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The Cardinal Blog

8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Website Redesign

Caity Cogdell

Most companies don’t have the luxury of redesigning their website every six months, so it’s best to be prepared to get the most out of your new design. These suggestions will help you make sure that your new website will serve you well into the future.

1. Start early – it will take longer than you think

By the time you choose a web design company, get your content written, schedule a photo shoot and get the pictures back from the photographer, go through a few rounds of designs, and have the new website developed and tested, even a fairly simple site can take months from concept to launch. If you want your new website to last a long time, invest the time upfront to do things correctly. The last thing you want to do is rush this essential investment and either be stuck applying “band-aid” solutions to major problems or have to start all over again.

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Posted in Blog, Web Design

What Facebook Taught Me by Flagging My Account

skylar sperin

Until recently I have had a very open relationship with Facebook. As a social media specialist, I tell Facebook everything, my wants and desires, and he (only because the founder/CEO is a male) delivers.

It all began one morning when I was checking the status of a client’s Facebook ad account. A giant red banner displayed across the top of my monitor reading, “Your ad account has recently been flagged because of unusual activity. For security reasons, any ads you’re running will be paused until you can confirm your account information by contacting Facebook.” Immediately I began to cry uncontrollably (possible exaggeration). It was my worst nightmare. I selected the link provided and continued to fill out a form that signed my life away. That’s right, I had to submit my terrible driver’s license with my entire life story for the situation at hand. McLovin-License

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Posted in Blog, Social Media

Don’t Get Carried Away by Google “Pigeon” Update

Nick Mahoney

It seems the minute you’ve gained enough knowledge to work the system, Google decides to throw you for another loop. July 24th marked a big day for SEO companies and local businesses, and just another day for Google. But, rather than just sitting there stagnant cursing Matt Cutts’ name, understand the rules have changed and learn how to adapt.

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Posted in Blog, Internet Marketing Updates, Marketing Strategy, SEO

What to look for in a “Trusted Agency”

Mike Richardson

In today’s world of hiring an agency many clients place emphasis on the value of an agency’s org chart, current client list, the staff that will manage their accounts, so on and so forth.
trust_image

In the past, prospective clients would be wined, dined and entertained by an agency to secure a contract. Most of the time that involved golf outings, tickets to sporting events, an occasional “free vacation” (yeah that even happened to me once) or other means to lock down that monthly retainer. This all happened while building what I call the “trust factor” with the executives and management team on both sides.

Well, times have changed a bit and less emphasis is given to the actual process of building trust with prospective clients. This, like all other things digital today, is partially due to the fact that no one seems to have the time to invest in building trust with the agency upfront.

When a prospect signs on with any agency, whether it’s here at Cardinal Web Solutions, or anywhere else, far too often the “Advisor” part comes as part of the ink on the contract. At that point it becomes a race to build trust along with managing all of the other moving parts.

The “Blanket Approach”

There is one giant mistake that is made today, which is rushing to the plan of, “hey we know this client kind of, let’s apply the same blanket rules to them as all others.” One thing is for sure, this sort of “planning” (or lack thereof) happens at alarming rates in today’s agency selections and vise-versa. This lack of investigation on both sides of the table is what can lead to that deadly article being written about how agency X just doesn’t get you or your business.

Cardinal Web Solutions takes a much different approach to our engagement with clients; we go above the basics of search engine marketing. Not only do we explain every part of our process down to the X, Y, and Z of how we’ll do it, but we practice what we preach down to the basics.

To be a true Trusted Agency there are foundational principles to live by. These values determine the methods we use, I like to call it the “Duhh” factor.

Surprisingly, it seems these core fundamentals are a dying art form, similar to hand-shake deals formalized at the 19th hole. The true test for most agencies are the first 90 days, regardless of the medium or channel of communications they specialize in.

So here’s what we do and how we do it, and keep in mind, yeah, this really is the “Duhh” factor. Even if you’re not considering Cardinal Web Solutions as your agency of record, you should at least take a little advice and do a bit of research on who you are considering for your agency of record.

Trust Building, it’s really pretty simple!

  1. Listen: Yep, it seems so simple. A great set of ears requires one to be involved, interactive and above all listening for what is being said, not what you want to hear, or expect.
  2. Structure: Plain and simple, work on giving clear and direct advice. This part of the process usually involves problem solving, and taking points of view, even if it means going against the grain, all of which request trust by both client and agency.
  3. Visualize: Not only should you define and defend the problem, but search for the best and most effective solution. This sometimes involves asking the obvious questions: what are you looking to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish this? How long do you believe this will take you to reach your goals? As an agency one should never be too quick to offer a solution just by reaching into the same bag of tricks from the past.
  4. Engage: This is where the trust factor really comes into play, it’s easy to sit in on a call and take notes, even to ask questions that seem intelligent to the prospect. However, where this simple to remember, difficult to repeat process falls to the ground, is after those first 90-days. Far too often agency’s become complacent and tend to overlook the value of continuing to build trust.
  5. Commit: This can seem like a one-sided cause and event, agency takes all responsibility and accountability for this to work, and that’s – that. Nothing could be further from the truth. At this stage it would appear that all trust has been built, given that most clients will allow an agency to guide them to the end result, with very little effort from the client.

With this type of process, the agency most likely ends up with a satisfactory result and typically the client feels they were not involved. Let’s add a bit of accountability to this process shall we? A better solution might look like this, coming from the agency, “this will take both of US X amount of effort and time to achieve this together”, as a form of both commitment and engagement at the client level.

Seems pretty simple, right? Well on paper everything looks easy when it’s spelled out for you. I don’t proclaim that us Cardinals do it all perfectly, and word to the wise, if another agency is going to make that bold of a statement, you should run quickly from that very first conversation or please let me know when you have found this “perfection” because I’d enjoy meeting that anomaly.

Our defining moment of how we approach it is to separate ourselves from the crowded space of “I offer Digital Services” by following these 5 little but most important steps, not just on the Golf Course, but even after our first of many what will surely be, Partnership Anniversaries.

*Material Reference:

The Trusted Advisor, by David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford.

www.gettingpredictable.com.

www.angelicscalliwags.com.

Posted in Blog

Is Social Selling the Next Big Thing?

Sometimes it seems as though there’s at least one hot new buzz word every month.  While a few have enough relevance to create some sticking power – “man cave,” “inbound marketing” and “internet of things” readily pop into mind – more often than not, I find that these new terms are more bark than bite.

Lately, there’s been quite a bit of barking about “social selling.” Do a quick search on Google and you will find many people talking about “social selling” as a new technique using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with prospects and sell. In all the reading it would seem social selling is a completely new phenomenon created in the last ten years.

My friends over at HootSuite (Full disclosure: I’m a HootSuite Certified Professional) created the definitive guide to social selling. (We know it’s definitive because they conveniently titled it “A Definitive Guide to Social Selling.”) Hootsuite did a great job of downplaying social selling as a completely new strategy, instead emphasizing that, along with inbound marketing, sales 2.0, content marketing, growth hacking, etc.,  the technique is really just an old-fashioned sales process, that technology has rendered dramatically more efficient and scalable.

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Posted in Biz Development, Social Media

The 3 P’s of an Effective Infographic

Caroline Chester

SEO Infographics, content marketingDue to the growing popularity of image based social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, visual content such as infographics can be a valuable addition to your content marketing strategy.  Publishers who use infographics average 12% more growth in traffic than those who do not.

The Power of Visual Content

According to Marketo, the biggest challenge content marketers face is producing engaging content.  Infographics are used to convey complicated, data-rich content in a way that is easier for consumers to digest.   The “snackability” of this content drastically increases its engagement potential.  A 2011 study by Skyword revealed a 94% increase in total views when a piece of content contains an image or infographic.  Visual content such as an infographic is inherently more engaging than text due to its visual nature and the way the human brain processes information.

According to Hub Spot:

  • 40% of people respond better to visual information than plain text.
  • 90% of the information transmitted to the human brain is visual.
  • Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

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Posted in Content Strategy

Drive Engagement with Storytelling Through Social

Janetta Davis

Does your advertising tell a story to entice your potential consumers? Often times an ad will use the call to action (CTA) method of directly telling a consumer to “Click Here” or “Visit Our Site”. Is this method effective? Facebook and Adaptly conducted a study to figure out which advertising format pulls in higher engagement rates. Based on their research, storytelling is the true victor.

 What is Storytelling?

Storytelling is a form of marketing that brings the reader on a journey. It communicates the brand in a non-threatening way. It is emotional and personifies the brand. In storytelling, ads are sequenced to each individual in a marketing funnel.

Storytelling Funnel

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Posted in Social Media

Cardinal and C5 Georgia Partnership: Road to the Future

Dani

Can you imagine where we would be if we had this kind of confidence at their age?

- Alex, CEO of Cardinal Web Solutions

Sunday, July 13th taught Cardinals one lesson: watch out for the kids of C5!

C5 Youth Foundation

C5 Youth Foundation is an organization that is focused on building future leaders, and these teens certainly have the confidence, skills and now the resources to get there. The program recruits high-potential kids from challenging environments for the opportunity to grow their leadership skills and expand their vision for the future. Through a rigorous five-year program, youth learn to:

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Posted in Community

Conversion Secrets From The Mind of a Website Visitor

Darrell Davis

I detest yard work. I force myself to do it, but more for the sake of my neighbors—who are undoubtedly in regular competition for the yard-of-the-month award—than for personal satisfaction. So when I arrived home recently to find a flyer attached to my mailbox touting landscaping services, I had a light bulb moment. It was marketing at its finest: this company effectively targeted a qualified consumer at the precise time I was in need of services they offer.

I called the number, excited to finally outsource a lifelong dreaded task. I left a voicemail and waited. The afternoon went by, then a day, then two days with no returned call. With time running out before guests arrived for the weekend, I grabbed my lawn equipment and fumed my way through three hours of mowing, raking and trimming. I wondered why the lawn care company bothered to leave the flyer in the first place.

Conversions: It’s a Dirty Job, But Someone Has to Do It

The non-responsive landscaping company successfully targeted me, the consumer, and generated a legitimate interest in their services. Unfortunately, they did not leverage my interest into a sale. This scenario is not limited to traditional advertising; I also see it played out routinely in the digital marketing realm. Business owners all too often spend the lion’s share of time, money and effort attracting qualified traffic to their website, with little planning aimed at turning that traffic into paying clients. For some mind blowing statistics about lead response, check out Jerod’s blog post .

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Posted in SEO

The Secret to Lead Response Management

Jerod Rushin

Did you know 71 percent of leads generated are usually wasted?  Companies generally struggle with finding the best way to qualify and manage leads. Thanks to a recent study, we might have a solution.  Insidesales.com teamed up with the Harvard Business Review to compile 15,000 unique leads and 100,000 call attempts over three years from companies that respond to web-generated leads.  I, myself, took a look at the data in an attempt to determine how quickly and how often a sales rep should respond to leads and reduce the 71 percent of wasted leads.

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Posted in Marketing Strategy