Our Blog – Page 3 of 6 – Arkside

4
Oct

Promises to Rank on Page 1 of Google

How to rank on the page 1 of Google is one of the most coveted and misunderstood business goals of the 21st century. The holy first page. 93% of the eyeballs never go to page 2. Business managers and owners understand its value. This has opened a huge market for disreputable companies to make false promises we see every day. They usually arrive via email and look something like this:

“We can put you on the first page of Google!”
“Our program will have you ranked on page 1!”
“This patented system guarantees you will be #1 on Google!”
“You will rank #1 on Google within 30 days!”

As a company that offers and specializes in digital marketing, we fully understand the importance of appearing on page 1 of Google. It can boost website traffic, enhance reputation, and improve sales. But it can be done in two very different ways: right or wrong. The right way is worth an investment. The wrong way should be avoided at all costs. This false “Page 1 Promise” can cost you dearly.

Continue reading and you will learn why any company (with one exception) is lying when they make this promise.

How Google Calculates Rank

Google has confirmed that there are approximately 200 ranking factors in the calculation of a page’s rank. This is a major reason reaching page 1 of Google isn’t easy. Once they are evaluated and broken down, there are perhaps 10,000 variations that are included in the Google ranking algorithm. Thankfully, Google has been kind enough earlier in 2016 to confirm it’s top three ranking factors:

1 & 2. Inbound links and content
3. RankBrain

Links and content are listed together because Google has never confirmed which is more important. Those two elements are vital but bad links or content can also result in penalties. We’ll cover those later in this post. They are directly related to the false promises of Google rankings.

RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence program which evaluates searches and the results they generate. In 2013, Google stated that approximately 15% of the 3.3 billion searches it handles every day are something it has never seen before. RankBrain evaluates those searches and the results produced. Always keep in mind that Google’s top priority is to serve the most relevant results possible. RankBrain helps Google efficiently learn about new searches and better understand what the user is searching for.

What is the Google Algorithm?

The recipe for Coca-Cola.
The formula for WD-40.
The Google algorithm. (It is called “Hummingbird“.)
The calculation of a FICO score.

These are all highly coveted targets of corporate espionage. They are secrets. Only a select group of people in the world know any one of them. That secrecy is the primary reason any company (with one exception) claiming to know the Google algorithm is lying. That one exception is Google. Much like FICO is the only company that knows the full and accurate way a credit score is calculated, Google is the only company that knows every ranking factor and their importance. It is rumored that less than 10 people at Google actually have this information. The rest of us are making educated guesses – some more educated than others.

Millions of dollars are spent every year by companies around the world trying to determine how to rank a webpage. The entire search engine optimization (SEO) industry is devoted almost entirely to this pursuit. For any company to claim they can guarantee first page ranking, they would need to know the algorithm.

They don’t.

An important element of the Google ranking system is called PageRank. It is an algorithm within the algorithm that ranks webpages within the search results. Its primary factor are inbound links to a site. As mentioned above, links are one of the top two ranking factors so the PageRank algorithm is vital to a site’s appearance on page one of Google. PageRank is also a primary means of dishing out penalties from Google.

Google Penalties

BMW logoBeyond the secrecy surrounding their algorithm, Google is very serious when it comes to people who try to “game the system”. Remember Google’s top priority? They don’t take kindly to people who intentionally manipulate the organic search results to circumvent search results. Such efforts have a material impact on Google’s quality. They publish Webmaster Guidelines which, when violated, can result in serious damage to a webpage’s ranking.

Google’s most notable penalty is a loss of PageRank. When Google discovers “black hat” SEO techniques such as artificial blog networks or paid links, it usually responds with a corresponding loss of PageRank. This has happened to companies such as BMW and even Google’s own Chrome browser website. The loss of PageRank -which, in some cases, goes to zero- can be coupled with the complete removal from search results of the offending blog network or site with paid links.

Companies that suffer Google penalties have reported loss of website traffic, loss of revenue, and a long climb back to page 1 of Google. Companies like BeatTheQuote.com, JCPenney, and Rap Genius (lost 700,000 visitors a day!) have all had to endure Google penalties.

SEO Best Practices

Obviously, you should not be buying links, using black hat blog networks, or keyword stuffing your webpages.

Focus on creating content that is valuable to your audience(s). Educate and entertain to earn visits and time. Doing so requires a deep understanding of your market.  The best SEO is organic value in the content you create. Blogs are an excellent means of regularly updating your website while providing educational or entertaining information. Pages (along with your blog posts) should be updated when needed, consist mostly of text, and include images as visual support or illustration for the material presented.

Google has a guide: ask yourself “would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” While this shouldn’t be taken literally, it should be considered whenever an SEO strategy is proposed.

Next Step to Reach Page 1 of Google

If you would like to have your current website analyzed and SEO strategy created or evaluated, contact an Arkside specialist today. Our team can provide you with objective insight, identify unrealized opportunities, and present effective strategies that maximize your search engine presence.

12
Jul

Why Fox Should Not Have Apologized for X-Men Billboard

Twentieth Century Fox apologized last month for an “X-Men: Apocalypse billboard because it shows Jennifer Lawrence’s character, Mystique, being choked by Apocalypse (a male character). The outrage over the X-Men billboard began when actress Rose McGowan posted her disappointment on social media after seeing the billboard in Los Angeles. After the public flogging, Fox issued this statement:

In our enthusiasm to show the villainy of the character Apocalypse we didn’t immediately recognize the upsetting connotation of this image in print form. Once we realized how insensitive it was, we quickly took steps to remove those materials. We apologize for our actions and would never condone violence against women.

The offended people and 20th Century Fox are both missing the point. When analyzed from a marketing perspective, both groups are making a mistake.

Is the X-Men Billboard Offensive?

Of course. Everything is offensive to someone. The legendary “Got Milk?” ad about the assassination of Alexander Hamilton may have offended people. Budweiser’s Clydesdale ads offend people against the use of animals in advertising. Does that mean they were bad or mean-spirited? No. Marketing is a combination of art and science. It should be understood that “you can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” (John Lydgate, adapted by President Abraham Lincoln). The important issue is whether or not the offense or the size of the offended party merits attention in your marketing.

In this case, the size of the offended group and their voice were extremely small until Rose McGowan used social media. After that, the size of the offended group remained small but they had a larger megaphone to broadcast their grievance. They became a very vocal minority. It can be said with some certainly that most people understood that the latest installment in the X-Men movie franchise had violence in it. Why was this violence so offensive?

Offensive in Advertising But Not on Screen

It is worth noting that the image depicted on the billboard is taken from the movie itself. It is an actual scene in which Apocalypse battles Mystique. But only the advertising was vilified. Why is the on-screen “violence against women” not decried yet the advertising depicting the violence is maligned? According to Ms. McGowan and followers of her cause, they didn’t feel it was right to have the image “forced” upon them (especially their children).

Some facts need to be added for the sake of marketing analysis and public perception:

  1. Both of these characters are fictional.
  2. Mystique (the female character) is the hero.
  3. Mystique (the female character) is the leader of the protagonists.
  4. Stan Lee, like many comic storytellers, created their characters for the empowerment of the oppressed such as women, homosexuals, and racial minorities.

It seems counterproductive to criticize a billboard for violence against women when that movie has a strong, female lead character who defeats all the men that stand against her.

Furthermore, the same level of outrage was lacking from Ms. McGowan and her fans when Mystique was killing military personnel in previous films or when she was beating up men at all. A double-standard in objecting to violence seems inappropriate.

X-Men Billboard Apology Mistake

Fox’s mistake came not in the billboard, but in their apology for the X-Men billboard and removing it from the campaign. As marketers, we fully appreciate the pressure on major corporations to walk many fine lines to please customers. In this case, we would not have advised Fox to apologize or remove the billboards. It is our opinion that they should have stood behind their campaign, the strong female lead character, and the film’s PG-13 rating which deems it appropriate for most of the world’s population to watch.

For parents, the billboard is an opportunity to have a positive discussion with their kids. They can explain Mystique, her strength, her redemption, he leadership, and her triumph over evil. Tell them Apocalypse is an evil character who thinks it is okay to use power over people instead of helping them.

The X-Men, like the Fantastic Four, and many other comic book characters are about good defeating evil, equality among all, and justice reigning supreme.

Fox could have told that story instead of apologizing for it.

26
Apr

Twitter Case Study: How to Reach Customers

Wondering how to engage with your target audience and tap into a larger audience of potential customers? TV is a great way to do it. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t this about Twitter?” The following Twitter case study will show you how Arkside Marketing can use Twitter to harness an engaged TV show audience and make it work for you!

22.1% of adults text friends/family about content while watching it.

By now, you have probably heard of “live tweeting”. Fans from around the world can connect in real-time over their favorite TV series or live event. For advertisers, it is a great way to connect with an audience of loyal, interested fans. Go on Twitter during a Monday night showing of The Bachelor and you’ll see hundreds of thousands people tweeting their dramatic reactions and raw emotions to what is happening on screen. Shows like the Biggest Loser, Scandal, and The Walking Dead have huge audiences that follow along on Twitter.  These are called “multi-screeners”. They utilize two or more screens simultaneously; Twitter and television, in this case. Some shows take matters into their own hands and have cast members live-tweet during the show to enhance the conversation. You can participate and join the conversation as an expert! When done professionally, your involvement can expose you and your business to a new, captivated audience of potential customers.

12.3% of adults Tweet about a show’s content while watching it.

Our goal with this Twitter case study is to show we approach Twitter live-tweets and the benefit it brings our clients.

THE CLIENT

A medically-supervised weight loss program in Riverside, CA.  Their program uses a combination of high quality meal replacements, appetite suppressants, exercise guidance, and dietary management.

THE SITUATION

Part of our strategy for the client was to increase their brand awareness and explore opportunities with new markets. Shortly after the strategy was approved, we learned that the TV show, My Diet Is Better Than Yours, would be airing their season finale. This was a high profile opportunity to introduce the doctor (proprietor of the business) to his unreached audience. The client was briefed on the logistics and agreed.

THE SHOW

My Diet Is Better Than Yours is a television show on ABC that pits weight loss experts and their diets against each other to see who really has the best diet technique for their “patient”. The diets combine diet and exercise to see which diet can yield the highest percentage of body fat lost over the course of 14weeks.

LOGISTICS

The client would watch the show live and text his thoughts to a member of our digital team. These texts would then properly condensed and hashtagged with appropriate account tagging to be tweeted. Our team member would then monitor the account for engagement: Likes, Re-tweets, and inclusion in conversation. They would then reply as appropriate from the client account.

LIVE TWEETING

We live-tweeted the finale of My Diet Is Better Than Yours, which lasted 2 hours. The client was prepared by our team with what type of reactions would work best and how our team would convert his reactions into tweets. Our team member made sure that every tweet contained the hashtag for the show, and made sure to tag appropriate parties in each tweet.  Each tweet went out no more than 60 seconds from when the doctor’s reaction was received. If someone mentioned the client in a tweet, our team member would then engage in a conversation with that person on behalf of the clinic. If any questions came up that needed an expert opinion our team member would promptly text the doctor.

RESULTS

Over the course of the 2 hours we:

  • Sent 82 Tweets
  • Received
    • 66 Likes
    • 23 Re-tweets
    • 4 Replies
  • Generated
    • 12,376 impressions
    • 5 new followers
    • 7 ReTweets and 9 Likes from a Twitter Verified celebrity account
    • 11 Retweets from other stars of the show
    • 13 Likes from other starts of the show
    • Engagement rate of 1.76% (event)
    • Engagement rate of 1.08% (entire month)

This is the highest monthly engagement rate achieved on the client’s account as of this live tweeting event and nearly double the engagement rate of the previous month.

Summary: As you have seen in this Twitter case study, engaging with your target audience can be achieved when done professionally. It takes an understanding of Twitter best practices, experienced staff, and a strong relationship with a client. Most importantly, it can be enjoyable for everyone involved. Seek out the interests of your target market and align your efforts accordingly. Doing so creates a better relationship with your current audience and can help earn new, relevant relationships.


If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Twitter and how to integrate with your other marketing efforts, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.

19
Apr

Al Jazeera America: A Marketing Failure

“One on-air personality said management’s view was ‘if we build it, they will come.’ They didn’t.”

As we routinely tell our clients, the days of “if you build it, they will come” ended after Field of Dreams.

The notable and relatively new entrant to the American news mediascape, Al Jazeera America, is scheduled to shut down by April 30, 2016. While there are heaping reasons for this abrupt termination, the vast majority involve marketing failures. From a doomed name and laughable Al Gore connection to a poor understanding of the market and public management failures – all roads pointed to a disastrous conclusion.

The Beginnings of Al Jazeera America

Al Gore became a joke after surrendering the 2000 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush. His one-note-Johnny routine about climate change while owning a massive energy-swallowing home, sexual harassment of a masseuse, and separating from his wife, led to a steep decline of his stature in politics and environmentalism. He also was a partial owner of Current TV, a low-level cable television network in the United States. It was the sale of this network that not only allowed the foothold for Al Jazeera America, but helped to further erode Al Gore’s reputation. He was harshly criticized for selling an American media company to terrorists.

Strangely, no one cared about Current TV before it’s sale to Al Jazeera – with one notable moment of exception. Two of its journalists were arrested after crossing the North Korean border in 2009. Their investigative reporting skills did not include map reading. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (the former boss of their current boss) secured their release. Thus ended the newsworthiness of Current TV until it was sold. At it’s height, the network reached a paltry 31,000 viewers per day. Total. To Gore’s credit, he was able to sell the network with almost no audience to the Qatari government for $500,000,000. (That’s $16,129 per viewer!)

Within the first two months of Al Jazeera America, it shed nearly two-thirds of that audience and reached a pathetic 13,000 people per day. Total.

Even MSNBC was over 120,000 per day.

You Can’t Be “Al Jazeera” in America

For reasons that continue to elude employees, observers, and the American public, Al Jazeera’s management never seemed to fully understand the poison pill presented by their name. Given the public hesitation to anything Arab or Muslim after September 11th, it should have been easy to grasp the need for a more acceptable brand name. Presenting an Arab news network with an Arab name and a terrible reputation in the United States seemed puzzling. Unfairly, most Americans only associated Al Jazeera with their occasional broadcasts of propaganda from Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. But perception was reality and perception began on day one.

This brand crisis was only magnified by their Arabic logo. America is a melting pot and has learned to listen to foreign names all the time. There are Arab construction companies, racing teams, and many other Arab-named entities in the U.S. But to actually use a logo written in Arabic was a visual reminder that Al Jazeera America had nothing to do with America. It is difficult to convince anyone you’re American if everything about you is not.

Their brand was an American disaster visually and audibly.

Al Jazeera and Cable Distributors

The conundrum of bad branding was strangely mitigated by a limited audience. It is hard to make a terrible first impression if you aren’t allowed to make the first impression. Just days before Al Jazeera America was set to go on air, AT&T U-verse dropped the channel. This followed prior decisions by Comcast and Time Warner Cable not to air the station at all. Their possible audience size now dropped precipitously below 100 million homes.

Technology and regulation also posed a problem. The still-successful Al Jazeera English is the English language version of Al Jazeera. It is popular on a global scale, especially it’s internet stream. But Al Jazeera was trying to build a TV network, not a stream. So they prohibited streaming to the US. That narrow-minded decision again limited their exposure and opportunities to drive traffic to their fledgling American network. The CEO, Al Anstey, admitted as much with this line from the email announcing the station’s closure: “The decision is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in an increasingly digital world, and because of the current global financial challenges.”

News Coverage Quality

Al Jazeera never succeeded but it was not due to a poorly produced product. They won every major journalism and media award possible including the Emmy, Peabody, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University awards. The hired top talent away from other TV news networks and other journalism media. Although occasionally accused of having a “Middle East bias” in their coverage, they were routinely recognized for being objective and presenting a unique voice in American media.

But no one will give you a chance to be objective in their home if they think it comes from the mouth of a terrorist.

Al Jazeera Management Failures

Every single one of the problems listed above could be fixed by a stable and competent management team. Al Jazeera America never found that team. They were in a constant state of management “desperation” as they made frequent changes and suffered internal drama. Every department saw departures as Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar applied constant pressure for success. Few were ever managing long enough to make a difference.

In some instances, these personnel shifts and a substantial wrongful termination lawsuit, once again brought forth the idea of an anti-American bias with preference given to Middle Eastern employees. Certainly not the desired picture when trying to appeal to an American audience.

Bad Marketing Dooms Al Jazeera America

The media landscape in America is extremely competitive. Ask MSNBC. To find success, even with a unique voice, is a challenge. But when your marketing -from your name to your HR policies- build and support a notion that you are the opposite of what you claim, you will ultimately fail. Competitors will relish in your misery and make sure your customers know. Partners will feel as though they are part of a lopsided relationship. And customers will choose an alternative.

Bad logo
Bad name
Weak exposure
Internal drama
Lacking support

All of this dooms what was otherwise a well-made product.

22
Feb

10 Worst Reasons to Advertise

Over the years we have heard some strange reasons/excuses for advertising. The initiative is usually based in good intentions and then gets lost somewhere along the way of “where should we advertise”.

Below are the top 10 (or bottom 10) worst reasons to choose (or not choose) a particular advertising strategy:

10 worst reasons to advertise
10. “The competition did it and they’re doing great.” – Did they do great because of the ad you saw? Is there another campaign you’re not aware of? The devil is in the details and you don’t know enough about your competition’s operations to attribute perceived success to one particular campaign. And finally, maybe they’re not doing as well as you think. Could be a house of cards.

9. “It’s my favorite station.” – Don’t assume you represent your target market. It can be hard for owners to view their companies objectively. Your favorite radio or TV station, or favorite celebrity, may not resonate well with your audience.

8. “It’s on my way to work.” – Which is more important: you seeing it or your potential customers seeing it? Focus on their way to work before your own.

7. “Those colors are really popular right now.” – That doesn’t mean they work with your brand, or speak to your audience, or match your message. Choose function over form. Stay true to your own style so your customers are not confused.

6. “I’ve never clicked/called/responded to one of those before.” – You haven’t but others probably have. You may not be a skydiver, but other people jump out of planes all the time. We hear this often about Google ads. Literally millions of their ads get clicked every day and generate sales. That’s why they did more than $60 BILLION in advertising sales last year. Someone clicked.

5. “It’s funny.” – If you’re goal is to be a stand-up comedian, than this is a good reason. If your goal is to sell more of your products or services, this may be a terrible reason. If your brand isn’t funny, don’t try to make people laugh with your marketing. Humor can be a great element if it fits the overall goal.

4. “I get a free trip.” – True, but unemployment is a permanent vacation. That’s what you’ll get if you waste money on ineffective advertising. Trip or no trip, invest in marketing that will achieve a measurable goal.

3. “It worked when I did it years ago.” – Marketing changes. Daily. Most importantly – the lives of your customers are changing. They have more media options, are spending more frugally, and are more informed (and empowered) than ever. Newspapers are no longer focusing on print. Facebook has more targeting capability now than they did a month ago. Billboards don’t need to be printed. Don’t rely on old success as a barometer for the future.

2. “Everyone will see it.” – And then what? Being seen doesn’t sell more. If you’re the commercial everyone saw and hated or the commercial everyone saw and forgot, being seen didn’t help. Prioritize results above fame.

1.  “It’s cheaper.” – In most cases, you get what you pay for.

18
Feb

The Best Salesperson

Are you the best salesperson?

All of our career openings (jobs fill time – careers fill passions) are posted on our ad agency jobs page. So why are we writing a blog post about our current sales openings? Simple. One of our designers got it in her head to make an ad for them. Weird, right? An ad agency making creative advertising. Who would have thought?

So if you are good enough to answer “Yes” to the questions below, we want to talk to you. We’re looking for those people that care about customer service, want to solve marketing challenges, and enjoy a creative environment. Oh – the pay is good and benefits come with it. Learn more about the positions and contact us today.

Can you sell salt to a snail?

 

Can you sell ice to a polar bear?

 

Can you sell milk to a cow?

Client: Arkside Marketing, Inc.
Campaign: “The Best Salesperson”
Media: Web
Designer: Amanda Johnson

3
Nov

Sell the Car Experience Instead of the Car

People don’t love buying cars.
People love driving cars.

Going fast. Showing friends and family. Personalizing with accessories. Even the new car smell. You can buy it in sprays, little mirror trees, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. No one feels nostalgic for the “low” payment or the warranty. They love the experience that is uniquely part of owning a vehicle. So why are dealerships continuously and relentlessly focused on everything but ownership?

People Hate Buying A Car

“The dealership experience is as old as the car industry, roughly 100 years old. While cars have changed, the retail experience is much the same as it was 100 years ago.”
–Dr. Ian Robertson, Head of Sales & Distribution at BMW

This is what so many dealerships resist to acknowledge and are even slower to correct. They remain focused on their experience (lot layout, funneling an up, trade evaluation, price negotiation, finance, etc.) instead of the experience of their customers. Most other industries have already recognized the necessity of building an experience for the customer instead of forcing customers into an experience.

Consider these facts from a 2014 Edmunds survey:

  • 1 in 5 people said they would rather give up sex for a month than haggle for a new car
  • 44% would give up Facebook
  • 1 in 3 people would rather do taxes

That should be alarming to the automotive industry. One-third of your customers would rather deal with the IRS than you. Employees are personified as the icons of lying, cheating, and stealing. “He’s as bad as a used car salesman.”

When we meet with dealership clients, most say they want to stand out from their competition. To do that at most stores, we encourage them to look internally first. At Arkside Marketing, we have two rules we teach every client. The second one is, “never make it difficult for someone to give you their money”.

The Better Dealership Car Buying Experience

The solution is usually easy to identify. Any area where the customer is not the primary focus could be an area for improvement. Getting a customer excited is surprisingly easy for a great dealership. Expectations are already so low that exceeding them can be achieved with one or two simple actions. A dozen would blow them away!

Here are some simple changes you can make to improve a customer’s first five minutes at your dealership:

  1. Ample customer parking – Do they have to drive through rows of cars for four spots?
  2. Breathing room – Customers arrive to look at your cars, not your salespeople. Give them a 1-2 minutes to get out of the car and look around. Then send a helpful salesperson to answer questions. (If you think we’re wrong about this, read some online reviews and count how many “salesman hounded me as soon as I opened my door” comments you see.)
  3. Offer snacks and beverages – Car buying isn’t a 30 minute process. They will be there a while. Promptly offer snacks, drinks, and let them know about your play area for their kids.

Build everything around the experience of owning a car – not buying one. Your dealership is a method of delivery for a product they can buy at your competitor. You can be a dealer of a great experience. By doing so, you will generate more word-of-mouth referrals, more positive conversations and testimonials online (Facebook, Yelp, etc.) and more service drive retention. Then take those incredible experiences and make them part of your marketing. Tell the world about your success.

Don’t sell a car – offer a great car experience.


 

If you would like to know more about how to integrate your sales and marketing strategies to deliver a great car experience for your customers (and cost-efficiently for you, contact us today. Our first consultation and needs analysis is completely free.

31
Aug

Facebook Case Study: How to Increase Reach and Engagement

Tired of posting to Facebook and not getting results? This Facebook case study is here to help. Good social media is not something for your receptionist or “any young person” to handle. Facebook for your business is different than having a personal profile. You have goals to sell more widgets, promote your brand, earn new customers, turn loyal customers into fans (more on this later), and increase traffic to your website. To achieve these goals -or any others on social media- you need to understand what works.  You must also be prepared to dedicate multiple hours per day to finding content, sharing images, promoting posts, replying to comments, finding new audiences, and analyzing previous results.

Our goal with this Facebook case study is to show how we approach Facebook management (along with other social media networks) and the results we create for our clients.

THE CLIENT

Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control, Inc., located in Redlands, CA. Their service area is approximately 35 miles from their office. They are a family owned business for many decades and provide all pest removal and prevention services to residential and commercial clients.

THE SITUATION

Craig & Sons had been working with a national media company (who will go unnamed) that built their website and “managed” their social media. After failing to see any meaningful engagement on Facebook and no other social accounts being used, Craig & Sons was seeking alternatives.  After explaining our approach to Facebook and other social media, we were honored to earn their business.

PRIOR FACEBOOK RESULTS

Posting Schedule: The previous company had no posting schedule. Content seemed to appear randomly: sometimes four posts a week (still less than half of what it should be) and other times once a month. In all cases, the posts would lack any images or video. Just a few sentences of text. This is completely insufficient. According to some studies, the average life of a Facebook post can be only 2.5 hours!

Audience Reach: In the six months preceding our takeover, only three posts ever reached (not engaged, simply reached), more than 100 people. This was on a page with over 250 fans. Two of those posts were posted directly by the client so they can’t be attributed to the media company.

SEO Performance: In the six months preceding our takeover, only four clicks from Google went to their Facebook Page. One substantial benefit of a successful Facebook Page is search engine ranking. Beyond linking to your website and encouraging search engines to boost it on page one, you also have the capability to have your Facebook Page rank on the first page of Google (and other search engines) to knock out a competitor.

Audience Engagement: Reaching an audience is one thing. Getting them to engage with your content and your company is another. Only ONCE did they get an engagement level of 10 people or higher. Half of that engagement was directly attributable to a post from the client.

Summary: Despite having thousands of employees and millions of dollars to develop effective social media strategies for their clients, this company approached social media as less than a hobby. Their client suffered from a wasted investment.

Remember Arkside Rule #1: Always treat marketing as an investment!

THE NEW SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

1) Understand the target market: home owners and property managers, age 35+, located within 1-35 miles of the Craig & Sons office

2a) Create accounts on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest
2b) Optimize their existing Facebook Page (and the other networks) to include keyword-rich bios and easy-to-find contact information

3) Capitalize on the creepy factor of bugs with visual content and include educational elements so the audience becomes more aware of bugs and other pests, how to prevent infestations, and how Craig & Sons can take care of pest problems

4) Build a posting schedule focusing on the days with the most social traffic, optimizing time-of-day placement

5) Utilize social profiles for engagement, customer retention, and SEO value

6) Posts need to be image and video heavy while still maintaining the traditional “80/20 Rule”

7) Employees were trained on engagement and encouraged to Like the Page (if they had not already)

Date work began: June 6, 2015

NEW FACEBOOK RESULTS

Facebook case studyPosting Schedule: As most people don’t want to hear about bugs on a constant basis -especially a sales pitch about bug killing- we identified the days of the week most relevant to the client’s target audience. On those days, we create 1-2 posts per day. These are scheduled during “prime time” when the audience is most likely to be on. Approximately 20% of those posts in a given week link directly to the client’s website. The remaining 80% are funny, creepy, educational, or otherwise relevant content for the intended audience. Hashtags are included when appropriate as they are now searchable on Facebook.

Beyond Facebook, we also create unique content for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. These platforms were selected due to their user demographics, capability for visual presentation, and popularity.

As a combined group, all four social channels receive relevant content customized for the intended audience. Twitter receives more posts and Instagram the least. This is based on substantial research regarding how users interact with brands on each network. All four work together to promote a cohesive brand presentation no matter which social network a potential or current customer may discover.

Facebook post reach case studyAudience Reach: Beyond taking their number of Likes to over 300, our relevant organic content now reaches more people each week than previously achieved in a month. This is without a single paid ad or otherwise promoted post. The goal is to provide information that matters to the audience so they Like, Comment, and Share with their friends.

It is worth noting that this new approach, which put much more content in front of the audience than they had seen previously did not result in a single Unlike, Hide Post, or Report as Spam action!

Facebook external referrer case studySEO Performance: The SEO improvement was extremely fast. In just six weeks we saw at least eight clicks to the Facebook Page directly from Google search results. We also began to see traffic from Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and even LinkedIn. These demonstrate moments in which a competitor may have appeared but had been outranked by Craig & Sons’ Facebook Page.

Audience Engagement: We often describe our “Useless Army” concept to potential clients. It is the idea of having thousands upon thousands of Facebook Fans but none of them actually engage with the Page. No Likes, comments, or shares – or at least very few. So what good is an army of Fans who don’t interact with your posts? In one word: useless.

Facebook Likes, comments, and sharesIt is our goal to encourage engagement so that the Page and its content rank highly on Facebook (i.e. – Recommended Pages) and search engines.

As you can see here, the new content immediately achieved greater engagement across all three measurements: Likes, Comments, and Shares. Such interaction helps Craig & Sons demonstrate expertise in their field, passion for their industry, and a commitment to truly engaging with their audience.  Where the previous company only achieved an engagement level of 10 people or higher one time in six months, we have done it more than a dozen times without any direct client posts. When people have great content to share, you empower them to become “brandvocates”.

What is a “brandvocate”? The term describes anyone not employed by the company that promotes your product or service without compensation. They advocate your brand to their friends and family for one simple reason: they like what you offer. They are a valuable marketing asset because they are genuine, loyal, and provide free word-of-mouth advertising. Social media gives them the ability to do this on a massive scale.

Summary: Success is a direct result of multiple efforts. It requires an understanding of the intended audience, posting schedules based on research and demographics, relevant content curated and shared by people, better search engine optimization, and new levels of audience engagement.


If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Facebook or other social media, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.

12
Jul

Preserving Your Brand Integrity

Few things are as important to your business as your brand identity. The branding of your company is about your logo, your appearance, your service, your products, and your reputation. It is how the world perceives you. Your ad agency should understand and appreciate the importance of brand development.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” –Jeff Bezos

Your Logo Is Part of Your Brand

The development and protection of a brand is critical. A critical element of that brand representation is your logo. It is the most commonly seen visual representation of your company. Hundreds of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars go into the promotion of a logo.  When we come across instances like the ones below, we wonder if the agency truly understands the value of their client’s brand:

Chevy Equinox with a backward Chevy bowtie

Chevy Impala with a backward Chevy bowtie and Impala

Chevrolet Logo Backward - Malibu

Chevrolet Logo Backward - Traverse

These examples were taken from the home page rotator of a US regional Chevrolet dealer association website. They represent 57% of the images in that rotator. That makes such errors difficult to excuse as isolated incidents or something not reviewed by multiple employees (graphic designer, project manager, account executive) and the client.

Client and Agency Share Brand Integrity Responsibility

We are the first to admit that we aren’t perfect. No agency or person is perfect. But errors like this speak to a larger problem of disregarding the fundamentals of brand integrity. Imagine the IBM logo being printed backwards on a company brochure. Or Google having a typo and showing up “Gogle”. It wouldn’t make it off the printing press.

Protect your logo.
Protect your reputation.

Demand an agency that does the same.

Arkside Marketing is a full-service ad agency, specializing in regulated enterprises such as law firms, car dealerships, hospitals, and financial institutions. If you would like a complimentary analysis of your current marketing efforts or brand identity, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We can come to your office or conduct the analysis online via Skype, Google Hangouts, or Join.me.

10
Jun

Five Years of Arkside Marketing

Five years. Started during the depth of the Recession and thriving today. As we celebrate our five year anniversary in 2015, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the joys, challenges, and educational experiences that have happened with me and my team. Most importantly, a look back at why our clients mean so much to us.

First I will state the obvious: This post is long overdue. Specifically, our five year anniversary was February 4th. Anniversaries are important for many reasons. If we were a client of ourselves, we would have had a party planned in advance, press release drafted and ready for distribution, new collateral material printed, fun promotional products made, et cetera. But we spend every minute of every day worrying about everyone else’s marketing. Remember that phrase about the cobbler’s children having no shoes?

When I started this company, I knew it would be difficult. I was leaving a good job with a good company and risking it all on a dream with the encouragement of friends, family, and colleagues. The last five years have been an emotional roller coaster. Difficult? Yes. But also rewarding. Arkside Marketing is not my first business, but it is my largest thus far. The challenges, successes, and lessons learned have been incredible.

The last year has been especially turbulent. Despite my years of experience in media, ad agencies, and the marketing industry as a whole, I experienced more unforeseen challenges than ever. The worst was a solar company that misled us and a few of our competitors. They lied about nearly every element of their RFP including their goals, marketing strategy, personnel, and budget. My team and I invested considerable time and money into our proposal. Although we were glad to win, we soon realized what a bear trap we had stepped into.

The Most Important Parts of an Ad Agency

The best part of the last five years has been the people. I have been fortunate to surround myself with talented consultants, designers, and programmers. The aforementioned solar proposal unified our great team of professionals. We showcased a creativity, media knowledge, and strategy development capability unrivaled by our competitors. These strengths have continued with knowledge, fun, and excitement through today. The Arkside staff has doubled in our fifth year and there are bright prospects on the horizon to continue growing before the start of 2016.

We are blessed to work with some of the best vendors and media partners in the world. Each cares about our clients, our relationships, and the quality of their product. They have provided incredible customer service over the years and bring a fresh perspective to each project in which they participate. From the reps at our radio and TV stations to our partners at Google and various print shops, we value each of their contributions to the success of our clients.

Most importantly, we have had five years of wonderful connections to our clients. When I first started the company, I intended to work with nothing more than the heavily regulated industries in which I focused most of my career: law, automotive, healthcare, education, and financial. Fortunately, other opportunities arose within our first five clients. We were able to work with manufacturers, distributors, non-profits, retail stores, and other unregulated industries.

Having an even larger variety of industries than anticipated enabled us to bring more creativity and new ideas to all of our clients. It is perhaps one of our greatest strengths: the ability to take a concept that is tried-and-true in one vertical to a completely different vertical and modify it to step ahead of the competition.

Arkside Marketing in downtown RiversideOur growth has been more than a portfolio. In 2014 we moved into a new office in downtown Riverside which has given us a conveniently central location to the huge Inland Empire metro area and faster access to all of Southern California. Staff was consolidated in this one location, bringing about greater efficiency, team work, and creativity.

All of our staff shares a commitment to our community. Throughout the last few years, we have participated with or donated to many charities including the California Police Chiefs Association, “We Remember: A Night for Veterans”, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

What’s Next?

Revisiting that topic of our own advertising, that is the area in which we are most in need of improvement. What can we do better?

We are working on solving this hypocrisy. Soon we will be adding more videos to our YouTube channel. (Subscribe now so you can be one of the early cool kids.) You can also expect to see our new 5 year anniversary logo around the internet and on some of our collateral.

In light of the many lessons learned over the last five years, we will be launching a new initiative for non-profits. These small armies of passionate volunteers are usually the most in need of marketing help and least able to afford it. Stay tuned for our upcoming initiative in which we will help two charities reach their goals!

To all of my friends, family, colleagues, coworkers, and clients, I give you my most sincere thanks. None of this success would be possible without your support. I look forward to continuing the growth of Arkside Marketing and bringing new opportunities to others every day.

–Nathan