Understanding 3 Main Sources of Website Traffic

Tons of traffic can be a bad thing. Very bad. One of my favorite billboards of all time, strategically placed outside the Fort Pitt Tunnels in Pittsburgh showed a closeup image of the iconic Heinz Ketchup bottle with a caption underneath that read, “Unfortunately, ths is not the only bottleneck Pittsburgh is famous for”.  Great advertising-acknowledging an irritating problem and at the same time, celebrating one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved brands. I was still annoyed, however, having to sit in traffic for an extra twenty-five minutes (albeit a great ad had me entertained).

Tons of traffic can also be a good thing in my world. Very good. Online marketers, search engine optimizers and Google Analytics (not to mention business owners) love website traffic. In your Google Analytics reports, you’ll see some of the same entries come up again and again in your data tables. Where are your website visitors coming from? What should you do with the information? Here are a few “Traffic Sources” terms defined.

  • Direct-Visitors who visited the site by typing the URL directly into their browser. Pretty self-explanatory, right? Hold on. ‘Direct’ can also refer to the visitors who clicked on the links from their own bookmarks/favorites, untagged links within emails, or links from documents that don’t include tracking variables (such as a link within a PDF file or a Word document). There are a variety of other “direct sources” but these are a few examples. Google Analytics sometimes terms “unknowns” as “direct” so be aware of this when reading these numbers.
  • Referral-Visitors referred by links on another website. Referral traffic is Google’s method of reporting visits that came to your site from sources outside of its search engine. When someone clicks on a hyperlink to go to a new page on a different website, Analytics tracks the click as a referral visit to the second site. For example, if you click on the Fina Promos link here, you will be considered part of referral traffic, since this link connects you to a different website and it was found by you outside of Google search.
  • Organic-Visitors referred by an unpaid search engine listing, e.g. Google.com search. This is my favorite traffic source. The traffic that comes from organic sources is extremely important. Three immediate benefits include trust and credibility, inbound marketing and high ranking in search engines.

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Once you have learned from your Google Analytics Reporting where your traffic is coming from, you can begin to make intelligent decisions for your website.  For example, If  your bounce rate is high (the percentage of a single page visit without exploring your site further) that could be an indicator that site entrance pages are not relevant to your visitors, or that your CTA (call to action) is not prominent. Possibly you are not giving your reader a reason to explore your site or landing page further.

Bounce rate of a website has nothing to do with “Time spent on a webpage/website” (a misconception common about marketers and webmasters.) Bounce rate speaks to the quality of traffic to your site and/or landing pages. Bounce rate can be a powerful metric for measuring the defined goals of your page or site.

Fina Marketing Group can help direct your traffic. Tons of traffic can be a good thing. Very good. Be sure your website traffc sources get your readers where they want to go.

Bagged Up-The Best Promo Product of 2016

A study from the Advertising Specialty Institute  found that in 2016 promotional bags generated more advertising impressions in the U.S. than any other promotional product. More than pens, calenders, mugs and even the beloved t-shirt.  Although women in the U.S. are much more likely to own a bag than men (57% of women vs. 42% of men)  promotional bags are an excellent way to showcase your business brand, logo or campaign/event message. A logoed branded bag generates over 5,700 impressions on average. That’s a pretty healthy number when considering the cost per impression compared to other advertising medium.

The age group among women most likely to own a logoed bag is 18-24 at 57% (Think college students and young professionals as a target market here.)  49% of senior women,  ages 65 and older are also a great demographic for targeting with a promotional bag. Woman carry things. For everyone it seems. If they consider your company’s logoed bag a good looking and useful item, you can count on residual marketing for a few years at least depending on the material quality and functionality. I remember bags from vendors for years. Estee’ Lauder’s promotional gift bags are some of my favorites. Always well-designed with great quality workmanship. Its interesting to me (and a great lesson) as a marketer that the logo is not always pronounced on the item itself-a blind embossed logo or zipper pull. Minimal real estate is used to create a classy look, yet I remember and even refer to it as my “Estee’ Bag.”

Men too are increasingly aware of the brand value of carrying handsome bags to and from the office, home and travel sites.

“One of the key pieces that any guy can own is a nice leather briefcase,” says Sabine. “A nicely made bag should last generations.”

All types of branded bags are making inroads to once female preferred gift wish lists-laptop bags, backpacks, duffels,  messenger, shopping and travel bags. Corporate Gifts that are most likely to be valued by men are name brand upscale leather bags. Many of our clients at Fina Promos are choosing handsome leather bags as executive gifts, service awards and client thank you gifts. One of the favorite golf outing gifts we provide for The Annual Arnold Palmer Golf outing for Latrobe Hospital is a black leather shoe bag.

According to a recent article on Forbes.com, a recent study found that half of the people working for large organizations in the U.S. would be proud to wear company gear outside of work.   Do not underestimate promoting your company brand to your own employees, as they can have a positive impact spreading goodwill about your organization and company culture.

Read MoneyCNN’s article about why men should own a man bag.

Here is a revealing infographic from the Advertising Specialty Institute

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Promotional Bags are the most popular Promotional Product Item in 2016. Need help creating an effective promotional strategy for 2017?  Sign up for our newsletter and get promo product ideas delivered to your inbox twice monthly.

Say Cheeeeese!

It is imperative to have a good quality business photo for your website, LinkedIn profile, and articles you write for industry publications as well as to give it to journalists who request it. People who do business with you might want to see what you look like. Before you start with the excuses, let me be honest. Your selfie at the bar won’t cut it. Save it for your personal Instagram or Facebook account. If you are to be perceived as a professional, you need to hire a professional. Period. Think about it as an investment in your career. The cost need not break the bank. Here are a few quick tips to get the most out of your photo session:

  • Dress how your industry works. Are you an artist or a CPA? Needless to say, those in the art or advertising world may have a bit more creative freedom than say, an investment banker. The general rule of thumb from the pros is to dress classic, basic, and simple. This gives images longevity. Business casual is a broad definition and can include suit coats with informal shirts, polo shirts and tan pants, or turtle necks with jeans. However you define business casual, be sure to feel fabulous in your clothes, no matter the style!
  • Be yourself. Have fun, even. The key here is letting go. Look at the camera and imagine it is the face of someone you really care about and are comfortable with. Get creative with props, angles and your facial expressions. Show several sides of your personality. I loved the photo of myself (above) with my glasses because I was genuinely laughing. We were trying to get a serious headshot and I couldn’t pull it off. It ended up being one of my favorite shots. When you are comfy in your skin, you know it. The camera lens knows it. Your viewers know it. Be genuine. Always.

The creative adult is the child who survived. Show me your inner child.

  • What to wear tips for ladies. For headshots and professional photos in genera lavoid big prints and busy patterns. (Think grandma’s house dress). Oh, and your jewelry should not resemble “Gypsy Rose.” We want to see you, not your busy-ness. It’s fine to be fashionable but remember the picture is about your face not your soon- to-be-dated accessories or clothes. Also, keep in mind that different necklines will change the apparent shape of your face. Bring a variety of shirts or blouses to see what works best. No cleavage. No cleavage. No cleavage.
  • What to wear tips for guys. For a no-jacket casual look, bring colored shirts-ideally darker than your skin tone. The standard business look is still a suit jacket, dress shirt and tie, gentlemen. A casual business look is often a jacket and open dress shirt, shirt and tie, (no jacket), or dress shirt on its own. Quick note. A white dress shirt by itself is a bad idea. It just is. Trust me.
  • Tell the photographer how the photo will be used. Communicate your expectations and intentions for the picture, whether you plan on using it for your website, online marketing or print collateral. Be as clear as possible. Did you see some photos that you admire? Snap a screen shot and show your photographer what you like about it. The angle. The color. The pose. Whatever. If it is not appropriate, they’ll tell you.
  • Select and wear clothes that make you feel comfortable. We all have that go-to outfit we pull out of the closet when we want to feel our best. Don’t have one? Go shopping. Today. Make sure it fits your body and personality well. You’ll know it the second you try it on. If you have absolutely no clue in the fashion arena of your life, grab a friend, partner, or colleague who does. They’ll help.

 

Here’s to your success! Feel free to contact me if you need addtional help finding the right photographer.

Audrey Gotto

 

2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

A logoless company is a faceless man.

“A logoless company is a faceless man.” This is my absolute favorite quote on the subject of branding and logo design by David Airey, from his book  Logo Design Love .  (Purchase this book  if you are a graphic desiner!)  As a marketing professional I always feel drawn to a well designed logo, brand identity or graphic design piece that  has the ability to”speak to me” and literally stop me in my tracks. No, really. It annoys and sometimes alarms my friends and family (especially when I’m driving and staring down a great billboard, or sign graphic.)

Do you own a business without a logo, or without a well designed logo?  Are you proud of the face of your company? You should be. Like it or not just as we tend to judge one another by personal appearance, we judge companies by their personal appearance. Oftentimes I am handed a business card, look at the logo design, and decide immediately if I would like to conduct business with you. Am I a design snob? Maybe. But let me tell you that people associate your business worthiness with your brand identity. So, what are the qualifying characteristics of a good design? There are many. Here are just two qualities that I admire (and are proven to be effective). These are the ones make me stop in my tracks.

 It Tells Your Story. “What exactly is it that you do?” Many times a great logo answers this question. No words necessary. Just great graphics. Katie Morgan senior designer at 300millions, designed this logo for The Guild of Food Writers. I just love the use of negative space showing a spoon inside a pen nib. Take away the copy. You are still left with a great design that tells a story. The-Food-Writers-Guild-logo-designed-by-300millionsThe Design Is Simple  (but not boring.) Stay focused on one strength. Not two. Not three. Just one. What is the one thing that you want others to identify with your brand? I know it is very tempting to want to emphasize the countless wonders of your products and services, but stay focused. What adjective would others use to describe your company? Chose your design and logo color accordingly. Use a focus group if you have to, but pick your strongest asset(s) and start from there.  An excellent example of this is Cisco’s new logo and the colors they chose for their re-branding. Cisco is not an acronim.  It is an abbreviation of “San Fransico.”

 

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The name “Cisco” was derived from pride in the city name,  which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. The blue color depicts prosperity, excellence and calmness, while the red color represents determination and business responsibility. It is said by John Morgridge, the 34th employee and the company’s first president that the creators of the company thought of this name while making their way to Sacramento for registration of the company. As they laid their eyes upon the Golden Gate Bridge structured in the sunlight, they decided the name of the company there and then.

Put on your best face. Hire a designer or create your own. Just don’t be the faceless man.

-Audrey Gotto

   

4 Painless Ways to Encourage Online Reviews

Online business reviews can influence internet search engine results. This is crucial for small business owners wanting to increase local seo results. Search engines such as Google take into account how many times your business is mentioned in reviews. Your business getting alot of mentions usuually translates into appearing higher in search results than a business that isn’t reviewed  often. Research suggests that consumers generally trust peer recommendations more than they trust advertising.

A recent Nelson survey found that of 25,000 internet consumers from 50 countries 90% trusted recommendations from people they know, while 70% trusted consumer opinions posted online.

I’m not going to lie. Getting reviews is not always easy. In fact, I find it to be challenging for a number or reasons. 1.) Who has the time to find your review site, compose a review, and get it posted quickly? 2.) Some of your clients no doubt love you and your product but they just aren’t skilled writers. 3.) Transparency is always an issue. Have you ever read an online business review that just felt fake?  False reviews are tacky and will actually hurt your seo results.

That being said, here are 4 painless ways to encourage online reviews for your business:

  1. Encourage your customers to leave ratings and reviews of your business if they are satisfied with your work. Send them a simple email after a service is rendered, give them a flyer at checkout, a call to action on your website or a phone call or  direct text message. Don’t be shy. You’ve done a wonderful job. Asking for an endorsement is fine, as long as it is authentic.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don’t miss our updates! Subscribe here.
  2. Provide customers with a variety of sites to post reviews about you. For example, if you are asking for a review via email, send the appropriate links in the body of your message so that they can easily click on the site and get typing directly.  Instead of just providing links at the bottom of your email signature, why not kindly encourage and/or ask for a review? make this the SUBJECT OF YOUR EMAIL, not an afterthought or closing comment.
  3. Respond to Reviews. The Good. The Bad. And The Ugly. Be proactive about responding to all reviews. Say thank you. Say you’re sorry. Say something! If the comment is a postive one, thank the customer for their feedback and encourage them (by name if appropriate) to use your services again. If the post is negative, explain that you appreciate their honesty and ask the customer to get in contact with you about their concerns so you can address their problems directly. And do that. I love seeing when business owners show the negative posts and their susbsequent  tactful replies.  Through your replies, customers can get to know you  as an individual, not just ‘business x.’ Transparency and authenticity are gold in the business world.
  4. Never ever post false reviews. False reviews are eventually discovered. Because of their obvious generic transparency, you risk the chance of losing visibility in search engines. Worse yet, the visibility you do get will not be the kind you want. Exercise patience and be consistent with points 1-3 and eventually you will build a strong  business online review sampling.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto- Fina Promos

 

Linking Your Way to SEO Success

Links from your website to other related websites, and vice versa, play a role in your business’ local SEO visibility, because they help to establish the authenticity and credibility of your business. Without appearing “spammy” use these 5 action items in your website link strategy:

  • Consistently share links to your website via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, and encourage others to pass along the information as well. Speaking of links; Here’s a few of ours: Fina Promos Website  FinaPromos Facebook Page  I find myself struggling with this at times. But really, the next time you are sending off an email try and take a few seconds and include a link to a special blog post or article from one of your social sites or website that would help, entertain or amuse your recipients.
  • Include links to your website in email newsletters and other updates to customers. Posting a link back to your website on your LinkedIn and GooglePlus Page updates/posts can greatly increase your search engine optimization efforts. Again, without being a self-serving spammer, try to include your website link if it would actually be helpful to your associates or readers.                                                                             breastcancergirls
  • Host or sponsor local events, or provide discounts for neighborhood students, and then encourage neighborhood businesses, the local chamber of commerce, charity organizations and other partners to link to your website when talking about those activities. And don’t forget to return the favor.
  • Create a local directory of community resources including your favorite nearby restaurants, stores and cultural attractions, to provide an opportunity for you to link out to others (and for them to return the favor). Even consider starting a blog where you can talk about your business’ neighborhood and link to businesses and places of interest.
  • However, be sure that your link strategy is authentic in that you know who you are linking to and that they have relevance to your business. Also, do not create link schemes like spamming your business’ domain name on websites, forums or blog comments.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto