Monthly Archives: July 2015

What is Conversion Rate Optimization?

Posted on July 31, 2015 by - Development, Marketing

Website making moneyEvery business starts with a goal in mind and a bottom line.  If your website is designed well, it should reflect your goals and steer visitors towards performing an action that benefits your business. Whether you want visitors to make a purchase, submit contact forms or visit a page with directions, any of these goals can be monitored and optimized. This is the world of Conversion Rate Optimization, or CRO for short. Even the most basic CRO techniques can mean the difference between paying for your website and your website paying for itself.

Understanding CRO Basics

To start work with CRO, there are a few terms that you need to be learn:

  1. A “Conversion” is simply the term used when someone completes a specific task. Making a purchase is an easy example of a conversion. When the customer finally pays for their item, they have officially made a conversion.
  2. Conversion Rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your site that converted, compared to the amount of visitors who did not. So if one out of every 100 customers submits a contact form, then your website has a conversion rate of one percent.
  3. Conversion Rate Optimization is the process of editing or testing your website in order to increase your conversion rate. This process ranges from testing new home pages to using different wording for a title.

How Can CRO Help My Business?

So why do companies spend hours on CRO? The answer is simple: CRO directly ties to your company’s goals. Let’s say you are a catering business and want to get more people to request quotes for your events. Here are a few CRO techniques that might be implemented:

  1. Alternative Calls-to-Action and content could be tested to see if a specific phrase might trigger more visitors to request a quote
  2. A shorter request form might be tested against the current one to see if fewer fields might lead to less visitors leaving before completing the contact form
  3. Multiple variations of your home page could be tested to see if any new design might lead more visitors to stay on your site and fill out a request

If you are not tracking your website’s conversions, then you are missing a huge opportunity to make your website work for you. Call Thoughtwire at (800) 367-2570 or contact Thoughtwire here to start optimizing your website.

How Google Trends Can Improve Your Social Media Presence

Posted on July 23, 2015 by - Social Media

Google trends

 

If you haven’t used Google Trends by now, your Social Media strategy has likely suffered. Launched in 2006, the tool has evolved to show us what others are talking about, almost in real time. In the age of social media, staying in touch with what your customers are interested in is integral to gaining those precious likes and shares. Learning how to use Google Trends is an easy way to improve your social media strategy.

Why Use Google Trends?

By understanding the topics and stories people are buzzing about right now, your business can strengthen its chances of being noticed on social media by commenting on the most popular stories concerning your field.

Let’s suppose you are a cyber-security company struggling to get your social media posts noticed. By looking at Google Trends before posting, you could check to see if there were any recent “cyber-attacks” or security breaches that are trending online. If there are, then you can create a post talking about that specific story. The best part is that the sooner you make the post, the better it will perform! Here are some tips about what methods to use when writing content online:

  1. Answer questions others may be asking
  2. Ask questions to your audience
  3. Talk about tips, tricks and tutorials pertaining to the trending story
  4. Comment on news items. Try to start a dialog with your customers
  5. Quote others and contribute your own view

Always Use Caution Before Posting

While using trends to boost the power of your social media posts is recommended, be sure to understand why certain stories or hashtags may be trending. Too often, companies inappropriately use hashtags to promote their product. Do some quick research about the story or trend before posting. You may find that the hashtag is inappropriate for a business to use.

If your business is struggling to gain a social media following, call Thoughtwire at (800) 367-2570 or contact Thoughtwire here to get started on your social media campaign.

Instagram Marketing that will grow your Brand

Posted on July 15, 2015 by - Social Media

Instagram Marketing

Picture via Instagram

Just under 5 years ago, in October of 2010, Instagram launched. It now boasts over 300 million active monthly followers who share roughly 70 million photos a day.

Instagram has achieved massive popularity for a few simple reasons:

1. People love pictures and their brains process them quicker.

2. People also love interacting in real time. In the “Explore” features, Instagram users can see the latest pictures posted from Disney World, a sporting event, concert or just about anywhere else.

3. The platform is less invasive and lists less personal information than Facebook.

4. It’s mobile – and the combination of visual content on a mobile platform in real-time is a social media experience many people prefer now.

How can your business use Instagram as a marketing tool?

Although Instagram only allows paid advertisements to a few select brands, this hasn’t stopped thousands of small businesses from using the platform. Simply create a profile with your business name and post away – just like you would if you were creating a personal account.

Regardless of whether your brand is a restaurant, clothing boutique, law firm, chamber of commerce or just about anything else – Instagram provides a place for you to tell your story visually with high-quality photos and videos.

It’s an easy way for brands to create awareness, interact in real-time and gain additional followers through the use of trending hashtags. For many, it’s provided them with quicker fan growth than any other social media platform, including Facebook.

Reach a younger audience, grow that audience quickly, and have fun visually telling your company’s story and interacting with the community around you on Instagram. Thoughtwire is now providing Instagram marketing services. Ask us about adding the platform to your social media package: 800-367-2570

New Benefits of Pinterest for Businesses

Posted on July 15, 2015 by - Social Media

Benefits of Pinterest

Picture via Pinterest

Pinterest, which has become one of the most popular visual bookmarking sites on the Web, was launched just over 5 years ago in 2010.

Its users love Pinterest because it helps them share and discover original and creative ideas. Whether it’s a craft, a DIY construction project or a recipe, millions of hobbyists use Pinterest to fuel their ideas and try new things every day.

What started as a social network for crafters and housewives, has grown into something that encompasses all demographics and many more ideas. The platform supports infographics really well, which can act as visual fact sheets that do everything from rally people around a social issue to market a business.

Pinterest continues to evolve. “Buy it” on Pinterest will be available for businesses soon, where products can be bought and sold directly on the platform. Essentially, you can set up an entire marketplace where consumers can buy or Pin products they love.

If you want to grow your brand, become an industry-influencer, and even sell products directly on Pinterest, contact Thoughtwire for a customized marketing plan: 800-367-2570

Why Email Marketing is Important

Posted on July 15, 2015 by - Branding, Marketing

At the bottom of every major business’ website, you see a button asking you to “Subscribe to Our Newsletter,” but have you ever wondered why that button exists? The truth is that the most successful companies use email marketing to drive sales and customer loyalty. To find out how they do this, we must dive into the world of email marketing.

Why Do Customers Subscribe to Newsletters?

If you think customers subscribe to your newsletter for a multitude of reasons, you might be wrong. A 2014 Nielsen study noted only two major reasons customers subscribe to company newsletters:

  1. 28 percent of online shoppers subscribe to stay informed about a company
  2. 27 percent of online shoppers subscribe in order to save money

With this information, you now know that over half of your subscribers want to either hear company news or receive a discount for subscribing. You also know that if you offer the right discount, 27 percent of your email subscribers are likely to use it, driving your sales during the promotion period.

What Can Email Marketing Do for Me?

By creating an email marketing campaign, you are creating a direct connection to your best customers. When sending emails periodically, businesses are constantly building a relationship with their customers and continually giving them a reason to come back.

Some studies suggest that over 50 percent of people check their email hourly! Your emails can promote current specials, remind customers of deals or simply update subscribers on your business’ news. In any of these cases, your business benefits from increased customer engagement, targeted branding and possibly sales!

Tips for Email Marketing

So now you know what your customers want and how it can help you, but before you begin an email marketing campaign there are four tips from EmailMonday that you should follow:

  1. Do not send too many emails. Send them once per week at most, always at the same time.
  2. Send relevant content to your subscribers. You already know what they want; send it to them!
  3. Make it BIG! Users often complain about their emails being too small to read.
  4. Make sure your website and email are mobile-friendly for your mobile email subscribers.

Call Thoughtwire at (800) 367-2570 or contact Thoughtwire here to get started on your email marketing campaign.

Shared Versus Dedicated Hosting—What You Need to Know

Posted on July 9, 2015 by - Uncategorized

shared vs dedicated hosting

 

The easiest way to understand shared hosting is to think of a big apartment building. You have an apartment in there along with many other tenants. One day, a tenant decides to do something illegal in their apartment. He gets caught. The police proceed to shut down the ENTIRE building. You can’t get access to your room for an indefinite amount of time. That’s what shared hosting is like.

You are all on one server, and if that server gets blacklisted, you can’t get to your email, complete transactions and do your daily business operations. If you are on a shared hosting plan, you will always run that risk.

Dedicated hosting is a better option as your website URL won’t get grouped into other blacklisted sites and servers. Dedicated hosting from Thoughtwire means protecting your website on the code level, not just the server side.

Here’s a closer comparison of the two options:

Platform Capabilities

Shared hosting accounts are typically setup with a panel like cPanel or Plesk, where users have access only to the “user level.” Aside from FTP, the control panel will be the user’s only method of server administration, and server functions will be limited, in large extent, by those available in the control panel.

Dedicated servers give you more control and flexibility. You don’t have to be limited when it comes to setup and tweaking functionality.

Security

Shared hosting environments always have to be concerned with security. Since every user on a Shared hosting server will be running applications within the same file system and same operating system, there is relatively great opportunity for a single user to exploit the system and negatively affect all other users hosted on the same server.

A dedicated server will remain almost completely isolated. You don’t have to worry about other users ruining your hosting. In certain instances, dedicated users can even customize their own firewalls and security settings.

Options and Extensibility

Shared hosting providers have complete control over what will be available to you in your Shared hosting environment, and the options are usually very limited. A setup that is compatible with one host may be completely unusable with another host, because of limits on the ability of users to customize software like mail servers, webservers and MySQL. You will also be out of luck if you require an operating system (OS) or software that your Shared host does not support.

With dedicated hosting, you will have way more control over your individual server’s environment.

Resource Allocation

In a Shared hosting environment, all hardware resources are shared among all users, with virtual limits set for the amount of bandwidth, disk space and other resources available to each user. The individual users’ resources are not in any way separated, nor can server performance be effectively monitored on a per-user basis, hence the notorious overselling, “unlimited” resource allocations and poor performance too-often associated with Shared hosting.

The other side is actually having dedicated resources, combined with advanced per-user monitoring tools, to make dedicated server hosting far more reliable than shared hosting.

Convenience

Although Shared hosting offers the convenience of a straightforward and easy-to-use control panel for server management (which can also be installed on a dedicated server), dedicated hosting offers an even greater convenience: the ability to customize the system with the ability to upgrade or downgrade at any time. 

Google’s “DeepDream” Taking Over Internet

Posted on July 9, 2015 by - Uncategorized

Google is always up to something. That’s how you stay the world’s largest search engine and a billion dollar corporation. They are constantly innovating and changing the way we see the Internet. Now, without going into the ethics behind the practices of Google, they have once again altered our vision.

The DeepDream project is a way to enhance neural networks and bring them out on every web page. It started as a simple code project, but the newly created networks formed some pretty amazing art. From Google’s blog: “We blogged about a visualization tool designed to help us understand how neural networks work and what each layer has learned. In addition to gaining some insight on how these networks carry out classification tasks, we found that this process also generated some beautiful art.”

Look at the landscape shot below. A normal shot of water, rocks and sky gets “DeepDream”-ed into a paradise of color and shapes.

Google Deep Dream

 

Google has recently released the instructions on how you can create “DeepDream” images yourself. Someone even did a couple of minutes of the movie, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” to viral fame.

Slug your images with the hashtag #deepdream to join in on the action.

For all of your Google questions and concerns, including SEO, Social Media and Rankings, call Thoughtwire Media at 800-367-2570.