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  • 03/26/2017 9:39 AM | Lisa Pisano

    When we are discussing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) we often lose sight of our top goal: To be found by prospects that will engage and become clients who we will have long lasting relationships.


    To accomplish this goal we need to have a multi-faceted approach that includes: Marketing, Strategy, Keyword Enriched and Optimized Content, Responsive Design, Backlinks and internal links.


    Here are 7 simple tips to help your website work for you!


    1. Strong URLs:

    If you can, include a strong keyword in your URL, you will come up higher in search. For example: www.XYZconsulting.com will rank higher than www.XYZLLC.com. Additionally, make sure that each internal page URL includes one of your key search terms already mentioned on that page. For example, if you specialize in logo design: www.XYZconsulting.com/logodesign instead of “www.XYZconsulting.com/1234”


    2. Keywords:

    Sprinkle them throughout the website. Select approx. 10 keywords and make sure your content includes them.


    3. Alt Tags & Image Names:

    Google cannot read images. So make good use of alt tag text as well as the image name itself.


    4. Social Media Interaction:

    Google LOVES socialization! Make sure your page has links to Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and keep those posts active


    5. Videos:

    Google LOVES YouTube! Make sure you embed any videos you have on your YouTube channel.


    6. Call to Action:

    Tell them what to do! “Call Now”, or “Buy Now”, or “Get a Free Quote Today!”


    7. Be sure to include a robots.txt file on your root directory.
    The robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled.

    Remember you can create something great, but clients won’t see it if it can’t be found! Learn more at TwoByTwo Design’s Web Site Programs.

  • 03/14/2017 10:59 AM | Anonymous member

    In a world where 47 percent of consumers would take their business elsewhere within a day of experiencing poor customer service, how is a company to keep customers for the long term?


    In the “old” days, it was referred to a retention marketing. Today, it’s called lifecycle marketing and it’s a process where you nurture relationships with clients as they move through their life cycles.

    Example

    An accounting firm retains a new client, Grace, in need of wealth management services. She is relatively young, in her mid-thirties, and single. She’s inherited a fairly large sum of money from her grandparents and wants to ensure she’s using it toward a nest egg and to make sound investments.


    As she ages, she buys a home, gets married, and has children.


    How is the accounting firm’s staff touching base with this client? Do they simply provide quarterly wealth management reports? Or, do they encourage her to look at other services the firm offers, possibly college savings plans, estate planning services, and retirement planning.


    The second option is called lifecycle marketing. You’ve taken the client’s needs, based on where she is in life, and helped her to use the money she inherited to grow and work for her rather than just accumulating interest.


    4-Step Lifecycle Marketing Strategy

    But as you gain new clients, what can you to do crack the code to client lifecycle marketing?

    1. Be patient and avoid cross selling too early. Once a new client comes on board, avoid trying to cross sell products immediately without a complete understanding of her needs, goals, and life. Rather, take time to absorb how she lives and create a plan to help her reach a goal. In some cases, the client may not know they need a goal. A good way to do this is to add them to a marketing channel, such as a monthly newsletter or suggest joining the firm’s social media channel(s), that informs them of tips, news, and guidance they can think about.
    2. Ensure staff understands lifecycle challenges and create marketing efforts to provide solutions. For example, after Grace purchased her home, inviting her to an event about home owner tax deductions is a good way to nurture her relationship and to begin maximizing your value. Other content that fits nicely in this area is personalized tips, case studies, and best practices you would share with her either in a personalized email, call, mail, or combination of efforts.
    3. Once the relationship starts to take hold, and only then, consider promoting additional services. In Grace’s case, she’s gotten married. Inviting her and her spouse for a one-on-one meeting to talk about financial planning and personal goals is a nice touch. It’s personalized and offers them insight into their specific situation while providing a gentle nudge toward additional services the firm offers. Offer them marketing materials they can digest on their own time and invite them to another event or webinar series to help them understand the importance of their next step. Listening and learning to client’s needs are key behaviors for staff in this phase. Promoting services too early or too late could damage a relationship.
    4. Keep track of data points, with customer relationship management tools, about each client as she moves through her lifecycle to help ensure you’re cross promoting at the right time. This can be time consuming for the business team, but in the long run you’ll be glad you were keeping track. It’s important to mind the gap here because if you don’t you could lose a client and not understand why.

    According to Invesp, “It costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one.” Keep that in mind as you create a lifecycle marketing strategy.


    What’s your next step?

  • 02/20/2017 10:42 AM | Lisa Pisano

    The top 3 goals for exhibitors at trade shows are brand awareness, lead generation, and relationship building. 81% of Trade Show attendees have buying authority. (*Trade Show News Network)


    If you are participating in a trade show you should really begin planning at least 3 months ahead of time. If you are in a service business – keep in mind that the exhibitors are potential clients too.


    Every time I participated in a trade show, I walked away with a client – another exhibitor!


    5 Trade Show Business Building Tips:

    Unfortunately, no one is going to stand in front of your booth display for 30 minutes reading the 2 paragraphs and 6 bullets of copy.


    1. Your display is your billboard

    •  Keep the words to a minimum – 5 words or maybe 6 – no more! People should get the message as they are walking by and stop in their tracks.
    • Visibility has to be clear. Logo at the top is always a good idea – so it can be seen from a distance.
    • Keep the images generic – and minimal. The idea is to draw people in and start a conversation. Keeping the images generic also keeps the backdrop timeless – so your product packaging may change but the booth doesn’t have to!
    • Decide what will fit best depending on the size of your booth. Do you have a small booth that will only fit a table? Place a pop up on the table so that it is higher than the backdrop! Get a custom tablecloth with your logo. They are easy to do and affordable. And please iron it :) thank you


    2. Stand in front of the table

    • Walk up to people! Standing in front makes you much more approachable! 
    • Rest when you get a chance with a nearby chair.


    3. Have a clear call to action.

    • Print and clearly communicate your goals throughout your booth & materials. Do you want customers to purchase your product? Sign up for further information?


    4. Swag

    • People love freebies. It’s like trick-or-treating for adults.
    • Plan in advance and find something that relates to your brand and your purpose.
    • Be clever, creative and memorable! A simple postcard may be great – with an offer to go to your website for a freebie that is tied to the trade show. This will help you keep track of visitors and capture their email address.


    5. Follow – up

    • Email all the people you met within a few days of the trade show – whether you think they are prospects or not. They may know someone who needs your product or service.
    • A simple, personal thank you for stopping by” is also good.
    • Add them to your networking database.
    • Even if you don’t get a single client at the show – you may find one in your follow up.


    Remember—A Trade Show is an opportunity to meet many prospects at once as well as learning what others are offering in the industry. Being prepared with a crisp, concise and interesting message will make all the difference. To learn more click TwoByTwo Design’s Trade Show Programs

  • 02/09/2017 4:45 PM | Anonymous member

    search results page


    In January, you might have heard that Google was implementing a mandatory requirement for all websites that appear in its Chrome search engine to have an SSL certificate applied.

     

    The protocol uses an SSL Certificate (Secure Sockets Layer), which encrypts information sent between your website and its server. Even if you have a sharefile, dropbox, portal, etc., on your site, SSL is an additional layer of protection for any forms that may be completed (e.g., contact us), emails that may be sent, and more.

     

    What do SSL Certificates do?

    • Protect your website and user information;
    • Prevent “eavesdropping” and “phishing” via wifi connections;
    • Add SEO “credits” to sites that are professionally maintained;
    • Ensure encryption is applied to any site that takes payment transactions; and
    • ets the foundation for future eCommerce for sites not yet selling online.

    What will this do to my site URL?

    Once the SSL certificate is installed, your site’s domain will use https:// versus http://.

     

    Do I have to change all the previous links I’ve shared with clients, in email, and on social media? No. Most hosting companies will use a 301 redirect to redirect traffic from the http:// domain to the https:// domain. This should happen instantaneously so the visitor doesn’t notice. However, begin using the https:// domain once the SSL Certificate is installed and your hosting company has alerted you to the change.

     

    What will happen if I don’t do this?

    Your website will continue to work. However, if searchers come across your site on Chrome, they will see a notification that the site is not secure. Also, your site will be downgraded in search. Finally, a notice will be sent to you and/or your site admin, about the insecure issue, along with a notification on the searcher’s results page, something like this:

     

    Notice to the site admin: The new warning is the first stage of a long-term plan to mark all pages served over the non-encrypted HTTP protocol as “Not Secure”.

     

    Search result notice:



    In addition to implementing an SSL Certificate, if you have the option to use a site lock on your hosting server, consider asking your provider to implement that as well. Costs for both these options will vary from provider to provider.

     

    For more information, please visit the Google Security blog about this change.


  • 01/23/2017 7:47 PM | Lisa Pisano

    Have you seen one of these lately?



    Chances are you probably have one – just like it - close by. I bet you empty it regularly.  I am sure you look through its contents as you walk away from it, every day. Then you separate out what is important, what is interesting and what is obviously destined straight for the recycling container. And every once in a while – it prompts you to do something.


    Yep! You guessed it. It’s a mailbox.  And we are talking DIRECT MAIL!


    According to a recent Epsilon Research Study, direct mail remains the No. 1 choice of consumers for receiving information. The same study found that social media and blogs are considered the least trust worthy channels by consumers. These findings highlight a challenge that small businesses face today: how to effectively balance marketing strategies both online and offline.


    With 50% of consumers reporting that they pay more attention to postal mail than e-mail, both forms of marketing are essential for reaching your audience. The misconception that direct mail is “outdated” has been shattered, but simply employing direct mail is not enough to guarantee results.


    Some of you may not know that I worked in one of the largest direct mail design agencies when I first graduated from college. I designed those “balance transfer” offers from large banks and credit card companies you are so quick to shred. I earned a great starting salary and felt very glamorous in my office in the John Hancock building in Chicago --- sadly I only lasted 6 months. Yes – it was awful. Here’s what I learned.


    To implement direct mail successfully, here are 10 things that you should consider.

    1. Determine your budget.   Whether you have $500 or $50,000, a budget will determine what you can (and cannot) do. The USPS has recently introduced many innovative cost-saving solutions.

    2. Define your goals.  What are YOU looking to accomplish? Do you want to build your database? Do you want more customers to buy a certain product?

    3. Develop clear, concise content. If you are in the service industry, focus on a particular problem your customer may be facing and offer a solution.

    4. Use a clean list that is less then 6 months old.  A bad mailing list can kill a very clever, expensive campaign. The best list is one that you create yourself from existing clients and prospects.

    5. Consider an interesting dimensional mailing.  Anything that is an unusual shape, size, thickness draws attention. They score the highest open rate.

    6. Don’t be afraid of a design with color and varying text sizes.  An attractive design that draws attention to key points is VERY powerful.

    7. Include an offer they can’t resist. A strong offer, and a direct, clear call to action is key. Example: “Stop by our store for your free goodie bag”!

    8. Include an expiration date on your offer.  A sense of urgency prompts action.

    9. Social media icons may be included –  and can be tied to your offer for example: “Like us on Facebook to get a free sample”.

    10. Repetition will keep you in the forefront.   Be in front of your prospects minimally 4x a year.


    Remember—a Direct Mail campaign can consist of an e-mail, a postcard, a letter, a brochure, a product catalog, a gift… and may be a combination of all these.   


    To learn more click TwoByTwo Design’s Communication Packages.


    Aparna Mulchandani

    Two by Two

    201-684-1515

    www.twobytwodesign.com

  • 01/06/2017 11:16 AM | Anonymous member

    Everyone knows the great feeling of being right about a fact, an expectation or the best way to accomplish a task.  We learn from our achievements happily.  Learning from our mistakes can be just as valuable and therefore, joyful - on some level.  I learned this in a fun way over the holidays.  I gloomily predicted traffic and long delays on my family's Christmas road trip.  When we hit almost none, I realized that I am rarely so happy to be so wrong. 


    Shift this idea to thinking about your divorce.  If you are certain that every possible settlement leads to mutual financial ruin, wouldn't it be great to be wrong? If your answer is 

    a resounding "yes! I want to be wrong" then ask yourself these next questions:


    1.      Why is your money currently invested the way that it is?

    2.      On a monthly basis, what savings are you creating in retirement and non-retirement funds? 

    3.      How much equity is held in your home?

    4.      What are you doing to preserve or improve the net value of your home?

    5.      How are you going to pay for your children's education and is your co-parent agreeing with you now about that? 

    6.      Is your disability insurance benefit enough to cover your typical monthly expenses?

    7.      If you were to unexpectedly die, do you have enough life insurance to house, feed, educate and protect your children until adulthood?

    8.      Are you and your spouse maximizing your earning potential? 

    9.      What tax advice have you gotten to help you understand your options for dividing assets, arranging alimony and child support? 

    10.  Who is giving you advice about how to adapt your retirement plans based upon the upcoming change in your asset base and income available for savings?

    Give yourself one point for each question that you can answer without saying "I have no idea." 


    Then grade yourself:

    1-3 points:   You can do better than this but you need the right team of advisors to help you raise your score. 

    4-7 points:   Nice work so far.  Be sure to keep asking these questions and updating your answers until you get the deal done. Consult with new advisors to up your score as soon as possible.

    8-10 points:   Your financial savvy will help you during the economic transition of a divorce.  Now is a good time to follow up with your advisors and to update your personal financial knowledge. 


    Divorce creates new financial challenges.  The right lawyer works with a team of financial advisors to prove to you that if you are only expecting the worst possible outcome, you might soon be – happily – completely wrong. 


  • 12/17/2016 5:17 PM | Anonymous member

    By Donna Gould, Open Heart Creative


    What if one word had the power to help you connect more deeply with your customers? To see your products in a new light? Or to guide you on your path to something bigger and better?

     

    I’m not sure where I first came across the idea of choosing a word to guide my year. But as the calendar turns to January, I find that doing so has now replaced my old habit of making New Year’s resolutions.

     

    Think about how powerful words are:

    • They can make us look witty, sincere, generous, and trustworthy.
    • They make us sound foolish, cynical, shallow, and mean.
    • They can make us call in love and shudder with fear.
    • They can bore us to tears and keep us up half the night.

     If words can do all that, then a single word certainly has the power help us keep our intentions in sight as the year unfolds. My word grounds me in the story of my business and my life. And as I joyfully address the concerns of clients and offer support to friends and family, it gently reminds me to make my wishes and well being a priority.


    Ali Edwards, creator of One Little Word® says her words “have each become a part of my life in one way or another. They’ve helped me to breathe deeper, to see clearer, and to grow.”


    In addition to Ali’s year-long workshop, you can find other online “how to’s” for choosing and engaging with your word (check out Jamie Ridler and Susannah Conway’s websites.) But there is really no “right” way to go about it. Sometimes my word will simply come out of left field. Other years I struggle between two or three. Or four.


    Once you invite your word into your life, you’ll discover the magic it holds. It will serve as your “true north”, the constant you will keep returning to, long after you’ve forgotten the resolutions you made this month.

     

    Is there one word that will fuel your passion? Or nudge you to follow where it leads?

     

    What’s that magic word?

  • 11/05/2016 3:49 PM | Anonymous member

    By Donna Gould, Open Heart Creative

     

    It’s that time of year!

     

    When we get caught up in the mad whirl of shopping, decorating, candle lighting, and celebrating with friends, colleagues, and family. When we get ready to say “buh-bye!” to the old and ring in the new.

     

    When work can feel like it’s all that stands between us and some holiday cheer.

     

    What better time to rekindle a little joy– in your business?

     

    As entrepreneurs or business owners, we love what we do or we wouldn’t be doing it. But our joy ebbs and flows and is often overshadowed by the demands of – well – working.

     

    Before you start planning your goals for 2017, it’s a good idea to be in a positive frame of mind. To pause, step back, and reconnect with the passion and possibility that drove you to start your business in the first place.

     

    Scroll through your website. Read your marketing materials. Revisit your mission statement. Why does it matter? Because your vision, your values – your delight – are the reasons your clients or customers choose you.

     

    So “gift” yourself a little time to reflect and recharge.


    Put aside the marketing plan and money worries, the vendor issues and client complaints, and ask yourself what you love most about your work. How can you translate your answer into words – and use those words in your marketing content?


    If you’ve been in business for a while, think back to how you felt when you opened your first box of business cards. Launched your website. Got your first client. Let these feelings re-energize your interactions with clients and prospects.


    If your business is relatively new, tap in to the excitement that propelled you to take your professional leap. Take advantage of networking opportunities and speaking gigs where you can share your enthusiasm with others.


    Make a date with a business mentor and have a heart-to-heart about any issues or challenges you’re facing. You’ll return to your desk with a fresh perspective, a boost in confidence, and a renewed commitment to planning a bigger and brighter New Year!
  • 11/01/2016 11:52 AM | Anonymous member

     

    For the past few October’s my husband and I canned applesauce. As we were putting the jars into the boiling water – the final step, it got me to thinking how the process we just went through applied to marketing.

    How It Applies to Marketing

    1. Timing is key. Apples are at their farm market peak in late September to early October. In marketing, you need to know when the best time to market your produce or service is. If you have a seasonal product, you can market in the off-season, but usually at a discount. Your buyers may not be looking for your products in the off-season, so it makes your marketing job harder.
    2. Choosing the apples. We chose our apples from the farm market. We do this because we believe the product was fresh and ready for canning. In marketing, making sure the product or service you are working with is ready for market helps increase a positive experience for customers.
    3. Instructions and tools. We had to get our instructions and tools in place, organized, and cleaned before beginning. By putting our tools out first, we knew what we needed and how we could best set up our workstation to be efficient and effective. Just like in marketing. By creating repeatable processes and using tools to be efficient, you can complete the process even if you haven’t done it for a year.
    4. Shelf life. When you can anything, the final step is to wait for the little “pop” noise the lid makes when the top is sealed. This ensures the product will have a long shelf life. When it comes to marketing, there is a waiting game sometimes. You have to wait until the market is ready for your product or service. You may have to wait for sales to take off or for something to go viral.
    5. Consumption. We are eager to try our new product, so we often save one jar for dinner the weekend we make it. For your customers, product or service consumption may be quick or happen over a period of months; it takes us about a year to eat all the applesauce we make. Sometimes we forget we made it until one of us puts a jar in the fridge. Ensure your marketing campaign keeps bringing your customers back to buy or consume your offerings.

    Keep these five steps in mind the next time you need to create a marketing campaign.

  • 10/18/2016 7:05 AM | Anonymous member

    By Donna Gould, Open Heart Creative

     

    With Thanksgiving just a month away, a blog post about giving thanks may seem a bit too obvious. But this isn’t about going around the holiday table and sharing something you’re grateful for.

     

    It’s a reminder about the incredible power of the Thank-You Note.

     

    In day-to-day life, the words “thank you” can have a big impact on how you’re perceived. Saying them demonstrates respect, sincerity, and genuine appreciation. Forgetting to say them implies you’re someone who takes things for granted or, worse, is simply rude.

     

    In business, it’s amazing how far a simple “thank you” can go. Research shows that customers spend more, employees accomplish more, and vendors are more likely to pay on time if they’re thanked regularly.

     

    There are countless ways to express gratitude in the workplace, but the simplest – and often the most impactful – is to send a thank-you card.

     

    I don’t mean an email or text. Though appreciated, these tend to become routine. I’m talking about a handwritten note. Slipped into an envelope that you put a stamp on. And drop into a mailbox (remember those?)

     

    Think about how you feel when you get a note or card from someone you do business with. For me, it’s something special that I don’t soon forget – even when it comes from a company, not an individual.

     

    Last month I made my first online purchase from a California-based accessories manufacturer. My new wallet arrived beautifully packaged (and I’m loving it!), but what struck me most was the lovely thank-you note they had tucked inside.

     

    Is it a not-so-subtle marketing ploy? Of course it is! But the card made it personal. And as we know, being human is often key to a company's success. The extra few moments you spend purchasing and writing a card will show you truly value and appreciate whomever you are thanking – whether it’s a vendor, manager, or co-worker. And your clients will remember it when deciding if they’ll be return customers.

     

    As Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy, says, “Only the companies that can figure out how to mind their manners in a very old-fashioned way – and do it authentically – are going to have a prayer of competing.”

     

    It's often the small gestures that can mean the most. Something to keep in mind at Thanksgiving – and all year long.

                                                                                                            
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