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Is Your Small Business Ready for the Holiday Season?

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It’s October, which means there are only 10 weeks away from Christmas Eve!

Is your small business ready? 

For most small businesses, the holiday season is extra busy with additional web traffic, visitors in-store, and more search engine hits. Don’t be caught unprepared for the rush! Here are 5 ways to get your small business ready for the holiday season and increase revenue along the way:

1.    Determine Holiday Schedules

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to look at your calendar and determine holiday hours. What days will you be closed? Any days you are closing early/opening late? Get the word out now by updating your website and Google MyBusiness profile.

2.    Get Prepared for the Rush

With additional orders, comes additional shipping materials. Order those now to save and avoid the last minute rush. Does it make sense for your business to print specialty holiday gift cards? If so, get those ordered now too. You’ll also want to check shipping deadlines for holiday delivery and order any extra inventory now. Planning ahead will help you avoid last minute, holiday stress, not to mention, customer service woes.

3.    Optimize Your Website

Ask a few trusted colleagues to run through your website and help you spot any blindspots in usability. Now is the time to optimize your website for the additional site traffic and to make sure it’s easily viewed on all device platforms, including mobile and tablet. 

4.    Develop a Holiday Marketing Campaign

Studies show that most consumers begin thinking about their holiday shopping around Oct. 20, so it’s time to get a holiday marketing campaign in place. Be mindful of key selling periods including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday. Now is the time to determine which ads will run, what platforms you will advertise on, and what the messaging will entail. 

Feeling behind and need help during the stressful holiday season? Entrust your small business to us at 214 Interactive. We specialize in digital advertising for small businesses in Dallas, Texas, and we can help you have the best holiday season yet. Give us a call today to set up a consultation. 

 

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5 Web Design Mistakes that Cost You Money

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5 Web Design Mistakes that Cost You Money

In a world where choices abound, a consumer only needs to spend a few seconds on your website before they decide if you’re worth their time and money.

They are looking for a user-friendly experience, that shows them what they are looking for, and does it in a professional manner. Bonus points if they get a feel for your brand while they are there.

So how does your site measure up? Are there pitfalls that are costing you money without you even realizing it? Now is a great time to look at 5 common web design mistakes we see here at 214 Interactive and corrections you need to make now:

Ignoring Analytics

Analytics are your gateway to what is working on your site – and what isn’t. If your website isn’t setup with built-in analytics, then it’s time to get that implemented! Analytics provide real-time data so that you can make adjustments that will increase sales. 

Flimsy Content

A website is only as good as its content. You may be thinking – does anyone actually read all this stuff? They may not spend hours delving into your website, but it does more than that: it gives search engines something to search. If you want to rank higher on Google, then SEO needs to be your friend. Optimize your website for search through rich content and watch leads grow.

Slow Low Speed

It’s 2019, and hopefully your website loads faster than 3 seconds. If not, research says that most people have already lost interest and moved on to a competitor. Regularly check our website load speeds, and if they aren’t lightning fast, you may be losing traffic.

Vague Call to Action

Marketing 101: tell people what you want them to do. 

Buy now! Start here! Contact us today! Sign me up!

These are all examples of calls to action that are clear and concise. Keeping your call to action clear and at the forefront of your site leads to greater lead generation and revenue. 

Not Optimizing for Mobile

More and more, consumers are using their smartphones for search – particularly when it comes to the service and restaurant industry. Don’t be caught with a site that doesn’t load well on mobile! Consumers are fickle and are not going to spend time on your site if it is cumbersome and not mobile-friendly. Develop your website with responsive web design so that it can communicate clearly across all devices, whether laptop, mobile, tablet, etc. 

Need help with web design? 214 Interactive would love to help! We specialize in responsive web design in Plano, Texas and have helped many small businesses achieve their goals through better web design. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation. 

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User Generated Content: How to Leverage It for Your Small Business

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In a digital world, opportunities abound to create meaningful interactions with potential customers for pennies on the dollar. One such way to leverage all of this digital content is through utilizing user generated content. 214 Interactive – the #1 digital advertising agency in Plano, Texas – explains how to make it work for you:

What is User Generated Content?

User generated content is just what it sounds like: it’s meaningful online content created by people who have interacted with your brand. Maybe they have posted about how much they love the product they purchased. Maybe they have written a review about your customer service. These are examples of content you can use to strengthen your brand, created by unknowing brand ambassadors themselves. 

How to Leverage User Generated Content

Research has shown the value consumers place on other’s opinions, so user generated content can be an extremely valuable past of your marketing strategy. Here are a few simple ways to make it work for you:

Reposting

This one is a no brainer. You don’t want to repost a customer’s experience or photo daily, but do make it a regular part of your routine. 214 Interactive is an expert in digital marketing and we can provide you with all the tools you need to find what others are saying about you. Hashtags and geotagging make this process simpler than ever.

Hashtags 

Speaking of hashtags, you can always create your own hashtag and share it with your followers. Encourage them to use the hashtag in exchange for content entries, freebies, or discounts. These hashtags increase your visibility online and build engagement.

Utilizing Reviews

Online reviews – positive or negative – are an important part of user generated content. Encourage your followers and customers to post reviews and share these reviews with others in order to spread word-of-mouth about your business. Be sure to respond to all reviews in a timely manner because it shows the user and others that you value their opinion.

Need help leveraging user generated content? Look no further than 214 Interactive – your #1 digital advertising agency in Plano, Texas. We’d love to help with all your digital advertising needs including online reputation management, digital marketing campaigns, social media marketing, and SEO. 

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Google Map Pack: What You Need to Do to Rank #1

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Google Map Pack: What You Need to Do to Rank #1

When you perform a search for a business – say “car dealership in Dallas, Texas,” you’ll naturally get a few search results, accompanied by a map with Google’s top 3 results for you. Those map coordinates are known as Google’s Map Pack, and as a small business, you want to show up there.

But how?

Here are a few simple steps from 214 Interactive – a digital advertising agency in Dallas, Texas – on how to rank #1:

 

Step 1: Make Sure Your Profile is 100% Complete

Google will not rank you well in anything if your profile is not 100% complete, so make sure every step is done, including:

·     Phone number - it must match the one on your website

·     Service categories - add as many as apply and make sure you’ve provided details about these services. Google recommends 150-200 words.

·     Service cities - add as many as apply

·     Hours of operation

Razzoo's Cajun Cafe Google Map Pack best cajun restaurant

 

Step 2: Add Daily Posts to your Google My Business Account

Google My Business posts are simply another way to share what’s going on with your business! Share about daily specials, new incentives, product information, and more! Daily posts dramatically improve your Google Map Pack rankings. Just log into your Google My Business account and create a post! Keep in mind that adding photos, keywords, and a link to your website will also help your post rank more highly.

 

Step 3: Add Photos to All Sections of Your Google My Business Profile

Daily posts are the single most important way to improve in the rankings; adding photos is second! It’s super simple! Go into your account and make sure you’ve added:

·     3 exterior shots

·     3 interior shots

·     1 interior 360 degree photo

·     3 branding photos – this could be logo, banner, business card, etc.

·     3 team member photos

·     3 “service” photos

·     1 interior video

Chamberlains Steak and Chop House photos google map pack

 

Step 4: Respond to All Reviews

Google cares very much about reviews and your interaction and response to them. Good and bad, responding to reviews boosts consumer confidence – and Google’s confidence too! Whether the reviews are new or old, make sure you’ve provided a response to each and every one on your profile. If you need help devising an online reputation management strategy, 214 Interactive is here to help.

 

Want more help with Google Map Pack rankings? Call us today! Our team specializes in search engine optimization – or SEO – and we’d love to help you and your business flourish! 

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Lead Generation: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid

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Lead Generation: 4 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Small business thrive on lead generation. 

Healthy businesses need new people entering their lead generation – or purchase funnel  - regularly, so that as people move through the buying process, new people can emerge to keep the cycle going. 

But how do you keep the process going? Are there things your business is doing wrong today that is stunting growth? Read on to learn a few common lead generation mistakes we see at 214 Interactive and how to avoid them:

1.    Ignoring People Who are Early in the Buying Process

It can be tempting to label someone who seems further out from making a purchase a “bad lead,” but resist the urge. That same “bad lead” may just be early on in the purchase cycle, but feeding them appropriate content and keeping them interested and engaged can get them closer to becoming a consumer of your product or service. 

2.    Feeding People Bad Information

You have good intentions of course, but if you don’t tailor a message toward the stage someone is at in the purchase funnel, then they may be turned off from your brand. Instead, evaluate how you can better engage with that person where they are today. Maybe someone who is collecting information about your company wants to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, while someone who is serious about purchasing today wants access to product specs and current offers. 

3.    Giving Up on a Campaign Too Soon

When launching an online campaign, it’s important to have measurable metrics for that campaign and to evaluate accordingly. Be sure to give your campaign time to do what it is designed to do before scratching it completely. 

4.    Keeping the Message Too Broad

You may think that getting your ads in front of as many people as possible is the best way to increase lead generation and overall sales, but often it can backfire. As a small business, focus on niche marketing and where you can stand out against the competition. Know your core audience and tailor your messages to them. 

Need help generating and qualifying leads? 214 Interactive – a digital advertising agency in Plano, Texas – can help! Our team specializes in online marketing strategies and would love to meet with you for a consult.  

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Customer Reviews: How to Get More People to Review Your Product or Service

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Much research has been done on the subject of customer reviews and the results seem to speak for themselves: customers view customer reviews as equal to that of a trusted friend.

And while many of us realize that the really happy or really unhappy people are generally leaving reviews, how do we entice the happy-middle to jump into the conversation? Even a negative review, handled well, can have a positive impact on your business. Here are a few recommendations from 214 Interactive in Plano, Texas on how to get more customer reviews: 

Offer an Incentive

People love freebies. Maybe it’s a discount off of a future purchase or a free appetizer. Whatever it may be, offer to throw something in to your customers if they will be willing to take the time to leave a review.

Create a Referral Program

Word-of-mouth – even if it’s not in the form of an online review – is incredibly valuable in terms of gaining new business. Create a referral program for your company that rewards current customers for inviting their friends to join. Or make it part of a social media campaign for online captures.

Make the Review Process Easy

Google, Facebook, and Yelp are three of the most popular review sites. Provide links to these sites and invite customers to give their thoughts and feedback in regular communications. If you provide the link in a simple format, it makes it easier for people to engage in the process.

Ask at the Right Time

Know when the right time to ask for a review is and capitalize on that. A person may be more apt to leave a review if they have just completed an online checkout, had a good experience, and are still in the mindset of thinking about your company. Don’t expect them to come back later, as many will not (unless incentivized).

 

If you are interested in hiring an online reputation management company to help you with managing online reviews, responding to online reviews, and encouraging more online reviews – give us a call at 214 Interactive today! 

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Is Your Website Actually Pushing People Away?

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Is Your Website Actually Pushing People Away?

No one thinks their website is “that bad.”

Sure, it’s a little outdated - maybe it has its flaws - but consumers can see past that right?

The sad truth is that they can’t. Just like with any branding effort, your website is a direct reflection of who your business is and what they stand for. If your site is outdated and difficult to navigate, you may be pushing people away before they ever get to know you and your products and services. Here are a few website pitfalls we’ve seen here at 214 Interactive that it’s important to watch out for:

Website is Too Difficult to Navigate

A user-friendly website should have clear navigation in places that consumers expect it to be. The links should be clear and obvious. Contact information should be readily available. If your website is too difficult to navigate to find information, then expect consumers to go running elsewhere. 

Error Pages

Make sure all links work properly and forms flow smoothly. Error messages make people uneasy about your reliability and trustworthiness as a company, not to mention, it’s incredibly frustrating.

Slow Loading Speeds

Research shows that if a website takes longer than 2 seconds to load, many consumers will bail. Have your website speed tested regularly to avoid any loss of interest due to slow loading speeds.

Lack of Call-to-Action

Tell people what you want them to do. Click here to learn more! Sign up for a brochure! Speak to a representative now! These are all clear calls to action. If you are simply relaying facts about your company, but not asking people to engage, then you may be missing the mark. 

Fluffy Copywriting

To that end, consumers want you to get to the point. They want easily digestible nuggets of information, without scaling paragraphs of copy. Keep your copy brief, informational, and to-the-point. 

Need help with Dallas web design? Call us today at 214 Interactive!

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