, strong content is the best way to drive improvements in search rankings.
And, oh by the way, the content should be good. A house painter wouldn’t throw a sign in the yard of a home where he butchered the job with unclean lines and painted shut windows. A blog post with bad grammar, absence of style, and lack of thought gets you nowhere. But a well written post might provide credibility and turn a prospect into a lead – a lead that looks at your company as an expert in your field.
Is your organization currently employing a content marketing strategy? If so, is it working? If not, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of content marketing.
Casey-Bertram Construction, a leader in Indiana demolition services, launched their new website (www.casey-bertram.com) this week. The site, which was designed and optimized by Marketpath and features our easy to use web content management system, positions Casey-Bertram as Indiana’s demolition services expert.
With 20 years of experience, Casey-Bertram has been a leader in the Indiana demolition market for quite some time, with demolitions projects involving Indiana landmarks such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Eli Lilly, the Indiana Convention Center, and the Indiana State Fair grounds. Casey-Bertram even provided demolition services for ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition television series.
Website Hi-Lights Demolition Expertise
The main objective of the new site was to highlight Casey-Bertram’s demolition experience and breadth of service offerings in its three main markets: commercial demolition, industrial demolition and residential (home) demolition. This was accomplished on the website with a number of features including: large image galleries, a demolition project gallery featuring over 25 Indiana demolition projects, a new Demolition Blog, and a section devoted to Indiana demolition videos. The site even features the Casey-Bertram Salvage Store, where Indianapolis contractors or consumers can get great deals on recycled products ranging from electric motors, to brass doors, to air conditioner units.
Scott Casey, President of Casey-Bertram, believes the new site does a much better of job of providing credibility and highlighting the organizations capabilities.
“Marketpath has brought our website from very basic to a modifiable site that can grow as our business evolves. I had no idea of interworking’s of SEO, blogs, keywords, etc. - all the components that actually drive traffic and conversions on the web. Marketpath extensively went over every detail and asked numerous questions to understand our business in order to tailor the website.”
If you need a small business or construction website - call Marketpath. If you need an Indianapolis area building or home demolished - check out Casey-Bertram.
Or just watch some of their demolition videos for fun!
Your website isn’t maximizing its value if no one can find it- right? That’s why Marketpath includes on-site search engine optimization (SEO) services with every website design we provide our clients. But optimizing a new site is only the beginning. To improve your rankings with search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, you’ll need to have a living, breathing site that continuously provides new, relevant content for your target audience.
Marketpath makes it easy to add content to your site, but that’s just the start. Marketpath CMS also provides SEO tools that allow you, the non-technical user, to easily optimize your new content (pages, images, videos) for on-page search optimization. What our short video to see how easy you can optimize new content on your site.
Stayed tuned for our next installment to see how you can easily leverage Marketpath Blogging to create engaging, SEO friendly blogs.
The holidays and the Super Bowl are over, so it’s time to get back to our “How Easy is Marketpath CMS” series. This week, we’ll demonstrate how easy it is to create a brand new web page using Marketpath CMS, our web content management system for small businesses.
Think about it. Marketpath lets you create any type of new page in minutes: new product pages, promotional offers, event pages, news, resources pages, project galleries, and more. Now days, online success is all about content marketing - and we’ll let you easily create the content and calls-to-action your business needs to enhance customer engagement, increase credibility and create leads. In short- we’ll make your website and online marketing easy.
Keep an eye out for our next installment to see how Marketpath lets you easily manage your website’s on-page SEO.
Mr. T's Online Tutoring recently launched their first website, selecting Marketpath for web content management, website design, and search engine optimization (SEO) services. According to Chris Travers, Mr. T's founder, he selected Marketpath based on Marketpath's expertise with small business websites and the ease of use of Marketpath CMS, their web content management solution. "Marketpath made it simple for us to launch our first website, providing the service and guidance needed to intoduce our brand to students in both North and South America," said Mr. Travers.
Mr. T's Online Tutoring provides personalized, convenient and and affordable math, SAT, and Spanish tutoring, all online for high school and junior high school students.
This is our second post in our “How Easy is Marketpath CMS” series. Last week, our video showed you how simple it is to add SEO friendly images to your website using our easy CMS. This week we’ll demonstrate how effortless it is to add a video to your website using our web content management system for small businesses.
Stayed tuned for our next installment to see how you can add an entire new page to your website in just minutes! Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.
Marketpath CMS was built on the foundation of simplicity. Everything we do is geared towards helping small businesses and organizations to be both more effective and efficient running their website marketing. In our opinion, the best way to do that is to make things easy!
That’s why anyone can manage and market their website using Marketpath CMS, our easy to use web content management solution. With Marketpath, you don’t need any technical expertise or knowledge of HTML. Anyone can successfully market their website, adding new pages, blogging, inserting images and videos, managing event and calendars, creating web forms, surveys, and landing pages. You can even manage meta data to drive enhanced SEO rankings! And the best part is that all the above tasks can be done in literally minutes.
Starting today, and over the next few months, we'll show you just how easy it is to market your website using Marketpath CMS. Watch our quick video and see how you can add search friendly images to your website in minutes!
Stayed tuned for our next installment to see how you can easy manage videos using Marketpath CMS.
As a high school junior in 1985, my family purchased our first computer, a Macintosh. Little did I know at that time that twenty-six years later, I’d be writing a blog (heck the word didn’t exist yet) about the Mac and the founder of the company that introduced it, Apple. Since that time, Steve Jobs personally has had a hand in revolutionizing the world of technology as well as at least five different industries:
- computers - Apple II (1977) & Mac (1984) personal computers, Mouse (1984) , iPad (2010)
- phone – iPhone (2007)
- music – iPod (2001)
- retail – iTunes Store (2001), Apple’s App Store (2008)
- motion pictures – Pixar (1979, purchased by Steve Jobs in 1986)
Steve Jobs was a visionary and one of America’s true innovators. And whether or not you feel he should be mentioned in the same class as Thomas Edison or alongside great American entrepreneurs like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, or Walt Disney, it is clear he had a huge impact on our culture and our world. I know he had a significant impact on my life.
In the past decade or so, my own family has grown up on Apple products that have been favorites on Christmas morning. But it is still fun to think back to my first Apple purchase. I don’t remember a lot about that first product, but I do remember using that Mac to create fake IDs with my brothers and our friends. We were shocked by how easy it was. Thanks Steve.
In Tribute to Steve Jobs:
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."
- Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford Commencement
A mobile website or mobile ready website is simply an internet site optimized for viewing on mobile devices or smartphones such as the iPhone, Android or Blackberry. Because mobile gadgets are smaller than computers (with smaller screens), full websites are often difficult to view and navigate via mobile devices.
Mobile websites provide a better way for consumers to learn about your organization when they’re on-the-go and typically consist of a “stripped down” version of a website, with less information, prioritized or more important to the mobile user.
So why should your organization develop a mobile site?
1) Because your current site doesn’t work well or look correct on mobile devices
I mentioned this briefly above. And while it may be obvious, it is also the most significant reason you should consider a mobile site. Maybe the fonts are too small, or the images too large, or the navigation and layout are too complex or awkward. Roll over menus that work and look great when viewing from a computer, might be tedious or impossible to use via mobile. Or, possibly, the site downloads painfully slow on a mobile device. Regardless of the reason, if your prospect or customer can’t easily use your site or find what they’re looking for (without getting frustrated), they may just try your competitor’s easier to use mobile site!
2) The needs & behavior of a mobile web user are different from a traditional Internet user
While it is critical that your site be easy to view and navigate via mobile, it is also important to realize how mobile users are different from traditional computer web users. Phone or mobile users are often away from their home or office (or at least away from their computers), with less time to spend surfing or looking for information. Many times, they have a goal in mind and are looking for very specific information such as a location, news or event, contact, map, product, or schedule. And often, they only have a few minutes to find what they want.
Because of these differences, your mobile design needs to focus on simplicity, presenting prioritized content that is relevant for the mobile user. The Mobile Marketing Association suggests a less-is-more design philosophy for mobile web sites, focusing on the 3-5 most important reasons someone will visit your mobile site, and making those items visible upon entry, at the top menu level. Eliminating side-scrolling and reducing down-scrolling also enhances ease-of-use via mobile.
Whether you like it or not, more and more people will be accessing your website via mobile devices. In fact, as of last month (July 2011), 50% of all connections to the internet are from phones and mobile devices.
Microsoft Tag recently developed the infographic to the right to summarize the explosion of the mobile web, which is already a large market, but growing more rapidly by the minute. If you are still skeptical as to the importance of the mobile web, I’ve included a number of interesting statistics.
- 70% of the world’s population now have a mobile phone; 87% in the U.S. (per Experian)
- U.S. children are now more likely to own a mobile phone than a book, with 85% of kids owning a phone as to 73% having books! (National Literacy Trust)
- 55% of US consumers who purchased a new phone in 2011 bought a smartphone, up from the 34% last year (Nielsen)
- 38% of US consumers owned a smartphone as of May 2011
- Daily internet usage via handheld devices jumped from 29% in 2009 to 43% in 2010
- In the last year Google has seen a 400% increase in the number of mobile searches
- The #1 access method for local information is now the mobile browser
Despite the growing importance of mobile, less than 5% of businesses have mobile enabled websites today. In fact, 50% of small businesses have never even checked the appearance or functionality of their site on a Smart Phone!
4) It’s fairly easy to create a mobile website
Assuming the functionality and content from your current site are up to snuff (you know what they say about ASS-U-ME), creating a mobile website is reasonably easy. This is especially true with tools like Marketpath CMS, or other web content management solutions, that allow you to leverage both your existing website content and content management processes, without having to start from scratch or add new processes to update your mobile site.
Marketpath allows you to easily manage your mobile websites within Marketpath CMS, updating content for both your regular and mobile sites at the same time, while delivering to traditional and mobile formats.
So why not give mobile users what they want and enhance your brand equity and reputation at the same time?
Marketpath is excited to be named as one of three finalists for the 2011 Innovation of the Year Award as part of Techpoint's 12th annual Mira Awards initiative. The Mira Awards, which recognize excellence and achievement of Indiana's outstanding technology industry performers, annually include some of the technology industry's leading companies and individuals.
Marketpath is being recognized this year for a comprehensive internet marketing solution for automotive dealers, developed in conjunction with DriveVelocity, a Marketpath partner who specializes in marketing automation for the auto industry. The solution, branded "Customer Relation Automation," seamlessly integrates a dealer's website, campaign management, and CRM into a cost-effective and measureable solution to dramatically enhance the dealer's communications and marketing. The groundbreaking system seamlessly integrates previously disparate systems and processes, to drive customer interactions and enhanced service, while more clearly measuring results. Customer Relation Automation communicates and gathers data at key touch-points, providing a personalized, multi-channel experience for a dealer's prospects and customers, adding value and enhancing their experience throughout the customer life-cycle.
Congratulations also to Exact Target and i2iConnect, the other finalists for this year's Innovation of the Year Award. Stayed tuned until May 7th, when the winner will be revealed at the Mira Awards Gala. Marketpath looks forward to developing more innovative web marketing solutions in the future.