Content Strategy: Make Your Website a Resource


March 21st, 2014 by

No matter what your industry, building relationships with current and prospective clients is essential in keeping business and securing new sales. If users of your goods and services look to you as a trusted industry resource, the likelihood of them turning to you when they are ready to purchase is much higher.

Your online presence gives you an excellent opportunity to be a valuable resource in your marketplace. Whether it is an industrial purchasing agent or an individual who needs new tires for the family sedan, online researchers most often begin by gathering information that will help them make an informed purchase. As an expert in your field, you have something extremely valuable to offer these folks – knowledge and experience. Think of it as offering customer service before the sale. If you have a website, you can provide this service to prospective buyers in the form of good quality website content.

A Question of Opportunity

The Content Marketing Institute recently published an article with some great ideas for using Q&A content  in a content marketing strategy. It suggests finding ideas by researching online sources for popular consumer questions showing up in social media or blogs. When you find these, you can also use the opportunity to interact on these platforms by providing answers to the questions.

Answering your prospects’ questions on a relevant online forum will be helpful, but as the Content Marketing article notes, “you’ll probably achieve the best content marketing ROI by answering questions on your own website.” A Frequently Asked Questions page/section on your website provides the perfect opportunity to do this. In addition to researching commonly asked questions online, a highly valuable resource for FAQ material will be your own sales team. They know what customers ask, and will have an excellent perspective on questions relating to your specific product line.

Making Your Website a Resource

Your website’s FAQ page does not have to be, and probably should not be, a simple list of questions. It may be most advantageous to divide it into an FAQ section based on product lines, services, instructions, or technical topics. Some frequently ask questions could even be developed into new “about” or “resource” pages. More in depth questions may benefit from the addition of visual content such as photos, diagrams, or a video. When developing your FAQ section, consider getting input or feedback from some of your best customers, who may see opportunities you’ve missed or offer valuable suggestions for improvements.

The key to developing an effective FAQ section will be making it a valuable information tool for your customers and prospects. While you will want to include a call to action on these pages, keep the sales pitch to a minimum to promote a comfortable, educational environment for visitors.

The Bottom Line: If your website is a valuable resource for your prospects, it will also be a valuable resource for growing your business.

Ouch! 2013 Traffic Bleeds 22% for Internet Yellowpages (IYP) Websites


February 28th, 2014 by

Remember sites like Yellowpages.com and Mapquest, before you Googled everything?

Internet Yellowpages (IYPs) are “business search engines” that categorize businesses by type.  Users search by biz name or type, and then see basic results showing phone number, website URL and physical address.  In the Internet’s formative years, people turned to these websites as an alternative to search engines.  This consumer behavior was largely in the legacy of print Yellowpages books.

top-12-directoriesThe Top 12 IYPs; courtesy of the BrightLocal IYP report dated 2/14/14

After 2005, Google results pages began displaying crucial contact information for companies — without the need to click further into any website.  From that time, IYPs have faced an erosion in overall value to consumers.  Do you still use sites like Yellowpages.com instead of Google?  

Google’s search ranking algorithm still continues to rely on information from IYPs as confirmation of business location and contact details.  Many companies’ regional success online benefits from creating a network of “citations” in this way.  Yet the entire IYP industry is in panic mode, as traffic to IYPs continues to bleed across the board.

Industry thought-leader BrightLocal.com published a report this month noting a 22% decline in traffic across the Top 40 IYP websites in 2013 alone.  As a few sites such as (Google darling) Yelp.com hold strong, so many others are losing out.  Changes in Google’s algorithm are perhaps the core cause — and Google’s ability to actively compress the visibility of hundreds of IYPs — meanwhile elevating Yelp.com — further shows Google’s super-dominance in this space.  Google plays god with IYPs.

iyp-traffic-2013

Will Google continue to cross-reference info from IYPs in Google’s own display of business results?  Will business directory websites be obsolete in 5 years?  We predict that the faster consumers demand information, the faster we will transition away from IYPs for good.

 

Does Your E-mail Marketing Smell Like Spam?


February 10th, 2014 by

Here is the deal…spam can be compared to smelly, rotten trash. No one likes it and no one wants to deal with it. Marketers around the globe all face the same problem, to NOT be like or look like spam! All marketing wizards want to reach their target audience and doing so by one very common tactic – e-mail marketing. But, you’ve got to be careful that your e-mail marketing efforts don’t pop up as spam or look like spam!

smell

Let’s review what classifies as spam:

  1. False or misleading header information
  2. Using deceptive subject links
  3. Not identifying that your message is an ad
  4. Not telling recipients where you’re located
  5. Not allowing users to opt out
  6. Not honoring opt out requests
  7. Hiring another company doesn’t mean you don’t have to comply with the rights, both you and the 3rd party company are liable for

Now that we know what can be marked as spam, what can we do to increase our open rates and reduce opt outs?

Do not look like spam. Meaning, don’t have weird flashing text or crazy pop ups. This just looks like something ‘phishy’ is happening, literally. The user will instantly opt out or never open the e-mails again.

Keep it simple, informative and funny. Using the simple, informative and funny approach not only in the body of the e-mail but also in the subject line will help too.

Remind recipients they asked for what you are sending. Let users know that they’ve signed up for the e-mail / newsletter and that is how you’ve gotten their information. A lot of the time people forget that they’ve signed up, so just adding a small reminder in the footer of the e-mail will do wonders.

Promote some sort of savings! The main reason why they signed up for the newsletter in the first place is to save a buck or two. With that being said, promote a ‘newsletter exclusive’ 10% off!

Happy e-mail marketing & may your messages smell like roses!

For more information on what is classified as spam, please visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection Business Center’s site.

Lunch & Learn


January 27th, 2014 by

Upright Communications started the year 2014 off with a bang.  Mike Edge, our business development strategist was invited to Independence Bank’s ‘Lunch and Learn’.   The bank invited their local clients who were interested in learning more about how to use their website more effectively to develop new business opportunities and ultimately more sales.

Mike explained the sales process for online marketing and described that it is more than just getting potential customers to visit your website.  It’s about getting them to first find you online and then to convert them into customers.

Mike said he heard several times that, ‘Sure, we have a website, but no real strategy in place’.  We’ve heard this many times before and we’re confident in saying that we can create an online marketing strategy for you.

It was a pleasure to have had this opportunity and we would like to thank Independence Bank in Western, KY for their hospitality.

mike-looks-smart

Of Mojo and Mantra


January 15th, 2014 by

What an amazing book – Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow.  It was written by Chip Conley, the founder of the Joie De Vivre Hospitality, the second largest boutique hotelier in the world.  The book describes how Conley used the principles of Maslow’s Hierarchy to overcome the storm that hit the travel industry after 9/11.

If you’re like me you’ve probably heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy but couldn’t explain exactly what it was or meant.  So as a quick refresher, Abraham Maslow developed one of the most famous theories of human motivation.  In his book, Chip Conley takes these theories and applies them to business in a very compelling way.

Maslow believed that each of us has base needs (i.e. food and money) and after those needs are met we move up the pyramid (shown below) to higher needs—like safety and shelter, belonging to a community, recognition and self-esteem and finally self-actualization, which is pursuing talent, creativity and achieving fulfillment.  We are always focusing on the lowest unmet need.

Maslow Hierarchy

So how does this translate to your business?  Your employees have base needs like money, but they also have higher needs too.  For today’s post, I’d like to focus on the Employee Pyramid as described in the book, which has 3 levels, shown below.

Employee Pyramid

Employees have basic compensation needs that must be met, which creates base motivation.  After those are met, employees look for recognition in the workplace and finally meaning.  Money and recognition I understand, but the top of the pyramid – meaning – is more challenging, at least for me.  You know the whole “man’s search for meaning” thing can be tough to get your arms around, right?  Trying to provide a work life that is meaningful for employees can be very challenging indeed.

Companies over the years have tried to foster a sense of meaning at work, connecting the employees with the company and its mission by creating mission statements.  Most of these were too long, not really meaningful and often employees didn’t relate to them.  So Conley decided to create a shorter mission statement, which became “creating opportunities to celebrate the joy of life”.  But even that shortened to just “create joy”.

Create Joy is a two-word mantra that describes the mission of Joie De Vivre Hospitality, while communicating who they are and what they are about.  The president, Jack Kenny, has a sign outside his door asking each employee that sees it “What did you do today to Create Joy?”   Create Joy is a great mantra for the hospitality business, and I think very inspirational.  And a short, meaningful mantra is one that can be easily remembered which is important when trying to get everyone on the same page.

What is your company mantra?  What 2 to 4 word phrase describes your company’s mission?  That’s a tough question.  I asked myself the same question…..what is Upright Communications’ mantra, what is our mission?  Often I’ve agonized over heady questions like these, but in this case, our mantra came to mind in 15 seconds:

Make A Difference

Our mission is to make a difference in our client’s business.  This can take a number of different directions— like helping them develop more sales leads, showing them how to enhance their reputations, saving them money, getting more visitors to their websites and building their brand.   We try to focus on activities that will make a difference in their business and hopefully their lives too.

During our weekly meetings we review what’s happening with each client and as we go down the list, the first question is “how are we making a difference for this client?”  I find it very inspirational, and it seems to give us a higher sense of meaning in our work.  You should give it a try for your business.  If you would like help to identify your mission mantra, give us a call!

The Season for Memories


December 23rd, 2013 by

This is the time of year when thoughts turn to celebration, as well as warm recollections of good times past, spent with family and friends. In honor of the season, we would like to share with you some of our fondest Christmas memories.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a most wonderful holiday season!

 

image001jenn_johnsonJenn Johnson 

I begged my parents for a pony ever since I could say the word ‘pony’. In December 1994 my dad finally agreed to go ‘pony shopping.’ It was on Christmas Eve that my dad took me to Fletchers Arena to test ride an Appaloosa pony named Apples. It was love at first sight! My dad loaded her up in our horse trailer and said, “She is coming home with us!” Best Christmas EVER! She even had her own Christmas stocking that I hung in the barn 365 days a year for many years!

 

 

eric_frye

Eric Frye

One Christmas, I asked for Santa’s autograph.  Santa responded with a very long letter in my mother’s handwriting about why he just couldn’t leave his autograph.  I was really confused because I had all this ‘proof’ of Santa but the letter was unsigned, so it was extremely unfulfilling and I threw the letter away immediately.

 

 

colleen_frye

Colleen Frye

One year, when I was a little person (maybe like 3 or 4), I received the most UNBELIEVABLE doll house from my parents.  It had all the bells and whistles and plenty of accessories.  I thought it was the most fabulous gift in the world and still think about it to this day.  In fact, I awkwardly played with it until I was in 8th grade and then realized that once I was a freshman in high school, I probably shouldn’t be still playing with it.  I think I will always be a kid at heart though and hope that whatever child has it now, cherishes it as much as I once did.

 

greg_fryeGreg Frye

What I most remember about Christmas when our kids were younger and still believed in Santa was my wife’s insistence that we couldn’t put anything together ahead of time and could only do it between the time when the kids went to bed on Christmas Eve and when they got up Christmas morning.  We had a special closet that we could lock and store the gifts to be assembled.  Being the least technical person you’ll ever meet, putting together exciting gifts that contained over 7,000 individual pieces (the only kind we bought) was always quite the struggle, but somehow we made it in time and always enjoyed the smiles on the kid’s faces as the gifts were opened!

 

keely_ledebur

Keely Ledebur

When I was a little girl, my family spent one Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house.  I remember standing at the window and actually seeing Rudolph’s glowing nose in the distance.  Knowing Santa was really on his way, I couldn’t sleep.  My aunts promised that whoever fell asleep first would receive the biggest present.  Well, it must have been a tie because the next morning my twin sister and I found two sleds under the tree.  Being very little myself, the now old fashioned style wooden sleds complete with runners seemed huge and we knew we had won the contest.

 

michael_hostiuck

Michael Hostiuck

Every Christmas when I was little my Mom would come up with very elaborate schemes to show that Santa Clause was real.  I remember one year in particular I had asked her how Santa Clause delivers the Christmas presents since we didn’t have a chimney.  She told me that he lands on our long back deck and comes in through the back doors of the house.  When I woke up the next morning on Christmas day it had just snowed.  Somehow my Mom managed to imprint in the snow the tracks of Santa’s sled and all of the reindeer footprints extending down off the deck and into our driveway, and she did it without showing her own footprints too!  I was astonished to find real evidence of Santa’s existence!

 

tyler_hoffman

Tyler Hoffman

I was a little too old for Santa but still pretty young.  My parents had a habit of getting us awesome gifts but never, ever, getting us anything we actually asked for.  My brother and I were sneaky kids; we’d rummage under the tree, find our presents, and carefully unwrap a part of the wrapping to see what was inside.  Finding out what our presents were before Christmas was like a mystical high-stakes game we got better at every year.  My parents were in on it, though.  They wrapped presents better and more precisely in an attempt to detect tampering.  They stacked and arranged them in certain ways that were difficult to replicate.  This year was special though — this year they outsmarted us.  Presents piled up but they didn’t have anyone’s names on them.  They were labeled “Chewbacca,” “Han Solo,” and “Luke Skywalker.”  Even the token presents our pets got every year were encrypted.  We had no idea what to even attempt to open.  When Christmas morning came we were like rabid dogs to find out what our assigned code names were.  I was Darth Vader.

 

sarah_martisek

Sarah Martisek

My family is just pure chaos, so one year while preparing to go to Christmas Eve church, it came as no shock when my Dad called from my grandparents and said, “Grandpa slipped in the driveway and we are going to the hospital.” Grandma, Mom, my brother, sister and I headed to church without them and as we were all traipsing back into the house after church on that snowy Christmas Eve, poor Grandma fell in the bush. Dad and Grandpa arrived from the emergency room with a cast on Grandpa’s arm just in time to see the paramedics (we called 911) pull an annoyed Grandma from the bush and track shrub and snow all over Mom’s recently cleaned kitchen. Three kids, two grandparents, two parents and four paramedics and a dog running amuck at 8:00 pm at night left my mom with no time to prepare our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner. It was that night we ordered in Olive Garden (the only place open) and we still to this day, now order in Italian, in the case that Christmas Chaos (inevitably) breaks out again.

 

greg_barlow

Greg Barlow

At the risk of ruining the whole “is Santa real” thing for anyone, my favorite Christmas event happened every year when we were kids.  The whole extended family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) would get together at someone’s house every Christmas Eve and my Uncle Ted would make an appearance as Santa Claus (he kinda looked like him anyway…even more so now).  Santa would hoist us up on his lap, listen to our pleas for presents and hand out a gift to each of us.  One year, I was fixated on his reindeer.  I really wanted to see them, if not ride one of them.  Santa kept making up excuses, like they’re invisible, or he parked them down the street, but I kept coming up with alternative plans to still see them and yet more questions.  Finally, he looked at me and said ‘unless you want to end up on the “naughty” list tomorrow morning, you’ll stop talking now.’ Nuff said.     

 

mike_edge

Mike Edge

This happened about 7 years ago at my mom’s house, Christmas Eve.  My side of the family goes to my mom’s and the adults exchange presents from a name they drew on or around Thanksgiving.  This year my brother Robert drew my brother James’ name.  Robert bought James lottery tickets, a lot of them.   James wasted no time scratching them off and what a surprise we all had when he went crazy and shouted I won $10,000 dollars!!!   Everyone was excited for him and the celebration seemed to have lasted for 5-10 minutes.  Then Robert told James to be sure and read the rules of claiming it on the back.  On the back in the fine print it lets him know that it was one big joke and you’ve been tricked!!!!   The emotional letdown was terrible and hilarious at the same time.  I gotta say that there is nothing like brotherly love!!!   For the rest of us that thought it was a dirty trick on Christmas Eve, we couldn’t quit laughing at the same time.  James did garner a short period of sympathy while Robert was looked upon with distrust and genius at the same time.

 

jacob_meyer

Jacob Meyer

It was 1996, I was six years old and my brother was 11. Does anyone remember what made that Christmas awesome? The N64 came out! My parents knowing this was huge gave us a bunch of small and not so exciting presents on Christmas morning, while hiding the N64. We thought the presents were over and we must have been a little naughty that year. Then after everything was cleaned up my mom and dad pulled out one more box. When we opened it we screamed, jumped around and everything you would expect. It was pretty awesome. Just so you know how much I loved that N64, I still have it in my apartment in working condition ready to play Super Smash Brothers whenever I want.

 

erin_meyer

Erin Meyer

One of my most treasured memories is the Christmas Eve candle-light service my family attended before heading to my uncle’s home for fun and celebration. Through the years my sisters and I would sometimes participate in the service as choir angels, or with a role in the nativity. The service always ended with the congregation sharing a moment of passing a flame, from candle to candle. This quiet time always seemed wondrous to me, a break in the holiday excitement and a peaceful reminder of the hope Christmas brings.  

 

PR Tips: Ideas for Everyone


December 11th, 2013 by

PR Tips: Ideas for Everyone

There is a quote that states, “Everything you do or say is public relations,” and this is a 100% truth! Here are 4 simple ways you can improve your company’s brand and public relations.

1. Keep Your Eyes Open!

Always be looking for opportunities within your company, and within the community to better your reputation and publicize it! A simple donation to a local charity should never go without a little recognition so go ahead, brag about your support! Have your marketing department add a small paragraph and link on your social media outlets as well as your website. This will not only show your community support but also send a little publicity the charity as well. It’s a win/win!

2. Get into a Relationship

Create relationships with local media. A great way to do this is by following their social media, and reaching out to the local reporters and newspapers by sending a snack to the office. Food is a great way to butter up a company for the next time you have a press release that needs to be read and printed.

3. Optimize and Update!

New service or product to the company? Make sure to update your best marketing tool, your website! Create quality content, add it, talk about it to customers, spread the information through word-of-mouth marketing internally, add it to social media and make sure to keep all information current!

4. Create Your “Brand”

Think about what sets your company apart from everyone else in the market. Take that advantage and create your brand around it. You can develop a phrase, logo or both and start using it in everything company related so you are known as the “_____” company. This can also be enhanced through creating a stand out, complimentary color scheme that is unique to your brand and also incorporating that. Finally, internalize this phrase, motto, or slogan and ensure it is also a company belief among fellow employees.

How Long Does it Take to Thaw a Fresh Turkey?


November 27th, 2013 by

butterball hotlineThe gang at Upright is looking forward to sharing Thanksgiving with family and friends, and we wish all of you a safe and joyful holiday!

For those of you who may be doing the cooking this year, we wanted to make sure you knew about a pretty handy resource – the Turkey Talk-Line®. For over 30 years, the turkey experts at Butterball have operated a toll-free hotline offering on-demand advice and assistance for meal preparers throughout the country. Established in 1981, you could say that the Turkey Talk-Line® was somewhat ahead of its time as an interactive marketing tool.

The hotline has been tremendously successful for Butterball. In their first year, a team of six “home economists” answered 11,000 turkey preparation questions throughout the entire holiday season. Today, a much larger team handles 12,000 calls on Thanksgiving day alone, and the phone experts must undergo  training at Butterball University to learn all of the right tips and tricks.  This year, for the first time, the team of turkey experts will include men.

Not resting on the success of their hotline, Butterball has expanded its efforts with a variety of social media tools, including Facebook and Pinterest pages for “Turketarians.” On the Butterball website you will find an online portion calculator and a free smart phone app as well as recipes , how to videos, coupons and more. Butterball is a great example of a brand/business that found a successful way to connect with its customers, but did not stop there. They have done a great job of finding ways through online marketing to expand their success and stay on the minds of consumers.

On a final, and humorous note, there have been many accounts of some of the more absurd (but real) questions callers to the Butterball line have asked, including, ‘how long does it take to thaw a fresh turkey?’. You can find more examples in this Reader’s Digest slideshow and in this video, during which an operator shares her experiences.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give Visitors A Nudge, Not a Pounding


November 15th, 2013 by

When visitors come to your website, they are in control. They choose which pages to view and what actions to take. And while you try your best to make them aware of your calls-to-action and important content, they don’t always make it to those forms or pages. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to somehow interact with your visitors and influence the path they take through your site?

Some webmasters try to do this by directing attention in not so subtle ways, like plastering a chat window or survey invitation right in the middle of the screen. The box pops up and refuses to budge until the visitor either accepts the invitation or closes the box. Personally, I find that annoying and have become very adept at either closing those boxes in under 2 seconds or leaving the site altogether…not the intended reaction I’m sure.

Forced Surveys

Instead of pounding visitors over the head and forcing them to do things, a better strategy is to find a way to give them a little “nudge” in the right direction. Enter Qualaroo, a software platform that aims to help you target calls-to-action and also gain insights into visitor intent.

So, how does it work? You have a lot of display options with Qualaroo, which you can adjust depending on your strategy. Regardless of the settings you choose, the nudge will appear very subtly in the lower part of the screen, keeping it out of the way, but still noticeable.

Qualaroo

With Qualaroo’s options, you can:

  • Show your nudge box on the right or left of the screen
  • Show it right away when the page loads
  • Wait 20 seconds (if the visitor stays on a page for that long they may need direction)
  • Show it only to returning visitors or visitors who have visited at least 3 pages
  • Show it only to visitors who have arrived on the site from a search engine

There are 12 different targeting options, and you can also show the nudge only one time per visit.

In the example shown above, Hague Quality Water introduces a nudge that directs visitors who have questions to get in touch with a local dealer. When the “Find Your Local Dealer” button is clicked, the visitor is taken to a dealer finder page where a zip code can be entered to locate the nearest dealer.

Hague Qualaroo Nudge

About 5% of visitors who see the nudge interact with it by clicking on the blue find a dealer button. In the last 2 months over 550 visitors have done a dealer lookup as a result of the nudge.

There are a lot of nudge strategies for both existing customers and prospective customers. You can also incorporate live chat in with the nudge. Additional examples appear below:

More Qualaroo Tests

Over the last 3 months that we’ve been experimenting with Qualaroo on client sites, we’ve had over 4,000 site visitors interact with the nudge, which has allowed us to direct them to important actions and pages on those sites. We have found it to be a very effective tool for customer engagement.

We would be happy to discuss its application for your site, too… just give us a call at 513-258-2862!

Happy Halloween!


October 31st, 2013 by

Leaves are falling, temparatures are dropping, the fog is rolling in and the haunting is beginning. Halloween is among us, are you prepared to survive among the undead? Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, I love the decorations, the costumes and all the haunted houses! Below I have included some fun tips and tricks for Halloween!

Our Suggested Haunted House: USS Nightmare

Enjoy a night out while you visit the USS Nightmare. Be frightened as you walk through a bone-chilling 30 minute tour of the historic boat.


Extreme Pumpkins is a site sure to inspire some great pumpkin carving ideas.


Enjoy this video that has recently gone viral, well worth the watch!

Happy Halloween from all of us at Upright Communications!