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Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: 3 Things To Consider

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: October 12, 2016

There's a lot of buzz about digital marketing these days, but is it really more effective than traditional marketing? When weighing the value of traditional marketing vs digital marketing for a specific campaign, what factors should you consider? If you're a small business or non-profit, you may be struggling with these very issues. Most of our clients understand that digital marketing is important, but many wonder if digital marketing is really more effective than traditional marketing. To help them (and you) consider all the options, below are three factors to consider when launching your next marketing campaign. Before getting to…

A Free Digital Marketing Strategy Template for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 94%      Posted on: November 8, 2017

If you run a non-profit or small business, you might be on the lookout for a good digital marketing strategy template that can help make your life easier. You may struggle in your marketing efforts to keep up with goals, to enact those goals over multiple channels, and to stay on top of daily tasks like posting, responding to messages, and developing new content for your website. What Is a Digital Marketing Strategy Template? Digital marketing is a subset of content strategy and is focused on developing marketing content for common online channels, such as: Social media: Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and…

Digital Marketing Fundamentals Everyone Should Know

Relevance: 93%      Posted on: June 21, 2017

Digital marketing fundamentals are becoming important whether you're a freelancer, a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or a member of a larger organization. You need to know what's available to you and your organization, how digital marketing is different than traditional marketing, and what skill sets you might need to learn vs. which ones you might want to outsource. It's important to inform yourself on how you can reach new customers, donors, or clients using today's emerging digital tools. What Are Digital Marketing Fundamentals? Digital marketing fundamentals are very different than traditional marketing fundamentals. What works in media like tv,…

Gift Guide: The 5 Best Digital Marketing Books for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 90%      Posted on: December 14, 2016

If you're shopping for the entrepreneur or non-profit manager in your life, consider grabbing them one of the best digital marketing books for small businesses and non-profits. Smaller organizations often have to learn to be their own marketers. They often get periodic boosts from organizations like ours that cater to smaller organizations, but limited budgets mean that the rest of the time they need to learn to market themselves on their own. Below we give our personal picks for the 5 best digital marketing books for small businesses and non-profits. Consider picking these up yourself or giving them as a…

3 Ways Digital Marketing and UX Support Each Other

Relevance: 88%      Posted on: February 1, 2017

Digital marketing and UX support each other if each is used properly to further your business goals. As we mentioned in an article for Salesforce, when you are marketing your organization online, it's essential to think about how people will encounter that marketing. How will they use it? What will it look like on their screen? What will make them more likely to click, subscribe, or make a purchase? These are basic questions to consider when you're marketing, but they become especially important to think about when marketing online. If the experience your website provides to users contradicts your overall…

3 Digital Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

Relevance: 87%      Posted on: April 20, 2016

Publishing effective content for your small business may be confusing at times or difficult. Sometimes, it can just be time consuming. What if there were some digital marketing tools that could help you start to use your time more effectively for your small business on the cheap? With the plethora of marketing tools available, it's easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of free trials. That's why we've collected 3 tools that can help you get started marketing your business without breaking the bank. WooRank Let's start with some basics. Before you start posting on social media and trying…

4 Myths About Industry-Specific Digital Marketing Solutions

Relevance: 87%      Posted on: September 5, 2018

Industry-specific digital marketing solutions are often touted by their sellers as tailored to the needs of a particular industry. Over the years, we've seen them crop up in healthcare, education, massage/wellness, realty, and the non-profit sector. Sometimes, these solutions provide a necessary stopgap for clients who need additional functionality from their website. Quite often, however, these tools end up being more trouble than they're worth. Below we talk about the biggest myths we've seen with these solutions and what to ask before you buy. Myth #1: Industry-Specific Digital Marketing Solutions Are Cheaper Than Building a Website Solutions like these are often…

Top 5 Digital Marketing Myths: Smaller Organizations Beware

Relevance: 84%      Posted on: January 9, 2019

In an age when digital ad spending is overtaking traditional advertising, digital marketing myths are everywhere. Whether you are a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or even the head of a large company, you have probably been promised amazing returns for your investment in your website, social media, or online advertising. You may have encountered companies who guarantee such seemingly impossible feats as making you the #1 search result on Google for a low, low price. Like most things in life, it can be difficult to separate the truth from the hype when it comes to digital marketing, a…

3 Tips for Keeping on Top of Digital Marketing Trends

Relevance: 82%      Posted on: December 9, 2015

Whether you're a small business owner, a consultant, or a member of a team within a large business, digital marketing trends are notoriously hard to keep on top of. Search engines are constantly changing the rules they use to prioritize search results for users. New tools are launched almost every day for finding, managing, and distributing content. Social media is radically changing the landscape as users are empowered to develop their own customized content streams that may or may not include your brand. How Do You Keep Track of Digital Marketing Trends? We won't lie: it isn't easy. And no matter what…

Why You Shouldn’t Sign a 12 Month Website Contract

Relevance: 69%      Posted on: June 28, 2017

Signing a 12 month website contract with a digital marketing agency is almost never a good idea. If you're a small business or non-profit, you have probably been offered a "deal" on a website in exchange for signing a 12 month contract with a digital marketing agency. Typically, this contract requires that any changes, redesigns, or updates go through the agency that built your website. Sometimes, the contract also offers a payment plan that allows you to pay for your website over 12 months. Though they may seem like a good idea at first glance, 12 month website contracts lock…

How To Market Your Small Business Right Now

Relevance: 66%      Posted on: March 21, 2018

If you're wondering how to market your small business in the age of digital marketing, you're probably aware of many of the opportunities available. You probably are aware of social media marketing. You probably also have a website, but you might not be clear on how best to market it. You might also be aware of search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO), but might not know how to do these forms of marketing yourself. Below we lay out some of the most impactful ways small businesses are marketing themselves right now. Digital Marketing Fundamentals First, if you're…

UX for Small Business: 3 Tips for Digital Success

Relevance: 55%      Posted on: February 14, 2018

If you run a small business with any kind of digital presence, you need to think about UX for small business. If you have a website, mobile app, or social media presence, you have users for those digital points of contact. And if you have users, then those users come with certain expectations. Whether those expectations are met determines whether they interact with you, become leads, or eventually become customers. This means that, regardless of the type of product or service you're selling, if you have a web presence, you need to think about user experience (or UX). What Is…

When You Should Hire a Copy Editor for Your Content

Relevance: 50%      Posted on: November 14, 2018

If you're not sure when you should hire a copy editor for your content versus trying to rework it yourself, our answer is always: it depends on a lot of factors. You should ask yourself if you can produce error-free writing on your own, for instance. Or if you have the time, energy, and know-how to go through all of your content systematically. In short, if you're not a copy editor, you just might need one. Below are some of the situations we see most often when people need a copy editor. Situation 1: When Dealing With a Document That…

An Inbound Marketing Strategy: Why Every Business Needs One

Relevance: 49%      Posted on: December 16, 2015

If you're reading this and you own a business, chances are you need an inbound marketing strategy. Think of it this way: according to Ad Age, digital advertising will represent 36% of all U.S. ad spending by 2019. Why? Probably because over 80% of people start shopping by searching for information online. This means that if you want to grow your business, you need to grow your business online. Outbound marketing vs. inbound marketing Digital marketing is very different than traditional marketing. Advertising over radio and television and in newspapers and magazines involves a lot of preliminary market research. Advertisers need…

3 Reasons Why SEO Matters for Smaller Organizations

Relevance: 46%      Posted on: October 11, 2017

If you're a small business owner or non-profit manager, you may have wondered why SEO matters. Search engine optimization sounds like something that only applies to large corporations. It sounds like something that only people with million dollar advertising budgets can afford. If this is what you think about when you think about SEO, you're probably thinking about national SEO or the ability to be the top search result for an entire country for a relatively simple keyword like "digital marketing." If this is how you think about SEO, however, you might be completely neglecting the form of SEO that can…

3 Local SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Relevance: 45%      Posted on: September 21, 2016

If you're looking for local SEO tips for small businesses, look no further. If you're not sure what local SEO is, this is also the post for you. As we mentioned in a previous post, there are really two kinds of search engine optimization: local SEO and national SEO. National SEO is the front page of Google, where you compete against the largest companies in the world for any keyword. Local SEO, on the other hand, is the way that Google ranks search results for keywords that are specific to a location. Whereas national SEO is very competitive and is very…

3 Free Online Fundraising Tools for Non-Profits

Relevance: 42%      Posted on: September 28, 2016

Free online fundraising tools for non-profits are all over the Internet these days, but: which ones actually work? Which ones are a waste of time and energy? We all know that non-profit organizations often struggle with fundraising. If you have ever worked for a non-profit, you know that money is typically tight, leaving little room for a marketing specialist or expensive digital marketing tools. You may not be aware that there are lots of free options for non-profits looking to explore digital marketing, however, including: A 10,000 per month AdWords grant available from Google Free e-mail newsletters for up to 2,000 subscribers…

When to Hire a Consultant: Solving Internal Problems Externally

Relevance: 41%      Posted on: April 6, 2016

Many organizations we have worked with over the years as individuals have struggled to understand when to hire a consultant. Business people, in particular, are often loathe to hire an outside consultant as it can make you look weak to management (or so you might think). So how do you know when it's appropriate to try to leverage some outside help to solve a problem? Below are three scenarios when hiring a consultant is probably a good idea. Scenario 1: You Need a Fresh Take on an Old Problem One of the best reasons to hire a consultant is when you have…

Why Your Content Marketing Plan Is Your Most Valuable Business Asset

Relevance: 36%      Posted on: September 6, 2017

A content marketing plan can help you create content that consumers want and marketing they can't ignore. But what does a content marketing plan look like? What should it contain? How do you put your plan into action? If you've come up against questions like these, you may be ready to create your first content marketing plan and to learn why it's your most valuable business asset. Really? A Content Marketing Plan Is Your Most Valuable Business Asset? Absolutely. Think about what marketing looks like now. If you own a business, run a non-profit, or work with any other type…

3 Tips for Keeping on Top of SEO Trends

Relevance: 34%      Posted on: April 26, 2017

SEO trends change constantly. Whether you're a small business owner, a non-profit manager, or a member of a team within a large business, it can be difficult to stay on top of best practices. Search engines are constantly updating the rules they use to prioritize search results for users. Website technologies constantly change, as well, but not always in ways that favor SEO. What is effective one year might kill your rankings next year. How do you keep track of it all? The Necessity of Staying on Top of SEO Trends Though difficult to do, staying on top of SEO trends is…

3 Tips for Launching a New Website for Your Small Business or Non-Profit

Relevance: 32%      Posted on: December 7, 2016

Launching a new website for your small business or non-profit can be stressful. Whether the new site is a redesign of your existing website or a completely new website, there are a lot of decisions to make. In no particular order, these decisions include: Logo: Do you want a new logo for your new website? How will this affect your branding in other places (i.e. signs, brochures, business cards, stationary, digital displays in your office, etc.)? Color Scheme: Any competent designer can help you brand your website effectively by using an appropriate color scheme, but what do you want this…

3 Tips for Running Non-Profit Email Marketing Campaigns

Relevance: 32%      Posted on: January 31, 2018

Non-profit email marketing can be deceptively difficult. You’ve got a mission. You’ve got a list of names and email addresses of those who have supported your organization with their time, labor, and financial contributions. How will you mobilize that list of emails to mobilize further support for your organization? Don’t be quick to think that simply having an email marketing service with a pretty design is all that you need to garner support. There is no denying that design can powerfully impact your messages to your supporters. Design can enhance your message by drawing attention to it. However, it is…

Power Words Non-Profits and Small Businesses Should Use in Their Marketing

Relevance: 32%      Posted on: March 22, 2017

Think about the powerful people that you know. What makes them confident and strong—admirable even? Some of it might be the way that they dress—the right clothing, the polished shoes. Some might be a handshake that inspires you to believe what they’re telling you. Others may have the education that allows them to quickly demonstrate a mastery of complex subjects—that’s often inspiring and gives a person the feeling of power. But there’s something else at work here, too, something that small businesses and nonprofits can use to their advantage. It’s the concept of power words. Of course there are words—and…

5 Tips for Keyword Research for Small Businesses

Relevance: 32%      Posted on: June 22, 2016

Keyword research is one of the most important activities that many small businesses neglect. We get it: we're a small business. Keyword research takes time away from selling your products (even if, ironically, one of your products is keyword research). It involves seemingly arcane activities like building a keyword matrix and terms that sound like they're from the stock market such as "keyword competitiveness" and "search traffic." And: is it really that important? Is keyword research for small businesses important even if you aren't an e-commerce-focused organization? Is it as important for small businesses as it is for large corporations?…

3 Twitter Marketing Strategy Tips for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 31%      Posted on: February 27, 2019

If you own a small business or work for a non-profit, you may have developed a Twitter marketing strategy to find customers or donors on this popular platform. If you're like many of the folks we've talked to in those spaces, however, you may find Twitter to be mysterious when it comes to how to develop a following and effectively market your organization. To help get you started, below are some Twitter marketing strategy tips we've used with our clients. Twitter Marketing Strategy Tip #1: Use Appropriate Hashtags It comes as no surprise that one of the most important things to…

3 Tips for Running Small Business Email Marketing Campaigns

Relevance: 30%      Posted on: February 7, 2018

If you own a business and want to retain customers, you need to employ effective small business email marketing. Consumers want to be empowered to choose how they will interact with businesses that interest them and that they find to be worthwhile. Email marketing can be used to gain and retain loyalty amongst your customers. It’s important to start an email marketing campaign ethically and responsibly, however. Instead of paying for consumer information (such as names and emails), your business needs to entice customers to sign up for your newsletter. You need coax them to sign up while they are…

5 Instagram Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Relevance: 29%      Posted on: April 11, 2018

If you own a small business, you have probably wondered whether Instagram is a good way to reach customers. That's why we assembled these Instagram marketing tips for small businesses. Instagram can be a great tool for reaching customers if you set yourself up for success. Why Instagram? Let's start with some statistics about why your small business should consider becoming active on Instagram. According to TechCrunch, Instagram currently has over 500 million daily active users, and over 800 million monthly active users. These numbers bring Instagram up to the second most popular social media platform out there, second only to…

3 Common Social Media Marketing Challenges and How to Solve Them

Relevance: 29%      Posted on: August 10, 2016

Social media offers businesses ways to interact with their customers like never before. Problems arise when the platform changes, and what was once a great way to share content with your followers no longer works. As social media evolves, businesses using social media will have to change, too. Common social media marketing challenges include truly connecting with your audience on a personal level, building a solid marketing strategy, providing consistently strong content, and getting others to share your content. Connecting with Your Audience on Social Media As a business using social media to connect with your audience, you have to…

3 Awesome and Cheap Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 28%      Posted on: January 4, 2017

If you're looking for content marketing tools to help you promote your content online, you may find there aren't a lot available. Content marketing is relatively new in the world of marketing, and software developers are just now beginning to create packages that help people develop and deploy killer content. Many of these packages are incredibly expensive, however, and include thousands of dollars in miscellaneous "set-up fees," putting them out of reach for the average small business owner or non-profit manager. To help you get started with some of the tools we love, below we give our personal picks for…

4 Tips for Facebook Marketing for Small Businesses

Relevance: 28%      Posted on: March 27, 2019

If you've tried Facebook marketing for small businesses, you're probably aware that there's a lot of information out there. You've probably looked at what other small businesses are doing to improve your own efforts. The truth is: there's a lot more to successful marketing on Facebook than their used to be when you could simply through up a business page and posting to it. Here, we’ve gathered some tips on facebook marketing for small businesses to help you make the most out of this important platform. Tip #1 for Facebook Marketing for Small Businesses: Complete Your Business Profile It may…

4 Tips for Facebook Marketing for Non-Profits

Relevance: 28%      Posted on: November 28, 2018

If you're familiar with Facebook marketing for non-profits, you know it can be challenging to attract an audience. If you are helping to run social media for an organization, you've probably looked elsewhere for tips on getting your Facebook posts more likes, comments, and shares. In fact, you may have checked out our blog post on this very topic: https://www.contentgarden.org/non-profit-social-media-ideas/ To help you continue the process, we've gathered a few tips for Facebook marketing for non-profits. Read on to help take your Facebook game to the next level. Facebook Marketing Tip #1: Planning Ahead and Creating a Social Media Schedule…

5 Instagram Marketing Tips for Non-Profits

Relevance: 27%      Posted on: April 25, 2018

If you work for a non-profit, you have probably wondered whether Instagram is a good way to reach and interact with potential donors, volunteers, and members of your organization. That's why we gathered these Instagram marketing tips for non-profits like yours. Instagram can be a great tool for reaching people if you set yourself up for success and follow some of our tips below. Why Instagram? Let's start with some statistics about why your non-profit should consider becoming active on Instagram. According to TechCrunch, Instagram currently has over 500 million daily active users, and over 800 million monthly active users. These…

3 Tips for Creating Great Content Marketing Collateral

Relevance: 27%      Posted on: January 25, 2017

Content marketing is becoming one of the #1 methods for organizations to reach new customers, clients, and donors online. In order to produce high-quality content across channels (i.e. social media, blogs, ebooks, etc.), you need to create a repository of content marketing collateral you can draw from. This process can be time-consuming and difficult to stay on top of. In order to help you streamline your content marketing process, especially if you're a smaller organization, we recommend focusing on three main areas: reusable content, curated content, and branded content. What Is Content Marketing Collateral? If you're not familiar with the…

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business, Part 1: Finding Your Niche

Relevance: 27%      Posted on: August 31, 2016

If you're interested in content marketing for small business, you may be curious how it's different than content marketing for larger organizations. Content marketing is all the rage these days, and for good reason. As Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, puts it: Consumers have shut off the traditional world of marketing. They own a DVR to skip television advertising, often ignore magazine advertising, and now have become so adept at online “surfing” that they can take in online information without a care for banners or buttons (making them irrelevant). Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective…

3 Tips for Keeping on Top of UX Trends

Relevance: 26%      Posted on: August 17, 2016

Digital technologies change all the time. The websites that were fashionable and user-friendly last year look hopelessly out-of-date this year. If you're a small business owner, you may struggle, as many of us do, to maintain an aesthetically-pleasing website that continues to be relevant. Here's a little secret to make you feel better: everyone does. All kinds of organizations struggle with the pace at which technologies change. Hospitals. Schools. Corporations. Local businesses. Large, multinational businesses. Even experts in technology. Especially them. If you'be been paying attention to any conversation involving digital technology, you've probably heard about this term "UX," short…

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business, Part 3: Improving Over Time

Relevance: 26%      Posted on: September 14, 2016

Welcome to Part 3 of our series, "The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business." To help small business owners learn how to employ content marketing, one of the best methods for attracting new customers online, we've decided to create a complete guide for small business owners. In Part 1 of the series, we discussed how to find your "content niche" as a small business or how to find a focus for your content marketing efforts that distinguishes your business as unique and valuable to target customers. In Part 2, we discussed how to create a sustainable plan for developing, publishing,…

UX and Product Management: An Interview With Marcin Treder, CEO of UXPin

Relevance: 25%      Posted on: August 3, 2016

Recently, we had the pleasure of talking with Marcin Treder, designer, psychologist, and CEO of UXPin. We asked him about the relationship between UX and product management and how UXPin is changing the industry. CONTENT GARDEN: We're big fans of UXPin at Content Garden, but for folks that may not be familiar with it, can you give us a brief rundown of what UXPin is and what it does? What kinds of problems can UXPin solve? MARCIN: UXPin is the product design platform helping companies build great digital products together. From the early wireframes, through prototypes to final mockups, we provide…

3 Tips for LinkedIn Marketing for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 25%      Posted on: January 11, 2017

LinkedIn marketing is a great way for small businesses, non-profits, and really any organization to develop quality leads. There are currently over 467,000,000 prospective customers, donors, and clients on LinkedIn! If you're looking to develop solid connections over social media and find yourself lost in the sea of social media marketing, LinkedIn is a great choice to focus your efforts on. If you're not sure how to get started, however, check out our 3 tips for LinkedIn marketing below. Why LinkedIn Marketing Is a Great Way to Reach People Many smaller organizations focus on Facebook because it's familiar to them and…

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business, Part 2: Creating a Plan

Relevance: 23%      Posted on: September 7, 2016

Welcome to Part 2 of our series, "The Complete Guide to Content Marketing for Small Business." To help small business owners learn how to employ content marketing, one of the best methods for attracting new customers online, we've decided to create a complete guide for small business owners. In Part 1 of the series, we discussed how to find your "content niche" as a small business or how to find a focus for your content marketing efforts that distinguishes your business as unique and valuable to target customers. In Part 2, we'll discuss how to create a sustainable plan for developing, publishing,…

Content Marketing Strategies Now and in the Future: An Interview With Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

Relevance: 22%      Posted on: July 19, 2017

We sat down with Scott Abel to talk content marketing strategies. Scott is Founder and CEO of The Content Wrangler, a San Francisco-based international content strategy consultancy. CONTENT GARDEN: We work a lot with small businesses and non-profits who don’t have a content strategist or content marketer on staff. Can you speak to why the ability to develop and deploy effective content is important for smaller organizations' content marketing strategies? Scott: “Effective” is the operative word here. In order to develop effective content—content that achieves a desired goal or intended result—we must put a plan in place that helps measure whether our efforts…

Small Businesses and the Power of Social Media Customer Care

Relevance: 22%      Posted on: December 20, 2017

The internet marketplace is booming with small businesses and non-profits taking advantage of the amazing accessibility to communities that social media offers. One cannot deny that the era of social media is a blessing and opportunity for the smaller businesses in our community, but with more and more of them getting online, it can be hard to truly stand out above the noise. That’s why all the smart digital marketers are turning their attention to social media customer care (SMCC), a little area of social media marketing that has often been overlooked by even the biggest of companies, as websitebuilder.org.uk…

The Magic a Content Audit Holds for Improving Your Business

Relevance: 21%      Posted on: February 3, 2016

If you're running a business, chances are you struggle with content. Social media content. Webpage content. Internal documentation. Product descriptions on your website. The first step when you're having a hard time with content is to perform what is known as a content audit. A content audit is essentially just an inventory of what's good, bad, and ugly about all your content. What Do You Mean by Content? A lot of clients ask us: "what exactly do you mean by content?" This is a fair question in an age where there are so many different forms of content. There lots…

Using MailChimp for a Small Business or Non-Profit

Relevance: 21%      Posted on: August 1, 2018

If you work for a small business or non-profit, you have probably considered various tools or options for assisting you in your email marketing efforts. Whether it's helping to track down new customers or a new audience, reach out to your existing audience, or extending your reach to new platforms, a solid email marketing strategy will help your small business or non-profit grow. A great tool that we at Content Garden utilize for our small business marketing efforts is a tool called MailChimp. What Is Mailchimp? MailChimp is the world's largest email marketing automation platform and allows its users to…

3 Reasons Why UX Matters for Large Organizations

Relevance: 21%      Posted on: April 27, 2016

If you manage, or work for, a large organization, you may find yourself wondering why you should care about user experience. This is particularly the case in industries like education, government, and healthcare that seem to be outside the technology sector of the economy. Sure you have an organizational website, an intranet, and some tools you use for collaboration, but you don't make technology products like software, web applications, and mobile applications. UX isn't as important for your organization as it is for a company that makes those sorts of things, right? In fact, we'd like to claim that UX…

How To Be A Good Client

Relevance: 19%      Posted on: June 1, 2016

There's lots of information everywhere these days about how to be a good consultant. Forbes recommends 6 things every consultant should do. Paul Wells has the number at 8. A simple Google search for the keywords "how to be a good consultant" will reveal many, many more great articles on this topic. And while all this information is valuable and usable by those of us who work as consultants, there is far less information about how to be a good client. So, below we give our own list of 5 things we think every client should do to make your experiences with us consultants…

The 6 Biggest Web Design Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Relevance: 19%      Posted on: February 28, 2018

You’ve built a website that represents your business well. You took pictures. You created content for multiple pages. You purchased a domain and server space. You made your website live. So, why aren’t you getting the customer response you expected? You might have fallen prey to common web design mistakes that small businesses make. Even a few of these mistakes can drive all but the most loyal customers away. Web Design Mistake #1: Slow Loading Website With the advent of high-speed Internet, customers are no longer patient about waiting for webpages to load. Most customers will wait no longer than…

The Sharpest Tool For Businesses Is a UX Toolkit

Relevance: 18%      Posted on: January 13, 2016

If you have a website, mobile app, or social media presence, you have users for those digital points of contact. And if you have users, then those users come with certain expectations. Whether those expectations are met determines whether they interact with you, become leads, or eventually become customers. This means that, regardless of the type of product or service you're selling, if you have a web presence, you need to think about user experience (or UX). What a UX Toolkit Is and Why You Need One Let's start with what UX is, as that is a common question we…

Top 3 Ways to Optimize WordPress for SEO

Relevance: 18%      Posted on: July 20, 2016

So, you've taken our advice and built a WordPress website for your business, and your website is performing pretty well in search results. You Google keywords associated with your business, and it pops right up. This is because WordPress is naturally pretty great for SEO. As the months roll by, however, you notice it starting to slip down the page of search results. Then, pretty soon, it doesn't even appear on the first page of Google anymore. What happened? If you aren't actively optimizing your WordPress website for SEO, eventually it will stop performing well in search. Below are 3 of…

Social Media for Non-Profits: 3 Tips for Success

Relevance: 17%      Posted on: June 7, 2017

There are many questions that arise when doing social media for non-profits. Should you ask for donations? If so, how often? How often should you post? What should you post? If you are a non-profit manager, volunteer, or staff member, you may have questions like these when you sit down in front of your organization's Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles. Below we share 3 tips for success when doing social media for non-profits. But, What Does Social Media for Non-Profits Even Look Like These Days? A lot of our non-profit clients start out by asking us what social media platforms they…

A Bad Conversion Optimization Strategy May Be Costing Your Business Real Revenue

Relevance: 16%      Posted on: January 6, 2016

If you have a business website, you want to use that website to convert website visitors to leads and customers. This is your conversion optimization strategy: how effective your website is at persuading visitors to do something you want them to do, like sign up for your newsletter, download an ebook, or make a purchase. Why a conversion optimization strategy is important for business websites Many business owners may be unaware that website visitors are one of the best sources of potential revenue. Think about it: people visit your website for a reason. They want to learn more about your…

Being the Top Search Result on Google: Local vs National SEO

Relevance: 15%      Posted on: July 27, 2016

In a previous post, we mentioned that being the top search result on Google is today valued at about $1,000,000. To back up this claim, we mentioned that all the research we've conducted, plus all the research of the smart people we follow, points to the fact that there's no magic bullet for SEO anymore. Gone are the days when you could just keyword stuff to trick Google into thinking you have the best content. Google has gotten better and better at delivering optimized content to its users, which means it's harder and harder to achieve real results in Google…

Building a Startup? Lean UX Is Your Best Friend

Relevance: 14%      Posted on: May 11, 2016

If you're a startup like us, you may struggle with user experience. Some of the questions that may plague you include: How many channels should you use to reach customers? What kinds of experiences do customers expect within those channels? What kinds of experiences do customers expect from the product or service you offer? Below we explore a philosophy we use to answer these questions that every startup should keep in mind: Lean UX. What Is Lean UX? Recently championed by Jeff Gothelf, Lean UX is an approach that tries to move as efficiently as possible through the design process.…

The 2 Paid Online Advertising Options You Should Consider Using

Relevance: 14%      Posted on: March 29, 2017

Even if you've never used paid online advertising for your business or non-profit, you've no doubt seen them, those little contextual ads that pop up when you're browsing on Google or scrolling through your newsfeed on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. You may have wondered how much it costs to run ads on platforms like these, and more importantly: are they effective? Don't people just scroll past them? Does anyone actually click on them? Why Should I Use Paid Online Advertising? The first question we get from a lot of clients is: why should I pay for online advertising? According to…

Using Hootsuite to Promote Your Small Business or Non-Profit

Relevance: 14%      Posted on: May 23, 2018

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last decade, you’ve probably heard that social media is vital to any organization’s marketing strategy. If you've ever tried to use social media to promote a small business or non-profit, however, you’ve probably also realized that social media marketing requires quite a bit of upkeep. Your organization has slow weeks, which allows you to publish content easily. But your organization also has busy weeks, which makes it more difficult to keep on top of. Your pattern of posting has probably been uneven and you’ve noticed that you have less likes and…

5 Website Must-Have Features for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 13%      Posted on: May 31, 2017

Website must-have features come and go. What is essential one year may be ineffective the next. If you are a non-profit manager or small business owner looking to build a website, or improve your current one, you may find yourself lost in the jargon of web design. Responsive? Single-page? CMS? Custom? Before you go chasing trends, read below to discover the 5 website must-have features that just about every organization needs. Won't This List of 'Website Must-Have Features' Be Outdated as Soon as It's Published? It's true that web design trends change on an almost daily basis, but when you're running…

3 Ways to Increase Website Traffic Fast

Relevance: 13%      Posted on: October 10, 2018

If you recently launched a small business or non-profit, you may be looking for ways to increase website traffic fast. This may also be the case if you have an upcoming sale, fundraiser, or other important event. You may have also heard, possibly from us, that it can take up to 3 months for search engine optimization efforts to have a positive impact on your organic search presence. So... if you are looking to increase website traffic fast, what are your options? Way #1: Create a Social Media Strategy that Directs People to Your Website The first way to increase…

28 Things You Should Know Before Using WordPress

Relevance: 13%      Posted on: November 30, 2016

Non-profits and small businesses need to make smart financial decisions. This starts with your website. A from-scratch website can cost thousands of dollars and can take dozens of hours to build. You're much better off having your designer work from a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla!, or Magento. And with so many blogs and websites using content management systems for web publishing, the market for free content management systems is constantly growing and improving. The popular open-source blogging platform WordPress is the leader in this market as it currently holds 59.3% of market share. If you're considering…

How Not to Get Locked Out of Your Own Website

Relevance: 13%      Posted on: January 18, 2017

Are you locked out of your own website? Did you sign a contract without really reading it and now you have to spend a fortune just to update your website? Did you pay for a website to be built and now it hasn't been updated in forever? Were you unaware you could be locked out of your own website? We are continually surprised by how many referral clients we get who have been locked out of their own website by another digital firm. Our first work for them typically involves digging them out of the contract they signed that granted…

3 Tips for Setting Up Your Small Business Website for Success

Relevance: 12%      Posted on: July 26, 2017

Your small business website is one of your most valuable business assets. It is probably the first thing new customers will see before they even visit your store. Consumers will make judgments about your business based on your website, both consciously and unconsciously. If you are doing e-commerce, the experience people have while shopping on your website will likely determine if they buy from you again in the future. Are you setting up your small business website for success? Or are you building a website that will chase consumers away from your business? What Are Best Practices for Small Business…

Facebook Ads Pros and Cons for Small Businesses

Relevance: 12%      Posted on: April 19, 2017

If you read our previous post on paid online advertising, are a small business owner, or are just considering Facebook ads pros and cons, read on. Facebook ads are a relatively new feature for reaching customers through the popular social media site. Like any online advertising platform, however, there are benefits and drawbacks. Facebook ads are relatively easy to set up, but you want to make sure you select the right options to reach your specific objectives. You also want to make sure your ad is well-designed to appeal to Facebook users in your target demographic. Below we discuss all the Facebook ads pros…

3 Great Email Newsletter Tools for Small Businesses

Relevance: 11%      Posted on: September 26, 2018

Email newsletter tools for small businesses seem to be a dime a dozen these days. Everywhere you look there's a new one. If you're a small business owner or work at a small business, you might be considering sending newsletters out to your current or potential customers and clients, but how do you get started? You may have even checked out our previous blog post that discussed how MailChimp's services could help you with your email marketing efforts. To help you get going with your email marketing efforts, below we review 3 email newsletter tools for small businesses: MailChimp, Venngage,…

4 Tips for Creating a Winning Non-Profit Blog

Relevance: 11%      Posted on: January 16, 2019

If you work for a non-profit and are looking for ways to create traffic to your website, you might have considered creating a blog. In fact, you may have checked out some of our own blog posts to get ideas. To help you feel more confident in your blogging efforts we've gathered a few non-profit blog tips to get you started. Non-Profit Blog Tip #1: Understand How Your Blog Supports Your Organization Before launching a blog for your non-profit, it’s important to have a clear vision for what your blog is going to do to help your organization. How will it…

Pros and Cons of the Google Adwords Grant for Non-Profits

Relevance: 11%      Posted on: April 12, 2017

If you read our previous post on paid online advertising, work for or with a non-profit, or are considering the pros and cons of the Google Adwords grant for non-profits, look no further. Google AdWords can be a great platform for non-profits to use to direct search traffic to their website or to engage in targeted online fundraising campaigns. If you're considering the platform, but are unfamiliar with how it works, you should probably also read this post that gives you a complete rundown. Below we discuss all the pros and cons of the Google AdWords grant for non-profits (it's actually…

Creating a Healthy Buzz: Why You Should Use Social Media in Healthcare

Relevance: 10%      Posted on: May 18, 2016

Leaders of the healthcare industry are smart to tread carefully when representing their organizations online. Healthcare organizations, not unlike most private and public organizations, want control over the way they're represented to healthcare consumers. This control can be threatened by newer, more interactive online venues like social media that allow for less screening and less predictability. Although social media, like any form of public communication, contains inherent risks, using social media in healthcare can help organizations differentiate their services in an increasingly competitive market. People Trust Online Health Information According to Ad Week, 40% of healthcare consumers trust health-related information they…

How to Start a Peer Review Circle to Improve Your Content

Relevance: 10%      Posted on: October 3, 2018

Peer review circles may sound like something that only full-time writers need. Regardless of what industry you are in, however, you are expected to engage in some kind of writing. Even if you aren't a small business owner or don't do marketing or promotion as your main work activities, you still need to know how to write effectively in order to communicate with a variety of audiences. Being technically correct in your use of spelling and grammar is important and there are many tools available to help in this regard. It is far more important, however, to be correct in…

How to Create SEO-Friendly Product Pages for Your Website

Relevance: 9%      Posted on: August 16, 2017

Other than the home page, a website’s most important content is product pages. For lead or revenue generation, the products — the things you actually sell — must attract a lot of website traffic. By putting care into how you set up your product pages, you’ll improve their organic visibility on Google, and take full advantage of your SEO opportunity to drive more leads and revenue. Keyword Selection and Page Organization The first thing to do, of course, is select the right keywords for which to optimize your various product pages. At Straight North, we often talk to companies whose…

Why Writing Matters for Business

Relevance: 9%      Posted on: April 13, 2016

With the shift to social media as a key platform for building customer relationships, many organizations, from small "solopreneurships" to large-scale corporations, are struggling to communicate effectively across channels. This is as much a technological problem as it is a strategic one: many organizations fail to present effective written communication to all their audiences on a consistent basis. Now more than ever: writing matters for business and a business's ability to write effectively may greatly affect its position in a given market. Below we explain exactly why writing matters for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and also provide 3…

3 Benefits of Blogging for Non-Profits

Relevance: 9%      Posted on: March 13, 2019

Given limited staff and volunteers, many nonprofit organizations think that they do not have the time and energy to commit to blogging. Blogging does require time, energy, planning, talent, and coordination. However, the potential rewards of blogging far outweigh the extra workload required to make a compelling blog a reality. Here are three benefits of blogging for non-profits to consider. Benefit #1: Blogging Drives Traffic to Your Non-Profit Website One of the main benefits of blogging for non-profits is that each blog post acts as an individual page on your website. Search engines are more likely to find blog posts…

What Features Should You Have on a Non-Profit Website?

Relevance: 9%      Posted on: November 2, 2016

Being a non-profit organization brings with it some special circumstances that are different from those of commercial businesses. The same goes for designing a website for a non-profit. In particular, there are four features any good non-profit website needs: A Donate Button A News Section or Blog A Description of Programs A Description of Volunteer Opportunities Why These Four? More often than not, users accessing a non-profit website will want to help the organization. Through donations, keeping up with the organization’s recent news, reading about programs that the non-profit runs, and considering volunteer opportunities, visitors to the site can immediately see…

Social Media for Small Business: 3 Do’s and Don’ts

Relevance: 8%      Posted on: June 14, 2017

Much of the advice we gave on non-profit social media also applies to doing social media for small business. When you're a small business owner, the temptation to treat your social media as your main venue for driving sales can be overwhelming. As we explain below, however, being too aggressive with sales language, posting inflammatory content, or slamming the competition on social media can be major traps and can actually hurt your sales in the long run. To help you avoid these and other pitfalls, below we share 3 do's and don'ts for doing social media for small business. Social…

Engage! The Importance of Using Calls to Action (CTAs) on Your Website

Relevance: 7%      Posted on: January 24, 2018

Websites can be powerful marketing tools: they can convert visitors into customers or donors. To do so, you need to include calls to action (CTAs) that guide your visitors. It is not enough anymore to simply create a website and wait for the magic to happen. If you build a website without a strategy, you may convert a few visitors into customers. But if you want your website to be a tool for customer or donor engagement, you need to strategically employ calls to action in your website design and content. What Are Calls to Action? A call to action is…

How to Find the Right Editor: 5 Questions to Ask

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: February 13, 2019

It's not easy to find the right editor for your website content, internal documents, or ebook. And at the same time, it can be difficult to be pitch perfect in every respect of running your business or non-profit. So what if you have a few spelling errors and misplaced commas on your website? It’s the message that matters… right? Unfortunately, potential clients will judge you on the quality of your writing, even if writing isn't your specialty. Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Before your work with an editor, however, be sure you vet them by asking…

6 Tips for What to Include in a Website About Page

Relevance: 6%      Posted on: December 5, 2018

One of the most important pages on your website is your about page. Your website about page is essentially your online elevator speech for your organization. When it is well-written, your about page can capture a visitor’s attention, inspire curiosity, and start to cultivate trust. Here’s our advice for drafting an effective about page for your website. Website About Page Tip #1: Be Succinct Create succinct, skimmable content. Chances are, potential readers of your abou” page are not interested in a documentary about your organization. Instead, they want to be able to quickly understand who you are and what you…

When You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Website Content

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: October 17, 2018

If you're a small business owner or non-profit manager, you may be looking to write your own website content. As a client-centered business, we encourage clients who want to write their own website content. But before you start toiling away, however, keep in mind that it is not always a good idea to write your own website content. Don't Write Customer Testimonials You should encourage customers to write their own testimonials with minimal direction. When customers are happy with the products or services that you’ve provided for them, it’s natural to ask them if they would be interested in sharing a…

3 Tips for Building a Non-Profit Website

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: October 25, 2017

Building a non-profit website is difficult for many organizations. Whether you're working with a non-profit as a volunteer or are a staff member or non-profit director, it can be difficult to find the resources necessary to develop a great website. At the same time, building a non-profit website that is effective, looks good, and provides visitors with relevant features is absolutely essential if you want your non-profit to be successful. That being said, a lot of the advice we gave for building a small business website will apply to building a non-profit website as well. There is some advice we have that is…

A 4-Step Website Audit Checklist for Small Businesses and Non-Profits

Relevance: 5%      Posted on: May 8, 2019

You may have scoured the internet for a website audit checklist to help you optimize your site. As a business owner or non-profit manager, your website is one of the fundamental ways that you advertise to consumers. When a potential customer or donor wants to learn more about you, the first place they will look is your website. When a current customer decides to place another order or a donor decides to give a gift, they want to use ecommerce so it will be fast and easy. If properly optimized, your business or non-profit website can serve your organization in…

How To Supercharge Your Social Media Strategies Without Spending a Fortune

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: February 17, 2016

Social media strategies are no longer optional for businesses or non-profits. Customers and donors use social media to vet new products with their friends, to learn more about a business before purchasing, to learn more about a charity or cause before donating, and to interact with customer service if there's a problem or just want to express their brand loyalty. Keeping on top of social media can be expensive. In sheer hours alone, you may find you're engaging too much with your social media channels. Working to supercharge your social media strategies doesn't have to break the bank, however, if…

Not Magic: Who’s On Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in the U.S.

Relevance: 4%      Posted on: May 25, 2016

Despite claims to the contrary, social media isn’t magic. It's simply a large group of people who log on to same platform. This means that simply creating a Facebook page does not guarantee you will have a 200% increase in the number of new customers who find your website. So why use social media for your business? Because there are lots and lots of people who log on to each platform. And many of them could be potential customers, if you know where to look. Below we explore who's on social media to give you a more in-depth idea of…