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  • Ho, ho, ho!

    It’s that time of year again. The air has turned cold, sleigh bells are jingling, presents are being put into stockings with care… We could go on, but you probably get it!

    It’s the holiday season, which means that the man in the big red coat will soon be flying around the world with his trusty reindeer, delivering presents (and a few lumps of coal) to kids everywhere.

    And while some of our adult readers may have stopped believing in Santa Claus, there’s still something about his spirit that’s downright infectious – particularly for digital marketers! Don’t believe us? Well, it’s true!

  • SEO. You know it stands for “search engine optimization.” You know it’s about securing the top spot on Google search results. You know that lots of businesses of all sizes have used it to generate traffic, secure leads, and make sales.

    That’s a lot to know – but it’s not the whole story.

    Recognizing this, lots of business owners search out information on SEO, whether online or in conversations with digital marketing professionals. This is an important first step if you’re deciding whether SEO is right for your brand, and we applaud anyone who’s doing it!

    But here’s the thing: Sitting down with an SEO pro is a little like visiting a doctor. It’s vital that you’re honest and realistic about everything. And, above all, your future success may come down to knowing the right questions to ask.

    Wonder no more! Here’s some insight into three major SEO questions you may be too nervous to ask:

    “Is the Field of SEO Changing?”

  • 3 Signs You're Ready for Digital Marketing (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    James Soto is one of the leading voices in the industrial marketing sector, so when he offers a few pearls of wisdom online, it never hurts to listen.

    Soto recently penned a fascinating post for Hubspot, all about helping marketers identify when a brand is or isn’t ready to invest in marketing. His advice is interesting, and, in our experience, spot on.

    But we pride ourselves on our connectedness here at Geek; we believe that marketing is a multi-step process that requires both the close collaboration of the brand and the full commitment of our marketing team. Like Soto, we recognize that the decision to go with a marketing firm isn’t a one way street. It’s a big decision that requires a lot of trust, and ultimately, it has to come from the brand itself, based on any number of factors.

  • In today’s media landscape, content is king. It’s vital for everything from maximizing search engine optimization to getting free shares on Facebook and Twitter.

    How can you make sure your content is as effective and accessible as possible? A lot of your blog’s success comes directly from the language and voice that you use.

    Here are a few ideas that will help you speak to your readers, rather than above them:

    1. Use Language Your Audience Knows

  • 5 Exciting Changes Coming to Content Marketing

    You might be familiar with this famous misquote from Charles Holland Duel, the commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office from 1898 and 1901: 

    Everything that can be invented has been invented. 

    Of course, as you sit (or stand) and read this from your smartphone and tablet, maybe from the backseat of an Uber ride or in the cabin of an airplane, you know that this concept is laughably untrue. 

    And, like the rest of the world, content marketing is in a constant state of revision and reinvention. The marketplace's continued transition into online platforms hands out opportunities for marketers to log in and creatively meet digital demands. 

    Once you get to know digital marketing, you can begin to anticipate and prepare for its changes. Here are five huge changes to content marketing that will affect the way you engage with leads: 

    1. Seeing is Believing - Visual Content

  • 5 Surefire Ways to Increase Your Referral Traffic

    In terms of inbound marketing for your site, we tend to talk about traffic in two major ways: either as organic traffic, or referral traffic.

    Broadly speaking, organic traffic is best categorized as the clicks that come from users who find your site directly from a Google or Bing search. Referral traffic, then, refers to the visitors who come to your page through any site other than a major search engine.

    For your site to truly generate value and help your brand achieve its strategic goals, it’s important to have campaigns in place to drive in both organic and referral traffic. Unfortunately, we see many too many people who tend to focus on the former at the expense of the latter, not realizing that SEO and referrals are deeply interconnected.

    Referral traffic is, indeed, a key part of “off-page SEO:” The more trustworthy sites that link to your pages or content, the more the search engines value your content. The more that Google and its ilk trust and recognize your content, the higher they prioritize it on search engine ranking pages (SERPs). Consistent, steady referral traffic, then, will also net you more organic traffic down the line.

  • 6 Inspiring New Ways to Create and Share Data

    Thinking visually is key to the art of content creation. Just consider the facts! Most humans only remember about 20% of what they read, but 90% of what they see. People on Facebook and Twitter much prefer posts with visual content: engagement on tweets with images is well over 100% higher than on tweets without, while Facebook posts with images see twice the engagement as posts without.

    And this knowledge hasn’t been lost on marketers; more and more digital marketers have been shifting their attention to image, video, and infographic creation. Indeed, according to stats from the Content Marketing Institute, 55% of content creators planned to prioritize creating visual content in 2016, and a full 73% of content creators are aiming to create “more engaging content” in the months ahead.

    Don’t let your marketing efforts get left behind! Drive up engagement and increase your brand loyalty with these six creative ways to package and share your content:

    Infographics

  • 6 Ways to Get More Shares on Social Media Without Galling Readers

    Pop-ups, annoyingly-placed hyperlinks, endless requests in the middle of blog posts: These are ways to increase shares, but they all run the risk of backfiring, frustrating your reader, and sending them off to other sites. How can your blog increase shares without annoying your audience?

    Here are some ideas:

    1.) Make Sharing Easy

    Readers are much more likely to share your content if they’re able to do so quickly, without interrupting their experience on your site. Position social share buttons where they can be found easily – maybe under your headline or in a well-placed sidebar. Or you can enable a click-to-tweet plugin, which lets users highlight and share facts or quotes on Twitter with a single click.

    2.) Pick the Perfect Headline

  • 7 Dangerous Digital Marketing Myths It's Time to Rethink (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    For as long as brands have turned to the internet to reach and retain new audiences, there have been skeptics pushing back against digital marketing.

    From social media scoffers to web development foot-draggers, we’ve seen – and converted! – them all. Now it’s your turn. If you subscribe to one of these seven digital marketing myths, you’re losing valuable reach and business opportunities by the day.

    Let’s get debunking! It’s high time to stop saying that:

    1.) “Digital Marketing Doesn’t Have a High ROI!”

  • Are We Heading For an "All Video" Future? Not So Fast. (Source: Pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

    Scroll through your Facebook or Twitter feeds or click around on any news platform, and it becomes clear that video is having a major moment. And if some prominent industry insiders, like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and international vice president Nicola Mendelsohn, get their way, streaming video won’t just be a flash in the pan – it will be the defining feature of our digital future.

    As Mendelsohn said recently at Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” international summit, Facebook may well be “all video” within five years’ time. As she explained:

  • Boost Engagement With These New Visual Content Tools

    We’ve written before about the importance of visual content on social media. It’s one of the best ways to boost your readers’ engagement with your content, hopefully leading to higher rates of sharing and clickthrough.

    But though pictures and static visuals can be effective, we’re always looking for other types of visual content to add flair to our social marketing campaigns.

    With some help from Social Media Examiner, here are four visual tools that will help increase your engagement on social media:

    1.) Create Quizzes With Apester

  • A digital nomad ponders marketing from a beautiful viewIf you’re reading this from a coffee shop - while you also have spreadsheets, sales reports, or your personal portfolio open in other tabs at the same time - you might just be a digital nomad.

    Today, technology has made it easier than ever to get work done without having to tether yourself to a traditional office. Digital suites, Skype, task managers, messaging apps like Slack - all of these innovations have made it possible for people, and perhaps even entire businesses, to work without having to ground themselves in place.

    For some people, this means getting to work from the comfort of home. For others, it means making stops at a shared office space, or the classic coffee shop. And for still more, embracing the life of a digital nomad means truly hitting the road, working and traveling all at the same time.

    Our friends over at Hubspot have a great article spotlighting some digital nomads turning work into a vacation,available here. One big takeaway from that read, for us Geeks, was this: Embracing the traveling lifestyle and combining it with work can be an amazing opportunity, one that leads to increased productivity and more “moonshot” thinking. But it can also mean having to make sacrifices - when it comes to time and when it comes to budget.

    But here’s one sacrifice you shouldn’t have to make:digital marketing.

  • Digital Marketing for Financial Professionals (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    With 69 million Americans banking online, and more than half of all Americans paying at least one bill online per month, there can be no question that the financial industry now lives and breathes on the internet. Whether you’re a planner, strategist, advisor, service provider, or any other financial pro, it’s time to make sure that you’re ready to thrive in the digital ecosystem.

    The first step? Bring your digital marketing campaign – including web development, social media, retention marketing, and content creation strategies – up to snuff. 

    Before we move on, let's first dispense with some reservations and myths about digital marketing that some of our financial advisor friends and colleagues have pointed out to us. Above all, it's important to bear in mind that FINRA and other regulatory agencies prevent financial advisors from marketing their accomplishments. From copyright to CAN-SPAM, we know the importance of keeping digital marketing on the right side of the law! But also know that while you may be unable to discuss, for example, specific returns, or guarantee a client's successes - check out FINRA for the exhaustive regulations - there are still plenty of things professionals can and should share, like the benefits of planning at all, or the importance of understanding all of the options available in the marketplace. 

    Ready to capture fresh leads and position yourself as a thought leader in your field? Here are the five keys to digital marketing success for pros in the finance industry:

    Meet Your Audience Where They Live and Work

  • Digital Marketing for Healthcare Professionals (Source: Pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Healthcare is complicated, and marketing it seems like it would be even tougher. We’re talking about a multifaceted industry, one that includes actors ranging from hospitals and private practices to insurance providers, from pharmaceutical companies to medical device manufacturers, all bound by plenty of complicated regulations: HIPAA compliance, FDA restrictions on marketing, and the ongoing effects of the Affordable Care Act.

    With all of these variables and parties taken into consideration, it’s no wonder that “the healthcare industry as a whole tends to lag behind other industries when it comes to marketing by about two years,” according to HubSpot.

    So, whether you’re a healthcare provider reaching out directly to “payers and patients” or a medical company trying to reach physicians, shareholders, or advocacy groups, digital marketing is the key to a successful, healthy future.

    Here are five key elements of digital marketing to keep in mind for your healthcare brand:

    1.) Build a Functional, Responsive Website

  • Digital Marketing For Law Firms

    There are more than 91,000 lawyers registered in the state of Illinois. And, according to LexisNexis, 76% of people looking for lawyers last year used the web to do so. When you put the two together, it's easy to see why law firms need a digital marketing strategy. Here's what to keep in mind when developing a site and blogging for your practice

    Write With Your Audience's Perspective In Mind

    Most law firms rightfully want to boast about their stacks and stacks of credentials and experience. While most attorneys have certainly earned some bragging rights, the focus of your practice’s digital marketing strategy should be showing support to your potential clients. Further, the ethics rules and guidelines governing an attorney's advertising, solicitation, and marketing limit what the law firm can or should say - and it varies by state.

    When someone searches for a lawyer, they’re essentially looking for help in solving a problem. Recognize that. Use your credentials as a way of showing how you’ll be the biggest source of help. In this case, being the smartest person in the digital room means being the most helpful, by giving out high quality content marketing materials - for free. Be mindful, of course, that your content could be interpreted as dispensing legal advice. With that in mind, write and edit cautiously, and/or be sure to always add the appropriate disclaimers. 

  • Digital Marketing for Nonprofits (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    Nonprofits and charity organizations have led the charge on so many amazing causes and campaigns over the years. We have the tireless work of nonprofit crusaders to thank for so many things, from cleaner water and air to safer streets.

    But how will these important organizations continue to do their essential work in a marketplace increasingly defined by shorter attention spans and tighter budgets? The answer is digital marketing.

    Here are five ways that nonprofits can put the power of the internet to work for their marketing, helping to drive in donations and increase outreach without breaking the bank:

    1.) Take Advantage of Unique SEM Opportunities…

  • Digital Marketing for Politicians (Source: Commons Wikimedia)

    Whether you’re a local alderman or the President of the United States, every politician needs to have a solid digital marketing strategy. As more and more Americans – including your constituents – spend more and more of their time online, it’s important to keep up.

    For many voters and constituents, your online face is the first one they’ll see; it’s important to give your community an online presentation that demonstrates just how knowledgeable, engaged, and experienced you truly are.

    "Now, more than ever, every elected official and candidate needs a professional digital presence to stay connected to voters." - Kelly Dietrich, GetElected.com 
    GetElected.com

    Your updates, your achievements, your photo opps: In 2016, all of these need to live online and be easily accessible to the curious citizens in your community. Here’s what politicians need to know about digital marketing:

    Be Engaging, Get Conversions

  • In the fields of real estate, architecture, and interior design, appearances and aesthetics play a big part in the final product. Whether it's an entire building or just one room, you only get one chance to make a lasting first impression.

    The same goes for digital marketing!

    Putting a digital marketing strategy in place is one way to enhance and share the appearance of yourself or your firm in the minds of your next clients.

    By producing content that speaks to specific audiences, bringing in visual media that represents the unique view of your firm, and building an engaging website, real estate agents, architects, and interior designers can use digital marketing to secure leads and demonstrate their professional finesse.

    Ready to build your brand’s digital home – and reach your next batch of paying clients? Here’s what home professionals need to know:

    1.) Handcraft a Dynamic Website

  • Do You Have a Trustworthy Website? (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

    What makes Facebook less “trustworthy” than LinkedIn in the eyes of small business owners? What makes Squarespace top Weebly or Wix?

    Asking why consumers prefer one thing over another can sometimes feel like asking why someone prefers red to blue, or finds clowns scarier than spiders. It’s just a “feeling,” a “vibe,” or an “impression,” they’ll say. It just seems more trustworthy, and that can’t be quantified!

    And while the whims of an audience might be impossible to ever fully understand, we know that there are all sorts of web design and content marketing best practices your brand can put into place to make a positive first impression on your visitors. And establishing trust is hugely important to establishing a relationship and turning searchers into customers – you might have the best Call-to-Action on the web, but nobody’s going to click it if they find your site untrustworthy.

    Want to increase your leads and conversions by making your site more trustworthy? Here are four website ideas sure to boost your brand in the eyes of your audience:

    1.) Build Confidence With “Social Proof”

  • Rumors of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

    Maybe you’ve been put off by the declining cultural relevance of Outlook or Yahoo! Mail. Maybe you’ve read reports that social messaging is going to supplant email marketing in the coming years. Maybe you’ve just been put off by the fact that email is the oldest toy in the chest, while there are shiny new doodads to play with.

    We get it! But the fact is, email is a workhorse – and a truly great digital newsletter can work wonders for your brand in a way that no other form of marketing communication can.

    Don’t believe us? Let’s break down the numbers.

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).