The results are in and I couldn’t be more excited to announce Inc. Magazine has once again named WebiMax one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States. Coming in at #104, WebiMax is proud to be recognized among a prestigious list of U.S.-based, privately held, and independent companies for the second consecutive year.
Apart from the criteria listed above, companies were chosen for the list based on their growth the past three years. The September issue of Inc. Magazine shows that WebiMax experienced a 3,367% growth during that time and accumulated $8.7 million dollars in 2012 revenue. These numbers wouldn’t be possible without the best group of online marketing minds in the business and fantastic clients.
When I started WebiMax in 2008, we were a start-up with four people. Today, we employ 125 online marketers and are recognized both nationally and internationally for a full array of Internet marketing services.
The most exciting aspect of the Inc. 500 list is where we are headed. We are stronger than we have ever been as a company. I am very fortunate and proud to have developed a team of dedicated, experienced and driven employees. Without the team that WebiMax has built, we would not be able to accomplish the accolades we have received. I look forward to what is to come in 2013 and beyond. Our focus is around growing new channels of opportunity and expanding our reach on an international scale.
Be sure to grab the September issue of Inc. Magazine for the full list, and contact us anytime to learn about the people and services that make us one of America’s fastest growing companies.
If a company is franchised, it’s safe to say that they’re doing something right. Franchising is a business practice that’s experiencing an impressive level of global growth in the current business world. Becoming a franchise is equated with success in large part because it takes a business plan that has proven to be successful to grow in such a way, and because such growth creates job opportunities and a place to put collaborative ideas to work, it’s easy to see why hundreds of thousands of small businesses aspire to join the movement.
E-commerce and online marketing is part of the reason franchising is becoming so popular on the global scale. Now more than ever, business owners have access to the tools, storefront platforms, and audiences they need to brand themselves and secure new clients.
Since helping businesses gain traction is what WebiMax is all about, the International Franchise Expo in NYC is an event we’re thrilled to attend. As the largest franchise expo in the United States, this event is an opportunity for attendees to network with over 400 of the country’s top franchises, learn how to grow their own franchises, find opportunities with others in their field, and gain insight about ways to catalyze their business’s growth. Whether you’re looking to get on board with an established franchise or seeking tips as a new franchise owner, this is an event you won’t want to miss.
No matter what industry you’re interested in, the International Franchise Expo is going to have an opportunity for you. The event is put together specifically to connect investors and those seeking opportunity with franchises that have opportunities to offer. It’s a unique and invaluable experience for franchisees to learn the ropes and find out about new and exciting industries. The event runs this Thursday through Saturday, the 20th to the 22nd, so drop by our booth if you’re going to stop in! We’ll be at booth number 373 for the entirety of the event. Hope to see you there!
Google I/O wraps up today, and now it’s opportune to highlight the coincidences of trends and announcements that Google is trumpeting in their Google gloryfest. My approach is to examine each of the highlights from their 3-hour keynote (!) and point out, from a business and web user perspective, what’s missing. Google has had their I/O… now, I get my Google I/O/U.
With assets such as annual revenues larger than that of all states except New York and California and Google Chrome’s 750M active users, Google is becoming the steward of your future. (“Good morning to the Senator from the great state of Google!”)
Google leverages their wealth of data and huge ad revenues to provide web users worldwide with free services. Americans are quite familiar with this revenue model. News comes in a free form, but you will be force-fed ads to earn the right to consume it.
In an effort to keep a clean balance sheet, it’s time to consider, “What does Google owe me?” and “What do I owe Google”?
Unification of Google Services
Microsoft Office Suite. Adobe Creative Suite. User Experience has vaulted thanks to some of the most-visible integrations of programs and cloud support. Uniting apps and functionality common to a vertical is old news. (We won’t even go into the controversy of ‘subscription-based software’ in the cloud). But it’s easy to see the wisdom behind merging Google+ and other Google services. User interfaces have undergone cosmetic changes that make them much more consistent across services. The integrations must go well beyond superficial, and that behind-the-scenes sharing of data has begun. Sharing of data within Google is well within their Terms of Service, so there is no protest. But has their integration efforts gone far enough? Most think not, if you read the forums and comments.
Google I/O/U: More effective options to combine accounts for improved cross-functionality and User Experience. Merge Google+ Local (formerly Places), Gmail, YouTube, etc. Put users in control of how the merging works.
Google I/O/U: While I am at it, let me state that Google services require better interfaces. Across the board. Most users I consult with on a daily basis have the same disregard (and sometimes, disrespect) for Google User Interfaces and User Experience. They suck. The level of simplicity and cosmetic appearance has improved, but have they become more intuitive? Many think not.
Big Data is a Big Deal
Google has earned their seat at the Big data table (Hadoop, anyone?), as advertisers push the edge of peta-scale data accumulation and synthesis. Some appreciate the targeted advertising that results. Some are horrified by the creepiness of so much ‘personal’ data being shared and sold and acted on.
The lack of debate about whether this is creepy or cool, the technology industry has been ranked the world’s most-trusted for the seventh consecutive year, according to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer.
At the same time, Android developer Dan Nolan of Australia found that Google provides programmer access to personal identity of app buyers, reviewers and trials.
Google I/O/U: There is nothing more valuable than User Trust. Earn it. Don’t burn it.
Google+ has a lovely, new layout on the desktop that has been described as being more like Pinterest. More columns. Wow. More data visible at once on the screens of a dying race of desktop machines. Zzz.
Google I/O/U: Mobile experience of Google+ on iOS is only fair at best. It needs better profile edibility, for one thing. Make it so.
Cards are a visual nicety, that ‘flip’ over to reveal more data on the reverse (shades of MacOS ‘Widgets’). This plays on a visual metaphor that is familiar to consumers, and provides a framework for greater use of that convention. Cards come in six ‘flavors’ and mix your habits, searches, commuting routes and more into an ever-tightening web of useful information.
Google I/O/U: Droid Voice Search and Cards have invaded iOS. How long before advertisers have the option to use the reverse of these cross-platform cards to flip to reveal Ads? Better still, ads that use all of the Circles, Search and other data to be tightly targeted, at massive scale?
Related Hashtags emerged from Google I/O as Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and other Social Networks ride Twitter’s coattails to parlay content keywords into an ecosystem that enables better-informed Search, brand messaging and tracking of trends. google’s version will likely leverage their hoary old content analysis algorithm to discern keywords, and then their AI backend of search queries and subsequent search queries and personal preferences to add Related Keywords in the form of #hashtags. Excellent integration of a maturing user convention is on the horizon. Whether this becomes reflexive or intrusive depends on implementation, thus, it’s a crapshoot, but worth the gamble.
Google I/O/U: Bottle that Related Hashtag ability. Make it a form of metadata (similar to Facebook’s pervasive OGP) to reside in the Social Media, or, as an App that can be added. Open Graph Protocol affords Facebook an eye into one’s off-network web activities, provides authentication services, and records Likes and other forms of interaction. Could Google drive in the harpoon to leverage a similar inside job on Facebook and other Social Media? If so, Google’s own ability to provide incisive hashtagging could also feed those instances into search for general consumption. The mind reels at the possibilities. Better perception of social mentions for Google. Better and more immediate social monitoring for users, right there in their Search. For free, the Google way.
Auto-Enhance. OK, welcome to the club. Auto-Awesome. Better. Auto-Animations. All bets are off. The claim is that image processing and AI can store and examine all of your photos (those that you don’t hide from Google) and integrate portions to arrive at a better result (described as gathering all smiling faces from a series of group portraits to amalgamate one image where every subject is smiling. Other features include Collages (which any graphic software can do), Animations (AniMoto and other web services have done this for years), Panoramas (heck, my daughter’s Fuji digicam does that during shooting), Collections (from masses of uploaded photos). The good news and the bad news are simply two sides of the same coin. Yes, it’s automated. And, yes, it happens without you.
Google I/O/U: Control, Privacy — ask first. Give users an editing environment so they can have the fun. They will endorse the result better when they have put their fingerprint on it. Sharing will likely increase as a result. Oh, and please retrain all of those artists and photographers.
Google Talk Voice Search
Better than Siri? This could be the case, as Google sells the public back Google’s accumulated knowledge of themselves (G+, Google Search, Gmail, etc.).
Google I/O/U: Conversing with a personal digital assistant (RIP, Steve Jobs) is fun and all. Give me the rest of the robot.
Music to My Ears
All Access, Google’s newly-announced $9.99 monthly streaming music service provides interest-based ‘radio station’ playlist suggestions (patent issues, anyone?). It also enables local ‘storage’ of songs. Great. Rdio and Spotify must be quaking in their boots. Owing to the service’s ubiquity, iTunes may develop a small tremor.
Google I/O/U: Wired magazine described the Netflix contest to inspire a better algorithm to surface “content suggestions” for movie-watchers. This is a huge challenge. Will it be any easier for All Access to stimulate users to more listening based on recorded interests?
A Google developer advocate announces that they, “want the whole world to play together”. Development APIs come and go, morph and change, but their own Play developer API is now open and platform-agnostic. This goes beyond the “Open Garden” concept of moving one’s gameplay fluidly from a tablet to a laptop. Games developed on this platform can be platform agnostic. Droid devices can play games against iOS devices and other platforms.
Google I/O/U: Riveting games.
On the desktop, more usable screen area will be devoted to map. Then, Google will now scatter data all over the Map. Connections. Nearby. Search data.
Google I/O/U: Be graceful in the visual interface. Some users will not appreciate clutter on the maps they are trying to see.
Google Fiber did not make it to the list of Keynote highlights. As their noble experiment proceeds, to provide connection speeds 100 times faster than most of today’s broadband internet access, are consumers excited over the prospect of instant downloads and high-def communications? The tech industry, media execs and others in industry have been following the progress as it rolls out to more cities (experiment, or slow roll-out?). Yet, as disruptive as this could become, where is the hoopla? I recall a time recently, when networks ran to keep up with CPU speed. Now, CPU speeds offered by mobile devices and a faltering desktop PC industry will race to chase new throughput speeds. Whoa. Paradigm shift.
Google I/O/U: Testimonials. Consumers need to tell America whether Google Fiber has been a life-changing experience, or not.
Google’s efforts to entwine ‘products’, combine knowledge bases, share user profiles, and cross-pollinate are well-received. This is a welcome attempt to make strategic sense of how, “Google’s own services have been fragmented or confused at times”, according to Google Android Leader Sundar Pichai.
After-the-fact, ad hoc hybridization is a sloppy, inefficient process. In addition to opportunity, it creates development dead-ends and evolutionary cul-de-sacs (anyone recall the duck-billed Platypus?). But that process is organic and evolutionary. God would have a plan. Google has a process. It burgeons, however inefficiently, into the future. Skynet, anyone?
Google I/O/U: Continue innovating, but for goodness’ sake, don’t be evil. Have a plan, and share it.
In baseball, the perfect pitch rockets right past the visiting batter as they take a desperate swing at the ball, which is already in the catcher’s glove as the umpire calls strike three, much to the delight of the home crowd. In public relations, though, the perfect pitch is a soft, underhanded lob that the journalist smashes out of the park. Your company can certainly get a base hit by incorporating a typical press release into your SEO campaign, but a carefully crafted media pitch can provide the huge home run you’ve been looking for.
There’s nothing wrong with press releases – in fact, we assist our clients with creating and distributing them on a daily basis. They’re a great way to announce company news, promote an upcoming product release, or inform consumers of exciting things a business is doing. However, in some cases, it can be more beneficial for our clients to send out a media pitch instead of (or in addition to) a press release.
Press releases are typically posted online for mass consumption without any particular recipient in mind. The hope is that news sites, blogs, newspapers and magazines, and even radio or television stations will come across the release and find it interesting enough to publish or report on. Press releases are a tried and true way to get your company name in the news, but in many cases, media pitches can be more successful because they offer a more targeted approach to drawing attention to your business.
With a media pitch, your company (or an organization like WebiMax that helps with your PR work) sends a targeted news announcement, along with a “call to action,” to specific journalists and media organizations that will likely have an interest in the news. In addition to being more specifically targeted than press releases, media pitches usually offer something exclusive or particularly insightful that will entice a journalist to jump on a story before their competitors. Just like your industry is competitive, so is the news business, and reporters love an inside scoop. By extending an offer to a reporter and indicating your willingness to work with them on a story, you are giving them a reason to respond.
In sticking with the theme, let’s say your company makes sports equipment, and you’re ready to release a brand new kind of baseball bat that helps batters hit the ball further. If you put out a press release announcing the upcoming release of the new product, news organizations would undoubtedly be interested as long as you provided the pertinent information. Is the new bat approved for use in Major League Baseball? What players will be using it? Where can the general public buy it? How much will it cost? What type of research was done to prove the bat’s increased effectiveness over traditional models? As long as you include the answers to these basic questions, it’s easy for reporters to repurpose your release into a news story, and you there’s a good chance you’ll see it a few minutes later on your favorite sports blog, hear about it on the news that night, and read it in the paper next day.
However, if you were to send out a tailored media pitch to select journalists, it might result in more substantial and in-depth coverage. Perhaps you could put out a media pitch inviting some of the most respected sports writers to a preview event, where there would be a hands-on demonstration of the new technology. Or, maybe you could offer journalists an exclusive interview with the scientists who worked to develop the new bat, or with one of the star MLB players who will be using it. A media pitch includes that more personal, more direct, and more exciting call to action which a press release often lacks.
A media pitch can generate substantial press coverage, both online and in print, if done correctly.
Of course, sending out a media pitch means there’s going to be a bit more work on your end. You need to be willing to put in the effort to host the event you’re pitching, or to send out the samples you’re offering, or to provide the interviews you’re promising when journalists come calling. However, the time and effort you put in to make the pitch worthwhile can pay dividends when it results in a home run of positive media coverage for your company.
In the early days of the Internet, text was the predominant medium through which information was shared with the masses. In a time before broadband connections, HD videos and even Facebook, the Web was more about functionality than style. While these technical limitations made for a lackluster user experience, they did create a solid blueprint for today’s Internet.
When the Web was ruled by text and rudimentary HTML code, pages had to be coded very efficiently in order to load quickly and images and videos were simply out of the question. Although text still plays a crucial role in the modern Internet, technological advancements have placed multimedia and rich content front-and-center.
A Tale of Two Browsers: From Mosaic to Chrome – The Evolution of Digital Content
A Changing of the Guard
As YouTube, Pinterest and other popular sites geared toward images and videos continue to grow, the focus has begun to shift away from text as the primary form of content on the Internet. Today, virtually every website utilizes extensive imagery or video content to engage audiences. Social networks are certainly no exception.
In fact, social media posts or tweets containing images or videos are more likely to be shared or “liked” than those exclusively comprised of text. The bottom line is – rich content is the key to a more effective Social Media marketing strategy.
How to Engage Your Audience with Photos & Videos
Though I specifically cited YouTube and Pinterest as “media-focused” networks, other social profiles can equally benefit from rich content. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have all recently added enhanced video and photo integration capabilities for user and business profiles. This functionality allows users to more easily display rich and engaging content.
However, it is always important to consider your audience. When creating new rich content, first ask yourself if your consumers would find it helpful or intriguing. Originality, creativity and even humor are all elements of successful content. Keep it relevant, fun and informative. Developing infographics, instructional videos, customer testimonials and new or upcoming product photos are all engaging ways to reach your social following.
Every successful Social Media Optimization and Marketing campaign begins with delivering quality content to your followers. By offering up unique, captivating videos and images as part of your content strategy, you’re well on your way to Social Media success!
Want to learn how to get even more from your Social Media marketing campaign? Ask our Experts or share your thoughts in the comments below!
In 2001, Grammy award winning rapper and producer, Dr. Dre, announced his return to the hip hop scene…taking his song to #1 after a long period behind the studio glass. He returned to the microphone to record “Forgot About Dre”. The song emphatically announced his reemergence into the spotlight.
What made Dr. Dre so successful in the past was his ability to speak to the needs of his core audience. Upon his return, he continued to provide music that was focused to what his loyal fan base wanted to hear. When looking at SEO campaigns, it’s important to take a note from Dr. Dre and continue to provide high quality content that speaks to the needs of the people who will make or break your business – your customers.
During Dr. Dre’s hiatus from behind the microphone, his fans and fellow competitors forgot about him because he stopped releasing new music. In the same vein, many prospective clients of ours find that their past customers forget about their business. Why? Because they never utilize the touch points below. By taking advantage of the following seven touch points, your business will be much like the legend of Dr. Dre in the music industry – unforgettable.
Your website is often times the introduction to your brand or company offerings. Too often, the website is forgotten and pages that haven’t been relevant in ages continue to be both prominent and live on the site. The website is used in so many ways through:
i. Communicating through product visibility
ii. Being upfront about the offers, your brand
iii. Allowing a customer quick easy access to checkout
A customer-centric web presence is key to the overall success of not only SEO (visibility), but also for the customer experience and loyalty.
2.) Follow up from purchase
a. What happens after your customer makes the purchase? Are there follow up emails sent? Are they entered into a newsletter program to stay current on the latest news/offers?
Keeping involved with your customer is essential to maintain a relationship for future interaction. This can be accomplished through the methods mention above, which can make a huge impact for your business. Not only will it allow the customer to speak highly of your brand and experience, but also keeps you current and relevant while their next purchase decision is underway.
How in touch are you with your customer through online news outlets…they are reading online just like you are. Public relations in and around your community, city or state is a great way to remain current. Press releases can also bring national exposure as well as beneficial link building from an SEO perspective.
Have you ever seen retargeted ads that ‘follow’ your online click paths and online navigations? This is called retargeting in our industry and it provides extreme value in terms of brand awareness and relevant ROI clicks.
Customers can leave your site for a variety of reasons. Distractions, competition, and improper use of your site are just a few. Why not through retargeting, remain with the prospect over a span of 30 days or so, which will prove to be a very effective way for brand distribution.
5.) Paid Search
Exploring the paid search platform is not only a great way to gain quick exposure and traffic, but also allows a great deal of learning as your potential customers respond to the ads. Some ideas to test with paid search include:
i. Keywords and how your demographics respond
ii. Ad groups and the impression/click rates
iii. Landing pages to better conversions (includes call to action that could be tested during the paid search initiative.)
Your blog is not only an SEO powerhouse (still), but your customers in many situations look to read more about and support information your company or brand is involved with. They will often times look for news, product updates, information, etc. Your blog also gives the customer a platform to interact with your brand or products.
More and more, we are seeing a tremendous amount of mobile data from Google Analytics on many online businesses. If your site is not mobile ready, then you are indeed alienating a percentage of your demographics and customers. Creating a mobile ready site is often times quick, and inexpensive, but can make a world of difference for the potential customers shopping experience.
As you can tell, it takes some work to be remembered. After all, it took a Grammy winning song for Dr. Dre to emerge back into the consciousness of the masses. And his competition was just fellow rappers, our clients are up against something that has unmatched credibility on the streets – Google.