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  • Five Common SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

    Five Common SEO Pitfalls to Avoid

    Though it’s gone through its fair share of changes in recent years, SEO – the art of boosting organic traffic by improving search engine ranking – is here to stay.

    Though blackhat tactics like keyword stuffing are (thankfully) a relic of the past, the art behind SEO is still vital and remains a key part of any business’ successful content marketing strategy. But are you doing enough to maximize your SEO for Google’s most recent updates? Are you making sure every facet of your marketing campaign is engaged and running at full speed?

    Want to get the most out of your SEO? Then it’s time to rethink your strategy. Here are five common SEO mistakes to watch out for:

    1.) Not Producing Content

  • Five Easy Ideas for Adding Video to Your Social Marketing

    Five Easy Ideas for Adding Video to Your Social Marketing (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    Have you noticed just how ubiquitous video has become? Scroll through your Twitter or Facebook feeds and you’re likely to see videos start and stop every few seconds from every source imaginable – maybe they’re being Vined or live-broadcast by your friends, maybe they’re commercials for a brand you “like”, maybe they’re must-see clips of last night’s Daily Show antics.

    Social video is here to stay, and we’ve got the stats to prove it.

    In 2015, online video streaming counted for 50% of mobile traffic. 78% of people watch videos online every week, and 55% of people watch videos online every single day. That’s a massive pool of consumers hungry for content, and it’s a niche that’s proving very beneficial for marketers: 67% of businesses find video content at least “somewhat successful”, and 18% have found video marketing “very successful”. Videos have proven to decrease bounce rate, increase brand recognition, and even improve email opens.

    It’s not too late to fold video content into your brand’s social media and digital marketing strategy. Here are five video ideas to get you started…

    Take Your Viewers Behind the Scenes

  • Five Easy Ways to Diversify Your Content Marketing Right Now

    Five Easy Ways to Diversify Your Content Marketing Right Now

    Creating original content is the rigid, indispensable backbone to any successful digital marketing campaign. It’s the must-have element that funnels coal to power the social media furnace, that gives the tenuous elements of SEO something to hang from, that turns your email newsletters into clickable little Christmas presents glowing in an inbox.

    Look, we realize we just mixed a lot of metaphors. But that’s also kind of the point! While your brand should be generating and sharing compelling content, what specifically qualifies as “great content” has never been more free or open to interpretation. And that’s a very, very good thing.

    While blogging will always be number one in our book, it’s not the end-all or be-all anymore. As marketers and designers and engineers – hell, as poets and artists and daredevils and mavericksthere’s never been more opportunity to experiment with fun, engaging new ways of reaching your audience and guiding them through your conversion funnel.

  • Five Handy Resources for Every Email Marketer

    Five Handy Resources for Every Email Marketer (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Email marketing is the workhorse of any solid content marketing campaign – it is a consistent way to share your content, foster brand loyalty and retention, and drive plenty of hot leads to your site.

    But when you’re working on your email campaign, don’t be afraid to expand your focus, to look for new opportunities, tools, and avenues for creation. The landscape is positively bursting with tools that will help you streamline, test, or improve the reach of your email marketing – often at little to no cost!

    With that in mind, here are five online resources that every email marketer should take a look at:

    1.) Test Your Subject Lines with Touchstone

  • Five Places On Your Page to Optimize SEO

    5 Places On Your Page to Optimize SEO (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    SEO is an ever-changing game, but there are a few rules that will always be fundamental. While some of the supposedly smart tactics of the past – like keyword stuffing and shady backlinking – have thankfully disappeared like yesterday’s meme, there will always be beneficial “white hat” tactics you can apply to your SEO campaign, the better to increase your organic traffic and improve your brand’s online reputation.

    We’ve always argued that the best way to boost your SEO is to provide high quality content that audiences actually want to read. And, fortunately, one of the best tactics for packaging quality content also helps your site appeals to search algorithms - keywording.

    Keywords are the backbone of your successful on-page SEO strategy. They help you quickly and efficiently make your points, both to your readers and to the search engines that they’re using to start their research.

  • Gain More Leads With A Responsive Website

    Gain More Leads With A Responsive WebsiteWhen it comes to a company's website, the goal for most is the same: reinforce their brand and acquire leads. Leads are increasingly the product of inbound marketing, which effectively encourages customers to contact you of their own accord.

    The best platform for capitalizing on these leads? Why, your website of course!

    In the inbound marketing world, your website functions as a sort of "first date" for customers. While you'd love for them to automatically get down the the nitty gritty of your company and actually read all of those eloquent bios you have up there, your customer will first notice first the look and feel of your website. Is it visually satisfying? Can they easily find the information they're looking for? Does it work on their smartphone?

    Your prospective clients will most likely make the decision about whether or not they are interested in what your company has to offer on this "first date" interaction. Ideally, you want to turn this first date into a "second date" when this prospective client approaches you with interest - a lead.

    You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
        - 1980s era Head & Shoulders ad

    So how do you create this personalized, inviting experience that will turn curious bystanders into active leads? Here are some tips.

    The Importance of Cross-Platform Capabilities

    One of the number one ways to ensure you're customers are having a user-friendly experience on your website is, first and foremost, to create a solid cross-platform website. This means your website responds well not only to all computers (and web browsers), but additionally on all forms of smartphones and tablets.

    You're thinking that maybe if someone comes across your website on their mobile device and it doesn't appear to function appropriately, that they'll just wait until they have access to a computer to access your website... right?

    Actually no. According to senior research specialist at Pew Internet & American Life Project, Aaron Smith, "45% of those who use the internet on their phones prefer web browsing on their mobile devices."

  • Getting Started With Facebook Ads

    Getting Started With Facebook Ads

    Sure, you use Facebook for fun and for your business. But have you started using it for advertising?

    In addition to being a hugely popular social networking site, Facebook is a remarkable advertising platform that offers you the unique opportunity to closely target your ideal audience. And what’s more, Facebook ads have a proven history of success, with 70% of businesses reporting a 3X or better ROI on their campaigns.

    Ready to use Facebook ads? Here’s what you need to know to get started:

    How Do I Find My Audience?

  • Getting to the Bottom of Your Social Media Analytics

    Getting to the Bottom of Your Social Media Analytics (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Social media is one of the most effective ways of creating your brand’s narrative, driving referral traffic, and spreading the good word about your one-of-a-kind business. But how are you measuring your success?

    We hear all sorts of claims about the effectiveness of digital marketing, but it’s important to always keep track of your successes and failures. Email marketing, SEO, social media – all of these are vital (and interconnected) tools for your business, but each needs to be measured, tested, and analyzed in different ways.

    Fortunately, many social media platforms – most notably Facebook and Twitter – have their own built-in analytics tools. Using these free native tools are a great way to test and improve the quality of your social media marketing, helping you to answer questions like…

    What Types of Content Does My Audience Like?

  • Going It Alone on Inbound Marketing? Here's What You're Missing

    Going It Alone on Inbound Marketing? Here's What You're Missing (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    At this point, inbound marketing isn’t a buzzword or a flashy fad, but a way of life for companies looking to attract new business and retain existing customers online.

    Inbound marketing – a strategy that is driven by the creation of unique and high quality brand-specific content – is one of the single most effective forms of marketing ever devised, and it has done wonders for huge national brands and small local businesses alike.

    You may have heard some remarkable success stories and stats yourself by now - that inbound marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, yet generates more than three times as many leads; that brands using content marketing generate six times more conversions than brands without; that content marketing users experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-users.

  • Google Reaffirms the Importance of High Quality Content for SEO

    SEO is an art, a science, a skill, and a mindset. And, at times, it can also feel like a bit of a mystery - even to experts in the industry. 

    SEO 101

    Let’s back up a second. First thing’s first, it’s important to note that SEO is shorthand for “search engine optimization,”the process involved in getting website content to rank highly with search engines like Google or Bing. With an SEO strategy in place, a brand can make sure that its content is high on the list of a search engine results page, or SERP - a powerful way tosecure inbound traffic and warm leads, without having to spend and strategize on paid advertising. 

    SEO is one of the most effective and dependable forms of inbound marketing there is. Every day, millions of eager searchers turn to Google and other search engines to find everything from “new car” to “how to unclog toilet.” This is a massive audience that can be directed from a SERP straightinto your conversion funnel, whether they’re at the very beginning of their buyer’s journey, or almost ready to make a purchase. 

  • Google's Quiet February Updates: What Do They Mean for SEO?

    Google's Quiet February Updates: What Do They Mean for SEO?

    Google may have taken another big swipe at blackhat SEO tactics – and that means big things for content creators all across the net. Anecdotally, we have seen some promising improvements for our Geek Chicago marketing clients, while the competition has fallen down a peg. 

    While Google itself is playing coy on the matter, analytics trackers and industry forums have been going nuts since right around February 7.

    Thanks to the eagle eyes at Business 2 Community and Search Engine Roundtable – who first brought this story to our attention – we know that several platforms that monitor Google “turbulence” and search engine ranking page (SERP) fluctuations saw huge heat in the middle of the month. Industry insiders also freaked out, taking to the forums at WebmasterWorld and BlackHatWorld to marvel at their changing results.

  • Grow Your Company Blog With These 5 Pro Tips

    Image: http://pixabay.com/en/filler-writing-tool-leave-pen-3d-169581/

    Traffic. Leads. Hits. Comments. Shares. Reposts. Bookmarks.

    There are a barrage of words that we associate with internet success - words that we hope become attributed to our blogs. But how?

  • Grow Your Web Presence with Alternatives to Pay-Per-Click

    Grow Your Web Presence with Alternatives to Pay-Per-Click

    When you're looking to build your online traffic and customer base, you're probably going to run into two different concepts: Pay-Per-Click and SEO. These words have become ubiquitous with digital marketing, but they each offer a distinct purpose to your campaign and can result markedly different trajectories. 

    "What's up with Pay-Per-Click, anyway?"

    If you're familiar with Google, you're familiar with Pay-Per-Click. The website listings that come up first on Google - you know, the ones with the little yellow "ad" squares? - those are Pay-Per-Click promotions. With this kind of marketing, your site pops up whenever someone types in a certain keyword or phrase into a search engine. You only pay when users click those ads. So, it takes you to the top of the search results and only costs you when someone has an interest in your site. Sounds like a winning combo, right?

    Well, yes and no. 

    This gray area is why SEO is an important counterpart to Pay-Per-Click promotions.

  • Here's How B2B Can Benefit From Content Marketing

    Here's How to B2B Can Benefit From Content Marketing

    Some in the marketing industry tend to think of content marketing as a tactic solely useful for business-to-consumer (B2C) focused brands. In our experience, though, the tools of content marketing – including content generation, social media, and email marketing – are all vital for business-to-business (B2B) companies, as well.  

    The bottom line? Whether your brand bakes and ships cookies or offers corporate training seminars, you should be emphasizing content marketing to add value and extend your message in 2016 and beyond. 

    Content marketing isn’t just for kids; it’s not always about the flashiest new multimedia format or the buzziest new social platform. Instead, content marketing is all about spreading information and creating genuine value for your brand by introducing your product or service to serious, interested leads.

    The difference between content marketing for B2C and B2B? Audience.

  • Here's How to Write Email Subject Lines People Will Want to Click

    Here's How to Write Email Subject Lines People Will Want to Click

    Email marketing is an effective way to make sure your content reaches a broad range of interested leads – in fact, email remains one of the single most effective forms of content marketing around.

    But how can you ensure that your email marketing campaigns aren’t for nothing? Is there a way to make sure your newsletter actually gets opened? That readers actually engage with your great content? That your call to action really gets an opportunity to convert?

    The answer comes down to the art and science of subject lines. Like the headlines you craft for your blog content, your email subject lines have a unique chance to make a powerful first impression for your brand – and offer an incredible opportunity to turn curious recipients into dedicated customers.

    Want to improve your open rates and conversions? Here are a few inside secrets on how to write email subjects that people actually click:

    1.) Engage Your Audience’s Emotions

  • Here's What Goes Into a Highly Shareable List Post

    Here's What Goes Into a Highly Shareable List Post

    List-based blog posts – also called “listicles” (seriously) – are some of most important pieces of content your blog can produce.

    Listicles aren’t just easy and fun for your audience to read; they get shared more on social media and yield higher organic traffic through search while also triggering more engagement, lower bounce rates, and more conversions than any other type of blog post.

    But how can you tell if you’re making the most of your lists? The good people at Siege Media recently put together an extremely compelling infographic on what works for listicles.

    Here are a few of the most fascinating takeaways you need to know:

    Headlines

  • Here's Why Users Hate Your Website (And What You Can Do About It)

    Here'w Why Users Hate Your Website (And What You Can Do About It) (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image

    Look, it's 2016. Every brand has a website. It's not a value-adding proposition anymore, it's a requirement. 

    But what many businesses and individuals don't realize is that their website is actually turning off users, well before they ever get the chance to become paying customers. The fact is, a lot of websites - especially those made with free "build-it-yourself" templates online - kind of stink, and it's costing companies precious business. 

    Well, we're not going to stand for it anymore. We're here to expose the dirty little secrets of web design - and, hopefully, help make your site better along the way. Here are the reasons your website is doing more harm than good - and what you can do to turn it all around:

    1.) It’s Too Slow to Load

  • Hey Copywriters, Here's the Scientific Trick to Boosting Productivity

    Hey Copywriters, Here's the Scientific Trick to Boosting Productivity (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Every copywriter has their own little secrets to success – maybe they need to have just eaten a spoonful of peanut butter or have their laptop at a perfect distance. Maybe they need to write first thing in the morning or they can’t even think about starting a blog post or sending a perfect Tweet until the dead of night.

    But did you know there’s a scientific way to help boost a writer’s productivity? It’s true, and we learned the secret through this great HubSpot blog post. So, what did we take away? 

    Marketers, here are a few ideas on how to find the ideal time to produce your content:

    Get to Know Your Ultradian Rhythms

  • How Are We Using All of Our Screens?

    How Are We Using All of Our Screens?

    There are more choices than ever when it comes to digital media consumption. Whereas just a few years ago audiences were bound to desktops and laptops, today there is a glut of options, ranging from smartphones to tablets to “smart” TVs.

    Have you ever wondered just how users are putting all of these devices to use? Us too! Fortunately, the mavericks at Gryffin Media and TollFreeForwarding recently got to the bottom of it, exploring screen usage in an amazing infographic, dubbed “The Multiscreen World.”

    So what are some key things to take away from their findings? Here are some of the most interesting trends and habits from the infographic:

    Smartphones Are Our Default Devices

  • How Blogging Drives Customers to Your Website

    How Blogging Drives Customers to Your Website (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)
    Do you want to truly drive traffic to your website?
    Read on...

    You can't read an article, a post, or a tweet from a digital marketing firm or an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) outfit without reading a mention of "blogging". Sure, it's a buzzword.

    We made it up about nine or ten years ago. It's a concatenation of "web logging". In its original form, blogging essentially functioned as an online journal; today, it refers to a variety of multimedia content curated and kept in the same place. 

    Whether you're creating an up-to-date journal for your company, keeping your content fresh with regularly posted information about your offerings, or actively writing creative posts in the form of listicles, quizzes, or infographics, it all effectively works the same way. And it has been recognized as one of the top ways to bring in customers for businesses of all sizes. Why, you ask?

    It comes down to the fundamentals of SEO:

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).