Have You Made the Switch? 5 Reasons to HTTPS Encrypt Your Website Now

Secured connection link web browser detail

Have you secured your website with HTTPS encryption yet? We first published a post about securing your website in September 2014. That’s when Google announced it’s indexing priority for HTTPS websites and gave websites a window of two years to migrate to HTTPS encryption.

According to MozCast–which looks at changes in major Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features over time–there’s a slow steady increase in HTTPS page-1 results. the graph below shows activity over the past 30 days.

httpstrend_MozCast

Now’s the time to make the switch. Here are 5 reasons that will impact your business:

  1. More secure. HTTP website traffic is unencrypted and a bit like putting out a welcome mat for hackers. If your website uses HTTPS, the data is encrypted, meaning that only the users of your site and you can see what users are doing on your website.
  2. Protect your data. The data on your site can not be corrupted or modified during transfer without being detected.
  3. Users peace of mind. If at any time users are asked to input their personal data on your site, they’ll be more comfortable doing so after being assured that the connection and their data are safe and secure.
  4. More referral data. When a user from another secure website travels to your secure website, their browser will tell your website where they came from. This will allow you to track where your traffic is coming from and to further exploit those sources.
  5. Google priority when indexing. Google made a point in announcing that security is a priority to them and that they will use HTTPS encryption as a ranking signal. This means that by switching your site to HTTPS, your site will rank higher in Google searches.

Switching from HTTP to HTTPS encryption isn’t the only thing you should do to protect your site or to improve your rankings, but it is definitely a good place to start. Be sure to check the security of your website before and after making the switch to see the difference it makes. For more tips on how to improve your ranking signal or how to protect your site from hackers, contact a digital marketing professional.

Natalie Kane contributed to this blog post.

 

5 Things We Learned From Viral Media About Marketing In 2015

starwars

More than ever before, there are tools available to marketers that allow them to understand who their customers are and what they’re interested in. Marketers are learning how to tailor their approaches to what their customers want using email, digital advertising, and endless other methods. How can we keep all of this in mind moving forward while also learning where to go from here? The answer can be found by looking where our consumers look: at viral media posts on social media.

In past years, memes dominated the viral media space that reaches millions of users. Viral media in 2015 was more about activism, entertainment, news, and politics. Here are 5 things we learned from viral media about the inner workings of digital commerce:

  1. Big name influencer marketing can weaken the merits of a practice to the point of harm. Taylor Swift’s public disagreement with Apple Music and Spotify was a huge detriment to both services.
  2. “Nerd” culture has completed its transition into the mainstream. The vast success release of Fallout 4 and the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens are prime examples of this.
  3. Social media puts consumers directly in touch with companies and organizations. Regular people candidly share their opinions about products, services, and even political candidates.
  4. Buy buttons are starting to pop up everywhere. They are now directly on Pinterest pins, Twitter ads, Facebook ads, and beyond.
  5. Personalization is key. Consumers are watching, retweeting, and sharing heart-wrenching videos of people’s personal accounts. They’re looking at other individuals in a sea of people and considering themselves individuals. Treat them that way.

By watching consumer trends, we can become more aware of what works and what doesn’t. As the new year moves forward, watch viral trends to become more aware of what’s happening in consumer spaces and you’ll likely be on top of your game when it comes to knowing what your consumers want.

What viral media did you notice making a marketing impact in 2015? We’d love to hear from you!

Natalie Kane contributed to this blog post.

 

 

How to Target Your Audience in 5 Simple Steps

target group

Every good marketing plan starts with a target audience. This is the segment of consumers you want to target to see the highest return on your investment into a marketing plan. To define a target audience and channel your marketing efforts towards them, follow these five steps:

  1. What is Your Product or Service? Analyze it to find out what problem it solves for the consumer who buys it. Is it a cleaning product for messy houses? Is it a medication to relieve extreme aches and pains?
  2. Who Has the Problem Your Product Solves? If you’re offering a cleaning product you will want to target the head of the household, maybe a mother or a father with children. If your product relaxes the body and mind, you may decide to target individuals by age group or ailment.
  3. Where Does Your Audience Get Their Information? The parents with a messy house who need your cleaning product might receive a daily or weekly email newsletter. Baby Boomers may look to Facebook to learn what others in their age group are doing to relieve arthritis or chronic pain, while college students may turn to Instagram or Twitter. Consider advertising in the email newsletter, create and use the appropriate social media platform, or simply be present wherever your audience tends to get their information.
  4. How to Engage Your Audience? Pay special attention to sources your audience trusts and begin to associate your brand with these sources. For example: parents may rely heavily on Parenting Magazine and people with physical ailments might frequent WebMd looking for relief ideas. Also be sure to explain why your product or service will solve their problem more successfully than all other products.
  5. What Does Your Audience Profile Look Like? Create an audience profile. This way, your sales team, writers, and designers can refer to the profiles to ensure the product is being represented to the correct audience in a constructive way every step of the marketing process.

Forming a relationship with your customers takes time, but once you do, you can be sure that you’ll have a marketing plan that is sure to have a solid return on investment. Bring on a marketing expert to help create your target audience and expose your product to those who need it most!

Natalie Kane contributed to this blog post.

6 Tips to Ensure You Get Most Out of Social Media

Social Media

Presenting your business in a bright light on social media is a daunting, but important task. Using social media can be very time consuming, but when managed correctly, can be invaluable to a small business (especially with a tight marketing budget).

Here are six tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of social media for your business:

  1. Choose the Right Social Media Platform(s). Begin by determining your target audience. Once you have a concrete target audience, you can focus your efforts on the specific social media sites that cater closest to them. For example: Jimmy John’s markets heavily to younger people who like things “freaky fast” and want instant gratification. For this reason, they have chosen to have a strong presence on Twitter.
  1. Avoid Brand Confusion Across Sites. Your brand is one of the most important tools in your marketing kit. The way your business is presented on social media must be coordinated across platforms so as not to cause brand confusion. The message and language used may be tweaked slightly across sites to target the specific audience who uses each site most.
  1. Handle Negative Remarks Appropriately. Just about every business owner I’ve worked with has been concerned about controlling negative comments. No matter what social media platform you choose, unpleasant remarks can occur. Respond to negative posts and apologize for whatever inconvenience the consumer may have experienced, but do not solve the problem on a public forum. Directly contacting the customer if possible—use direct messaging, texting, or calling them on the phone—will provide you with more information about their complaint and let you better solve the problem.
  1. Manage Your Time on Social Media. Don’t get distracted by trying to be in too many places at once. Focus your time and efforts where they will be most effective. This means sticking to the one or two platforms that you’ve chosen and working to only create profiles that will be active. Set aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to manage your social media accounts.
  1. Up Your Engagement Game. Try to focus on more than just your number of followers or likes on a platform. Get to know the flow of the platforms and when your targeted audience may be viewing them. Pay attention to what users say about your business and industry, and work toward an engaging experience with them. Provide relevant and regular posts to keep readers engaged. If using Facebook, be sure to read Facebook’s tips on how their new Newsfeed algorithm works to make sure that your posts are reaching your audience.
  1. Measure Your Results. Measuring the success of social media interactions can’t be done with traditional ROI metrics. Pay attention to analytics provided by a social media platform. For example, boosted/paid Facebook posts can provide a great deal of information. The number of views might reflect an increase in awareness and the number of click thrus could indicate interest in a product or service. You also want to watch the impressions frequency and reach. At the end of the day, true success will come when social media visitors convert into customers. (that’s a topic for another full post!)

Social media is here to stay and is a wonderful way to share your expertise, services and products as well as learn about your targeted audience. Roll up your sleeves and have fun! But, be sure to bring on an expert when you’re not sure of what to do next.

Natalie Kane contributed to this blog post.