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  • What is Reputation Management, and How Do I Get Started?

    What is Reputation Management, and How Do I Get Started?

    Did you ever a parent, or maybe an employer, warn you that once something goes out on the internet… it’s there forever?

    In a lot of ways, this actually true, and not just a parental scare tactic. The information that makes it out there about your business, both positive and negative, can have a lasting impact on your brand.

    Today, the open nature of the web has made it easier than ever for users to find all sorts of information about you and your business online,for better and for worse. And while this is great when it comes to passing along your brand’s quality content and spotlighting positive reviews, unfortunately, the web is also a great place for anonymous users and strangers to spread false or malicious information, or leave negative reviews that could have lingering ramifications for your business.

    That’s where reputation management experts come in!Let’s take a look at just what reputation management means in our digital age, and why our team’s expertise can do wonders for your brand:

  • What is Retention Marketing, and How Do I Use it?

    What is Retention Marketing, and How Do I Use it? (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    So you’ve gotten visitors to your site, perhaps thanks to your SEO or pay-per-click SEM campaigns.

    But are you keeping them coming back and buying what you have to offer again and again? Are you just churning through users, or building a loyal following of big spenders and glowing referrers?  

    While it’s always great to be bringing in fresh leads and acquiring new customers, retaining your existing customers is also a key pillar to increasing the value of your brand. This is what is known as retention marketing - the art and science behind increasing the probability of a customer purchasing from you again.

    The Benefits of Retention Marketing

    And retention marketing doesn’t just create abstract value, like engagement or brand recognition! It also translates to your bottom line, and in a huge way, at that.

    Indeed, by some metrics, it costs 500% more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, and yet a loyal customer is worth up to 10x as much as the value of their first purchase. 

  • What Keyword Research Looks Like in 2014

    Just last week we made mention of the ever-evolving past of Google's search engine algorithm, which has ultimately been structured to provide searchers with relevant, interesting, and high-quality answers to their questions.  While SEO is no longer entirely based around keyword usage, keywords nonetheless continue to hold a high importance for small businesses owners everywhere.

    Should you invest time and energy in keyword research? Yes.

    Is keyword the same research as it was 5 years ago? No.

    Luckily, there is a great process delineated by our friends at HubSpot that allows small business owners to saturate high-quality content with keywords, optimizing it for search engines.  We've broken it down into our own words here.

    1. Make a list of 5-10 important topics that pertain to your business.

    The first step involves discovering your "umbrella terms" - that is, overarching topics that your keywords will ultimately fall underneath.  If you're a blogger, you may think of these as your 5-10 categories that you usually write about.  Geek | Chicago might use topics such as -- business consulting, website development, Social Media, SEO, blogging, hardware, software, marketing -- just to name a few.

    2. Add key phrases (keywords) to each category.

    Now that you've established your blanket terms, you'll want to create lists of phrases for each individual topic that detail some of its finer points.  This means a word or combination of words that you feel are important to you, and are phrases that your target customer will search for.

    If we were to outline a few phrases that would fall under "blogging" for example, we might write down:

    • How to write a great blog
    • Blogging and search engine optimization
    • Frequency of blog writing
    • Marketing a blog on social media
    • Compiling a blog newsletter
    • Beating writers block for bloggers
    • Blogging leads

    Really, the more phrases you develop the better.

    Will you be plugging these phrases in your content to help boost SEO?  Not exactly.  This list of phrases serves to focus your content in a direction that will attract potential customers - a "thesis" statement, if you will.

    3. Make sure short- and long-tail keywords fall under each category.

  • What Star Wars Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing

    What we can learn from Star Wars about Digital Marketing

    Obviously, we here at Geek were plenty excited to see the latest entry in the Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens. More than one member of our team may have lined up to see it on opening day. (Hey, we don’t call ourselves geeks for nothing.)

    But thinking back on a lifetime full of Star Wars movies, games, books, and toys (we may or may not have a BB-8 rolling around the office right now) got us thinking about our other geeky love: digital marketing.

    And while we know that improving your organic search results or helping you craft your brand story isn’t quite as exciting as a galaxy far, far away, the Star Wars universe and our marketing methods have more in common than you might think.

    Here are a few takeaways from the Star Wars movies that will help your next digital marketing push. Don’t worry, we’ll steer clear of Force Awakens spoilers!

    Don’t Be an Empty Escape Pod

  • What Those New ISP Regulations Mean for You

    What Those New ISP Regulations Mean for You

    As you may have heard if you’ve been following the news at all recently, Congress recently voted on a measure that could significantly roll back consumers’ internet privacy in the future; that measure has also been signed by the president, making it the law of the land.

    So, what does this bill actually do? You may have heard something about ISPs and your browsing history, but what’s the whole story? How will internet privacy really be impacted, and what will this mean for consumers, internet providers, and marketers in the years ahead?

    Let’s dig into the many possible ramifications – positive and negative – of this legislation:

    The Bill

  • What Type of Chart Should Go With Your Content?

    What Type of Chart Should Go With Your Content?

    More data has been generated in the past two years alone than in the entire history of the human race up to this point. This flood of information has a name, “big data,” and, like it or not, it’s already influencing every aspect of your business – production, sales, and, most interesting to us, marketing.

    With all of this information flying around – and mountains more being generated every single day – it’s never been more important to truly understand how to present, read, and share data in an intuitive, effective way.

    Effective analysis – the sort that leads to valuable insights and actionable goals – depends not just on having accurate data, but on a clean, effective presentation of those numbers and trends. Our friends at Hubspot put it well:

  • What Will Content Marketing Look Like in 2018?

    Short of the fortune tellers who spend their days hovering their hands over crystal balls, it can be hard to tell exactly what a new year will have in store.

    But, when it comes to the future of content marketing – including social media, email, SEO, and video – we can look at the data, gauge the state of the industry, and make a few even-handed predictions. So, as we head into 2018, is the outlook bright, or cloudy?

    What will content marketing look like in 2018? With our thanks to Forbes for pointing us in the right direction, here are a few educated guesses…

    1.) Social Media Will Become More Important as a Publishing Platform

    There can be no denying that our major social media networks are in a bit of an odd place right now, with their pasts looking increasingly checkered and their futures less rosy than they were, even a year ago.

  • What Would a VR Content Marketing Strategy Look Like?

    “The world is no longer flat. The internet is fast-becoming a place you step inside. Just as you had to make your site responsive for mobile, so too will you have to make it responsive for VR.” - Sarah Hill, CEO and chief storyteller for StoryUP

    When Sarah Hill talks about VR, we should all listen. Her company, StoryUP, has been one of the early pioneers of virtual reality experiences for brands, and they’ve done some astonishing work in using the power of VR for Fortune 500 companies and grassroots charity organizations alike.

    VR has long been called the future of tech. It’s a fast-growing field, and it’s been one of the buzziest sectors of the tech marketplace for some time now – so much so that it’s even been targeted for satire by HBO’s Silicon Valley.

  • What You Need to Know About 'Marketing as a Service' (MaaS)

    MAAS

    People have a lot of dug-in preconceptions about marketing.

    For some, their vision of the field will always be stuck in the 1950s; say “marketing” to them, and they immediately conjure up images straight out of the Mad Men playbook - men and women in suits chomping down on cigars and pitching ads for Campbell’s Soup over three-martini lunches.

    For others, a modern marketing department or agency looks instead like a high tech computer lab straight out of CSI or a Tom Clancy movie – everyone in white coats, peering unblinkingly into computer screens as dense lines of code and analytics results flash by.

    While both of these fantasies get some things right (we definitely do all still wear killer suits at the Geek office), they’re both antiquated in their own way.

    It’s time for a more modern view of marketing, one that acknowledges the role it actually plays in the success of local businesses here in Chicago and around the country.

    That modern approach? Let’s call it “Marketing as a Service,” or MaaS.

  • What You Need to Succeed at Content Marketing (and What You Don't)

    What You Need to Succeed at Content Marketing (and What You Don't)You've heard about it before, we're sure - Content marketing is where it's at!  Creating valuable content that people are liking, tweeting, and sharing is one of the top ways to develop a positive reputation as a company.

    But how does one succeed at content marketing?  Here are 5 truths about what it actually takes to succeed in content marketing.

    1. Helpful content equals happy consumers.

    Drive your strategy by "being helpful" above all else.  As we've mentioned before, content that people find interesting and that they are able to use in some way to further their own lives is the number one way to get your customers to hit the "like" button.

    What defines helpful content?  Helpful content is relevant, interesting, and directly targeted to your audience of prospective customers or clients.  Writing a diatribe on your blog about how difficult it is to do your job may be a satisfying write, but really serves to help no one.  Instead focus on sharing insights in your field that will be relevant to your perspective clients.  This means everything from:

    • "How to" articles
    • PowerPoint presentations
    • Infographics
    • Product lists
    • Reviews

    2. Overly complex strategies get left on the shelf.

  • What Your Digital Marketing Can Take Away From Baseball Teams

    what your digital marketing can learn from baseball teams

    It’s the heart of baseball season here in Chicago, which means that our team is keeping up with the box scores, munching on sunflower seeds, and spending plenty of long, lazy days rooting for the Cubs over at Wrigley Field, just a few blocks away from our office.

    Of course, with baseball on the brain, we’ve also been spending plenty of time debating just how much America’s pastime compares to our field of digital marketing. The answer? Baseball and marketing have more in common than you might think!

  • What's the Best Way to Manage Your Social Media

    What's the Best Way to Manage Your Social Media

    Odds are, we don’t have to sell you on the importance of social media for your business in 2017. Rather than a novelty, social media has become an omnipresent part of our digital landscape.

    When you consider that 68% of U.S. adults are on Facebook, and that more than half of all adults online use more than one social media platform, it becomes clear: Social media is the water that we swim in when we go online today. It’s where we get our news, connect with friends, and even do our shopping (did you know that Pinterest actually drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic?).

    Your brand has to be on social media. Perhaps you already are. But that beggars a new question: How do you get the most out of your social media usage? More to the point, many business owners have asked us how they can incorporate social media marketing into their day-to-day without sacrificing their own productivity. Is there a way to get the most out of your social networks, without having to devote hours every single day to monitoring your analytics, responding to comments, or finding and creating fresh content to share?

  • Why Businesses Need to Generate Content

    Why Businesses Need to Generate Content

    While having an accessible website is now simply "the cost of doing business", companies interested in truly growing need to focus their energy on one specific and immediate project: content marketing.

    According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is on the rise for B2B companies, with 70% of marketers reporting an increase in content production over the past year. 

    Why is content marketing the way of the future for online business marketing?

    Search Engines Pick Up On Quality Content

    When users get online and start a Google search, they're usually trying to ask a question: 

    "Why does...?"
    "How do I...?"
    "What's the name of...?"
    "How can I fix...?"

  • Why Content Farms and Automated SEO Aren't Good Enough for Your Brand

    Why Content Farms and Automated SEO Aren't Good Enough for Your Brand 

    “It is recommended to take a regular amount of exercise before the initial stage of the weight loss process. The main goal of this exercise is to reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. It is also recommended that people with heart disease should consult a doctor before beginning any type of exercise program. Exercise is one of the most important things to do in the prevention of high blood pressure.”

    Notice anything wrong with that paragraph? For starters, it doesn’t really make sense – it’s a lot of words strung together that give the appearance of substance, without really saying much at all. The structure is all wrong; there’s no flow between ideas or concepts. Nothing is linked together. And the grammar, while not technically wrong, is garbage. It sounds robotic, stilted, artificial.

    There’s a good reason for that, though. This content sample was written by a machine. And if its creators get their way, soon all SEO marketing content will be outsourced to computers.

  • Why Content Marketing and Pay-Per-Click Can Work Together

    content marketing and PPC working together

    Sometimes, when it comes to digital marketing, businesses and brands adopt the mindset that there’s only one right option for reaching, engaging, and retaining customers.

    With this mentality in place, businesses tend to prioritize one digital marketing channel, at the expense of all others. They’ll put all of their emphasis on social media marketing, say, and forego having a responsive and well-designed landing page. They’ll create branded content that focuses on search engine optimization (SEO), but completely neglect to repackage and distribute this content via an email newsletter.

  • Why Content Marketing Is More Important Than Ever in 2021

    What do we mean when we talk about“content marketing?”

    And we don’t mean that as a Philosophy 201 question, or anything like that.

    No, we mean it literally: In practical terms, what is content marketing, and what does it do for small businesses like yours?

    Content Marketing: A Brief Rundown of a Vital Digital Marketing Strategy

    To the first part? We tend to define content marketing as a digital marketing strategy that lets you create and share multimedia content online, in order to reach audiences organically, and generate interest – and conversions – for your brand.

  • Why Do Some SEO Tactics Work Better than Others?

    Why Do Some SEO Tactics Work Better than Others?

    While they’ve been around in some form or another since the mid-1990s, search engines still have a somewhat mystical allure to many of us. They’re sleek and useful, but also vast and mysterious. How do they work? How do we put them to use?

    The art and science of making sure that your brand’s website ranks highly on search engines is known as search engine optimization,or SEO.

    Unfortunately, it seems like SEO these days can be just as byzantine as the algorithms it was designed to demystify. There are all sorts of SEO hints, tips, and tricks available to the curious business owner today. Some work, some don’t. We’re here to help you tell the difference.

    Don’t sink all of your time and money into an SEO tactic that doesn’t yield results! Instead, focus on what works. Here’s our definitive rundown on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of modern SEO:

    What Works: On-Page Keyword Optimization

  • Why Inbound and Traditional Marketing Can Work Together

    Digital marketing. Conventional advertising.

    For a long time, people believed that these two methods for brand outreach and lead generation were completely distinct from one another - and that businesses looking to maximize their marketing budgets had to prioritize one over the other.

    So which one? Well, that was always up to your brand. Certainly, there have always been cases to be made for both sides.

    For brick-and-mortar stores making local appeals, or brands whose target audience still consume print and TV regularly, traditional paid advertising can definitely still bring in enough ROI to justify the effort. On the flip side, digital marketing – using inbound methods such as SEO, social media, and email marketing – has long been considered a great way to have leads come to you, and encourage your current customers to stick around, often for less cost overall.

    There are merits to both options – so why do so many businesses fail to see the benefits of using these methods in tandem?

    So, here’s the scoop: In our experience, conventional advertising methods and digital inbound marketing don’t have to live completely separately.

    In fact, there’s plenty of argument to be made that brands can see an enormous benefit by putting both marketing methods to work at the same time!

  • Why Inbound Marketing is the New PR

    Inbound Marketing is the new PR

    Inbound marketing and PR have much more in common than many brands think – in fact, the argument could certainly be made that, today, they’re really one in the same!

    How do we know? Well, first, some definitions! SearchCRM defines inbound marketing as:

     “a strategy that focuses on attracting customers, or leads, via company-created Internet content, thereby having potential customers come to the company rather than marketers vying for their attention.”

    In other words, inbound is about making your brand available on search engines, social media, and email, so that consumers, who are already scouring the internet looking for solutions to their problems, are able to find and engage with your business.

  • Why Isn't My Website Showing Up on Google?

    Why Isn't My Website Showing Up on Google?

    You've invested time and funding in developing your website, and now you're looking to get it out there for all to see. There's just one little problem - it isn't showing up on a Google search.

    It can be incredibly frustrating to pull up a blank Google result when searching for your business. If you yourself can't find your own website, then how will prospective clients?

    Thankfully, there are a few good reasons you're experiencing trouble with Google searches, and some good ways to remedy these problems. Here's how to troubleshoot this problem.

    Your website hasn't been indexed by search engines yet.

    If your website is brand new, there could be a very simple reason your website isn't showing up on search engines: they have't indexed it yet. It can take a week or more for a search engine to find your website for the first time, especially if your website is new and doesn't have any inbound links.

    Once your website is "crawled" (aka uncovered by a search engine) it usually takes a week or two for it to actually get pushed out into the index. In order to optimize this stage, proceed to the next tip.

    Your website isn't well organized or optimized for search engine crawling.

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).