In order to make the right decisions for your company, you need better reports from your marketing people. Here’s what’s wrong with your reports and what you should expect from your marketing people instead.
Are you a do-it-yourselfer? I would say that I am, but my wife might disagree. I once had a near-death experience with DIY. I was running new electrical in my basement man cave. I forgot to turn off the power at the main electric box… my pliers hit the main power supply and… BOOM!
I believe that we were created to work. But not the drudgery kind of work. It is an amazing feeling to get paid to do work that aligns seamlessly with our passions, talents and our natural areas of influence. But how do you find that kind of work? How do you even know what you’re looking for? And if you’re looking for a job, how do you make good decisions that move you in the right direction?
The biggest challenge marketers face with their marketing is how to get more high quality leads and how to convert those opportunities into sales. There is a strategy that achieves both goals at once. I call it “baby steps.”
In order to make the right decisions for your company, you need better reports from your marketing people. Here’s what’s wrong with your reports and what you should expect from your marketing people instead.
Every brand marketer wants more engagement and more leads that ultimately lead to more customers served and more dollars in your pocket. The best way we’ve found to get more is actually with less.
Creating a brand is more than a logo in front of the thing you are selling. Your brand is the story of your business and, in turn, of you. Learn how to translate your brand and create the story you want to tell.
If you manage a brand or are a marketing manager, you’ve surely heard the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before. SEO is often used to measure a business’s organic presence in a search engine and across multiple platforms, usually i
With growing concerns over the Coronavirus, hosting virtual meetings can help you keep people connected in real-time, even if they are uncomfortable gathering in person. Here are three recommended platforms to consider.
When your startup is just the seed of an idea planted by a handful of people, the possibility of just starting can be completely overwhelming. Where do you begin? Here are six steps to get your business online on a budget.
It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to hiring. Spire’s founder, Jeremy Harrison, admits he’s made a few mistakes along the way. Here are ten hiring lessons he learned firsthand over our first ten years in business.
You can have all the talent in the world, but without team chemistry you won’t be successful. But what makes “good” team chemistry, anyway? Read on for ideas on how to boost the chemistry of your employees to ensure your business wins every time.
What do you think it costs your business to replace a great employee? The second half of this 2-part series, teaches you how to build a place where people love to work, and where more great people are lining up to join your ranks.
You already know how important it is to hire great workers. Most hiring efforts fail because employers attract the wrong pool of applicants in the first place. Read on to learn more about how you can narrow your hiring process down to four steps that guarantee you’re extending that job offer to the perfect candidate.
This post is written for entrepreneurs everywhere. Vacations for entrepreneurs are critically important. I’ve started to view my summer vacation as an annual benchmark that helps me see the progress in my business growth.
Your time is priceless. How are you spending it to add the most value to your company and your life? Review these seven mistakes to discover ways you can become more efficient and effective as a small business leader.
There are two simple tools missing from most websites that drastically impact your ability to connect to customers. Find out how adding direct and transitional calls-to-action can make all the difference.
When leads find themselves on a landing page, they can get distracted by detours that are often overlooked and end up lost. This results in lower conversion rates and sales. Ultimately? Your lead turns the car around and drives off into the sunset with another business that played the game better. See where leads are getting lost on your landing page and how you can optimize to reach any desired market.
Stop investing in your neighbors’ yellow-paper doorstops and start investing in advertising that will make a real, lasting difference. Here are three quick tips for where you can divert your ad budget to see real, measurable results.
Here are five areas you can rein in without getting bogged down in details. If you can sign off on these five areas, you can delegate the details of your marketing to others, knowing that it’s pointed in the right direction.
What stage of growth is your small business in? Read on to learn what challenges businesses like yours face at this stage of the game and discover the twists and turns you might anticipate where you’re headed.
For us salespeople, the New Year is a perfect time to hit reset. Everything is new! Potential clients have new budgets, current clients bring new opportunities, your own business has new goals. And you’ve got a clean slate. There’s only one “new year” per year…so let’s do this one right!
There’s a lot to gain in understanding what your customers want from you. Delivering that want right to their inbox earns brownie points for your business. These tips and tricks will instantly improve your email communications while also keeping your business fresh in the minds of your current customers.
If you sell services to homeowners, you have a lot on your shoulders. You need to make sure your cell phone keeps ringing and your guys keep working. So what can you do? Read on for three keys to competition-proof your business and close more profitable sales.
What if your end-of-year giving campaign could be more than just a letter? With a few simple adjustments to your fundraising effort, you could increase contributions to your annual fund this holiday season.
Is your business one of the 70.7% making the most out of Instagrams marketing perks? A lot more goes into your social media strategy than taking a picture. The next time you go to post make sure you’re using these essential Instagram copywriting hacks to instantly connect with your followers.
What if I told you salespeople are free to chart their own course, to be the salesperson they want to be? There are 10 freedoms you need to be aware of in the Salespeople Bill of Rights. As a small business, how you handle sales drives whether you win or lose in business. If you’re a salesperson yourself or you have a sales team on staff, this Bill of Rights will help your sales team choose the pace and persona of your business and position your company for success.
The longer you’re able to keep people on your site, the more likely they are to turn into active customers. Does your website make it easy for your customers to figure out if you’re the one for them? Here are a few tips to sharpen up your content.
Google provides you with helpful insights on how people interact with your business listing – even if they don’t visit your website! See how you can unlock these free insights and use them to your advantage.
The longer you’re able to keep people on your site, the more likely they are to turn into active customers. Here are two mechanical ways your site could be turning people away before they even have the chance to get to know you.
The used car salesman gets a bad rap, but it isn’t because he’s a salesman. Here are four tips to change the name of the game… and the way you play it – from “salesman” to “professional solutions provider.”
How a Work Truck company in Ohio has been highlighting industry-specific products with easy-to-understand case studies, and are reaching thousands of highly-engaged prospects and generating quality leads in the process.
Sometimes using and managing social media can leave us with more questions than one. How many times should you post a week? What do you even need to be posting? Read on and learn simple ways to keep your business’ social media alive and thriving.
For the second year in a row, small businesses across North Central Ohio were invited to enter themselves into our $10,000 Website and Marketing Giveaway. It’s with great excitement that we announce after initially selecting 12 semi-finalists, a meeting between the panel of judges earlier today has narrowed the list down to six finalists!
As a leader, it’s easy to let a fear of failure overcome your hope for success. This mindset stifles your decisions, makes it hard to enjoy winning, and most importantly, quickly infects the people you lead. Here are three lessons I’ve learned that have helped me stay focused on winning.
Getting new business from cold traffic is the HARDEST, most expensive way to grow. These days, if you tell me, “I need results tomorrow,” I won’t suggest a website or an ad campaign as step one. I will prescribe one of three “growth hacks” that generate results much faster.
Photography is a great outlet for customers to engage with your small business online. Impress the people who visit your website with the element of photography and unleash the many benefits of customer satisfaction and even SEO perks.
Showing up in searches is a common goal for small businesses. Making your content search engine worthy is the way to get there. Read part one of this two-part blog series in optimizing your content for search engines!
A professional looking website send the message that you have a professional business. Having admirable photography throughout your website gives your customers a preview of the quality of work you’re small business is capable of.
Finding the right voice to communicate with your customers can be a challenge. Lucky for you, everyone and their mother has email nowadays! Turn your email campaigns into marketing success in three simple steps.
Your website should stand out, but how exactly do small business owners do that? Your content is your answer. Generating awesome content will attract traffic and drive sales, you just need to know where to start!
Engaging visitors on your website comes in different levels. So does the way you ask these visitors to commit to your small business! Sometimes major commitment is scary, so ease into it with transitional calls-to-action.
Ten or fifteen years ago, a good advertisement would make your phone ring. And an effective salesperson could turn those ringing phones into sales. Today, you need a plan to make the most of every advertising dollar you spend.
Would you like more sales? There are 3 hidden “leaks” that kill sales on most websites and marketing campaigns. Fix the leaks and you’ll multiply the sales you get from your website, without increasing costs.
“So, what does your company do?” Have you ever felt like people are falling asleep when you try to answer that question? Me too. Your success in attracting new customers is dependent on your ability to boil your complex business down to an extremely simple brand story.
When you attract traffic to your website, you should find ways to immediately engage your visitors. And the only way to get them engaged is with content that focuses on the REAL NEEDS of your customer.
Is your marketing too self-centered? Odds are, yes. If so, it’s costing you traffic, leads and sales. “Self-centered” marketing talks too much about the business and the product for sale, and not enough about the customer who’s buying it.
I sometimes meet entrepreneurs who are successful, but absolutely miserable. For most, they just aren’t passionate about the thing they are doing. Here are three ways that I see entrepreneurs get off course:
If the success of your small business depends on driving visitors through your door, you should try Facebook’s “Local Awareness” ads. Local Awareness is a fairly new type of ad that targets visitors based on their location when they are online.
The City Garden Café is located in the Mansfield Municipal Building on 30 N. Diamond St. in Mansfield. The upscale café has a contemporary design with a diverse menu featuring deli sandwiches, soups, bagels, salads, desserts, made-from-scratch smoothies and espressos.
A marketing funnel is a way of thinking about how your prospects move through the customer lifecycle, from the first point of contact as new traffic all the way to the point of nurturing existing customers—and all the points in between.
Businesses can boost SEO in multiple ways, such as through blogging, conducting a paid search campaign and using social media. But there are specific components on each website page speak the language of SEO. Read more to see the specific components.
A free report can’t “live” in the virtual world by itself. To generate leads from any kind of offer (which includes content like a webinar, white paper, ebook, research report, etc.), you need to lay out a foundation for the offer, which is strategically designed to guide consumers down a specific path—a path to buying.
Even with an effective marketing plan to optimize your web pages and create a strategic paid search campaign, there’s a missing link here that can help businesses really capture quality leads: the opt-in form.
Creating a Google+ business page doesn’t require that you hold professional certification in social media. In fact, Google has made creating a business account a fairly simple process. Here’s a primer on setting up a Google+ page for your business.
So, you want to update your website? Perhaps your old site was thrown together quickly. Perhaps it isn’t serving your needs very well. It’s also possible that what was once a well-designed website is now tired and out-of-date.
As a business owner, you’ve probably already heard about the immense power of content marketing. That said, unless there’s proof, it can be difficult for a small businesses to come up with the resources to invest in content marketing.
I finally got a chance to post the second half of my talk with Nate Bebout. In this video, Nate talks about what motivates the millennial generation, and 5 practical steps to make your marketing more effective.
Does your website resonate with potential customers? Does your website get potential customers involved? Most importantly, does your website allow you to communicate with visitors AFTER they have left your website?
The idea was that if the wheel is round and smooth, then we just need to find a better road to spin it on. But today, if you aren’t reinventing the wheel, what are you doing? Round is outdated. We are improving things that haven’t even been un-proven!
If I were forced to either forget everything I learned in college, OR forget everything I learned on the farm as a child, I wouldn’t think twice. Early lessons on the farm were far more valuable.
Things that seemed like common sense as a kid now seem profound. Here’s a simple example.
I just had a revelation. I realized that my network of close personal friendships — the people my wife and I spend time with in our local community — has been altered over the years by our exposure on Facebook.
Every day you have people looking at your website – but what are they doing? Here are some important questions you CAN and SHOULD answer. They will help you find out if you are connecting with your visitors
Last month, Facebook announced a new feature called “Graph Search.” You’ll see it on your Facebook page soon. There’s already a lot of info out there about the new Graph Search. But it’s the features hidden under the surface that has great potential for marketers.
In a session at our last Spire Customer Training Intensive, I showed customers how a new under-utilized strategy in the Google Display Network called Remarketing could be beneficial, even for smaller businesses with small budgets. I’m not going to re-hash my presentation here, but this video shows the results of a short, very small experiment we did on this website.
If given the choice, would you take $10,000 today, or $500/month for the rest of your life? While logic tells us to take the ongoing payments — studies have consistently shown that most people are prone to take what they can get RIGHT NOW, ignoring the added long-term benefits that come from waiting.
Three winters ago, I sat down at my desk to write a blog post. I had a million things to do, and it felt like a waste of time. After days of setting it aside to do other things that were more urgent, I finally finished it and stuck it on the website.
Have you ever eaten food just because you felt like you should? Of course you have. We all have. Maybe you’re just not hungry…nothing looks appetizing… you could be doing something else…but it’s time to eat. So we eat. Three meals a day whether you need it or not. It’s just what you do.
Every Thursday morning, every week of the month, every month of the year, I meet with my referral group. We are group of business men and women who each take sixty seconds to explain to the rest of the group something new and interesting about us. So, each week, I speak about internet marketing. Same 26 people. Same 26 businesses. Over and over and over again. Here’s the payoff…
Are your customers local? Is the majority of your audience within a certain driving distance of your place(s) of business? Locally-focused businesses have never had more leverage in search engines like Google.
Have you ever written content on your website and wondered if anybody is actually looking at it? This video will show you a mistake that 86% of businesses make. Fix it on your website, and you could see a significant increase in traffic. This video will show you how it works.
Saying that you’re going to write “something” every Friday is destined to fail. You need to start with some planning to figure out what you’re going to say, and when. This is where an editorial calendar can help.
For every website design or re-design ordered by a Richland County business in May, Spire will make a donation to support airmen and soldiers and their families who are members of the Guard units based in Richland County.
How you should use QR Code Marketing. We’re seeing that people aren’t sure how to use QR code advertising effectively. Make the most of your efforts and avoid making these common mistakes. Quick blog tutorial.
People sometimes ask what web design project is our best work of all time. I always tell them that whatever website design we’re doing TODAY is our best work! These 6 new designs launched over the past month raise the bar and we’re happy to share them with you.
This latest installment to the Spire Marketing Vault shows 3 email marketing examples and explains why each are ineffective. You’ll learn 4 things that make an email effective and see live examples of what to avoid.
This week’s internet marketing training video explains the concept of a marketing funnel. You’ll learn: how to determine if your site is a good fit for a funnel,the 5 components of a marketing funnel, and how to use a funnel to double your results.
At this free breakfast seminar for Spire customers, Jeremy Harrison will provide and explain a list of the most high-impact work you should be doing on your website to grow your business and maximize your results online.
In March, Google released the “Panda Update” which made significant changes to their search engine algorithm. Changes to Google are always scary. We, and many of our clients get a lot of traffic through organic searches, so you never know what impact changes like these will bring.
As a local business owner, and a homeowner in the city of Ashland, I plan to vote “YES” for the bond issue for Ashland City Schools. My wife and I don’t have children, but nonetheless I see this as a critically important issue.
Here’s your chance to build a stunning design portfolio and get invaluable work experience with one of Ohio’s top-ranked web design firms. Spire is searching for another all-star designer to help serve our growing client base.
My favorite commercial from Superbowl XLV – hands down. I don’t think much of Chrysler, but their agency did a masterful job repositioning what’s a negative opinion of Detroit into an emotionally charged commercial that will sell cars.
I’ve been buying stock photos from iStockPhoto.com for more than 8 years. However, I recently decided to switch to Dreamstime.com as our organization’s primary stock photo service. Here are a few reasons I’m dumping iStockPhoto.
Customer service has some similarities to a marriage. If neglected, the relationship will break down, and communication is critically important. Neither type of relationship is ever easy or perfect. But here is a message I sent to my staff today, pointing out how a good customer service relationship should be similar to a healthy marriage…
We just completed a research study and the results were a little frightening. We looked at the websites for hundreds of small businesses in our local area, and checked them on 9 costly mistakes that we tend to see people make on their websites. When looking at 3 of the most costly mistakes, we found that 99.6% of local businesses were making at least 1 of these 3 mistakes.
Jason Fried recently had an article in Inc Magazine titled “Why is Business Writing So Awful.” A great read that I strongly recommend. We design a lot of business websites each month, and too often, the writing provided by the client can be an afterthought… stuff used to fill an empty space on a page.
After 18 years with Clear Channel Communications as a sales and marketing executive, Bryan Lefelhoc announced today that he is stepping down. The Ashland resident accepted a marketing consultant position with Spire Advertising, a 4-year-old website design and internet marketing firm in Ashland, Ohio.
One of the most important steps of a website design process is determining how you will organize your content. Your goal should be to consolidate your content into no more than 7 top-level navigation sections. Each of these top level sections can have sub-pages… even sub-sub-pages… but even with tens of thousands of pages, you should be able to organize your content into 7 sections or less.
Whenever we design a website for a client, we do a lot of search engine optimization work – to help ensure that Google and the other search engines can find the content. However, the structure of the site is only half the battle. Once your site is structured the right way, it’s extremely important to get inbound links that point people back to your website.
The most effective Super Bowl ad this year was, in my opinion Google’s ad called “Parisian Love.” It was so simple that anybody could have created it with their computer. Yet it told a clear story, demonstrated their product, and pulled at the heart strings of viewers. Well done Google, well done.
If you haven’t heard, we’ve been leading a series of Internet Marketing seminars in partnership with the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The first event was December 3 — it sold out in less than 2 weeks. The second event was January 13 — it sold out in less than 3 days! The final opportunity to attend will be Thursday, February 4 from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM.
We had a full house at this morning’s internet marketing seminar in Mansfield! Thanks to the Mansfield Richland Chamber of Commerce for hosting the event and promoting it to their membership.Today’s event booked up in under a week and there were more than a dozen people on a waiting list.
When I went to college in the late 90s, there was an attitude among some of my classmates that a college diploma would be like a “golden ticket” to finding a great job. I suppose that was the case at some point, but it surely wasn’t true in the late 90s.Today, college graduates are negatively affected more than any other demographic with this economy.
It’s official. I’m tag-teaming with my friends at the Mansfield-Richland Area Chamber of Commerce to present an internet marketing seminar at the Mansfield Chamber Conference Room. I’ll be presenting three 1-hour presentations on the latest topics like lead generation, online sales, search engine optimization, email marketing & social media.
Many people have asked us why we chose the name Spire for our company.While the word “spire” is not frequently used in the United States, you probably already know that it refers to the top of a building that comes to a point. Church steeples are an example of a spire, and you’ll see spires on many skyscrapers in major cities around the world. Just as a spire helps a building stand out among a crowd, we do the same thing for the companies we serve.
I’m not sure what Apple marketers are trying to accomplish with one of their new Apple 3G commercials. The ability to copy and paste is not a benefit, or even a feature worth spending 30 seconds promoting on television.
Billy Mays was found dead in his Tampa, FL home Sunday morning, possibly connected to a blow to the head he received the night before onboard a US Airways flight. As a marketing professional, I am saddened by the loss. Mays was a man of character. He gave our profession a positive example, in a field that’s often overshadowed by manipulative people who will say anything to make a quick buck.
Do you know what people are saying about your company? The rapid growth of social networking has both simplified and complicated things all at the same time.Our only challenge used to be making sure people said positive things about our companies when they talked to their friends.Now we have to keep up with the techno-savvy people too — the bloggers, reviewers,YouTubers, twitterers, facebookers, and much, much more.
Has your name been “Googled” recently? I bet it has – whether you realize it or not.Now you can control what people see, by setting up your own Google Profile. Like a scaled-down Facebook page, Google’s profile gives you a chance to enter some basic information about yourself, add photos, schools you attended and a few other things.
In November I wrote about my system for getting things done. Now, 6 months later it’s time to review successes & failures of the system I talked about. Some of the things I was doing worked very well, and have become a permanent part of my organization system. Other parts haven’t worked as well as I’d hoped. Let me review both.
Our new postcard hit mailboxes this week – discussing how we can help businesses generate businesses in the recession without spending a fortune on advertising. The postcard is below. We also invited recipients to watch our free video on recession marketing strategies, available here.
If you do pay-per-click campaigns, you probably know that one best practice is to add brackets and quotes to your keyword list – which makes them a phrase match or exact match. It’s simple, but repetitive and time-consuming to do that by hand — especially if you have hundreds of keywords for each ad group as I do. Here’s a simple tool my team just created to help me convert my keyword lists on the fly.
If just one of the big 3 automakers would make it through this economic mess, it would be Ford, in my opinion. That said, I got a chuckle out of a Chevy Silverado commercial I saw today. It was targeted at Ford F-150.
Most folks know that to get more revenue out of their customers, they should sell add-on products. However, some well-crafted add-on products not only give you more revenue at the time of the sale — they practically GUARANTEE that you will get more repeat business.Here’s a perfect example.
I recently met with a prospective client who I’d never met. When I walked in the room, they said — “I know who you are — I saw your photo on your website.” Yet when I described the powerful Content Management System that we have to give customers complete control over their content, this prospect didn’t realize we offered that, even though I talk about it quite a bit on our website.I don’t fault this person at all. It simply reminded me that many people are visual learners…
In October I blogged about some bad news — the sudden closing of Archway Cookies here in Ashland Ohio.Late last week we learned that Lance Inc. — the Charlotte-based company who bought the assets of Archway Cookies — will be reopening Archway cookies.
Snow Trails Ski Resort opened this weekend for the first time in the 2008-2009 season. It was great to see how they used their new website to promote the opening weekend.Spire launched their new website on November 6. In just five weeks since the launch, the new website has hosted nearly 50,000 visitors, and more than 500,000 pages viewed.
Our business has grown quickly over the past 18 months. One challenge has been finding the right system for email, schedules, to-dos and new business leads to handle our growth and keep things organized.Here’s what we’ve done so far to get organized, and what I’m looking at to make the system better.
Imagine if you could walk up to the prospective customers who are looking at your company’s website and ask if they’re ready to buy. What would they tell you? In fact, if you asked every website visitor — how many do you think would be ready to buy your products or services right now… today… right on the spot? If you’re selling expensive products or services, it’s probably no more than 3%. So what are you going to do with the 97% who “walk out” of your “online store” without making a decision to buy?
We’ve been working with the inventor of a North Carolina-based golf swing trainer since we designed & launched his website last Spring.We started assisting with marketing strategy late this summer, and while we had some early challenges, a lot of good things are finally starting to come together. Here’s what we’re doing:
My prayers go out to the families affected by the recent closing of Archway Cookies. I’d like to issue a challenge to my neighbors here in Ashland. I believe there are more than enough talented, hard-working people in this area to create more jobs than our community has ever seen. The secret to creating those jobs…
I’ve been aware of Twitter for a while, but have never been terribly impressed. Cool for personal use, but businesses are raving about it being the next big thing, and I’ve just never seen the marketing benefit to using it.
Hello! My name is Jeremy Harrison. Welcome to my new blog! My role at Spire (aside from the normal things that go along with owning a business) is helping small business owners improve their marketing effectiveness.