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Author: Rick Knutsen

10+ years of experience in SEM & SEO, online advertising, social media, with a documented record of success in increasing online presence and brand awareness

WSI Wins WMA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development

groupe chevalley logo

Summary: For Groupe Chevalley, the new website designed by Gabor Markus from WSI is a true winner, winning Outstanding Achievement in Web Development at the 2019 WMAs.

Winning Website Designed for Groupe Chevalley, Geneva-Based Car Dealership

If there is an industry that comes close to the internet marketing industry in terms of the speed at which technology changes, it’s probably automotive. Car manufacturers are constantly innovating and upgrading their models. Consequently, buyers are highly enthusiastic and diligent about doing their research. Of course, the biggest chunk of research happens online. It’s only to be expected that car dealerships must stay on top of their game to stand out and beat the competition online. That is exactly what Groupe Chevalley, a leading car dealership in Geneva aimed for, and they turned to Gabor Markus, their local WSI Digital Marketing Consultant.

groupe chevalley logo

Gabor and his WSI team designed a new website for Groupe Chevalley that not only exceeded the client’s expectations but also went on to win the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development at the 2019 WMA WebAwards.

The WMA WebAwards is an international competition organized every year by the Web Marketing Association. Winners define the latest standards and benchmarks in web design and development for others to follow and further improve upon. A dominant player in the competition since 2007, WSI has an excellent track record and performs exceedingly well each year. 2019 has seen the organization win its 100th award in this competition.

Groupe Chevalley’s Wishlist for their New Website

As an established car dealership, Groupe Chevalley sells high end car brands. Not surprisingly, they were seeking a web development partner of the highest caliber and settled on WSI to serve their needs:

  • The main mission of the dealership is to sell new cars for 14 different brands across the market, including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and the luxurious Bugatti.
  • The client wanted to ease access for its clients to book test drives and service appointments.
  • Chevalley also wanted to provide the latest innovations and promotions in a transparent and clear manner.
  • They wanted to increase their positioning in organic search to attract more visitors to their website.

In talking with Gabor and his team, the client decided to choose the full suite of WSI digital marketing services including:

  • High converting paid search and social campaigns
  • Writing optimized content for their website and social channels
  • Fully automated inbound campaigns
  • Building an excellent website to bring higher conversion rates

WSI Geneva in Overdrive and Racing to the Finish Line!

The biggest challenge with this project was a seamless integration of a third-party API where all the new and used cars are listed. The WSI team was able to meet the challenge, among others, and the results were outstanding. Within the first year after launching the new website, the dealership saw a 24.6% increase in organic traffic for their target market. The company also saw a 43% increase in conversions.

More than satisfied with their new website, Groupe Chevalley’s spokesperson, Olivier Evain spoke highly of Gabor and his team, “The WSI team has been particularly responsive and efficient in the design and implementation of our new website. When we hired them for this project, we had two main issues. On the one hand, our old site had become unstable and we needed to refresh our site within a particularly short period of time; as little as two months, to be precise. On the other hand, our old site had been designed mainly for aesthetic reasons and fell short in terms of functionality. The new site required a complete redesign focusing on simplicity, convenience and the overall user experience, in order to generate more sales of products and services. We didn’t need another virtual showcase; we needed a website that would bring more customers and conversions. Rethinking the design and implementing it within such a tight timeframe was a real challenge, which Gabor and his team from WSI met very successfully.

Gabor Markus is thrilled that his WSI team won this prestigious award. He says, “Working on the website development project for Groupe Chevalley was an exciting but also a very challenging task. We had very little time and a big ask from the client. The car dealership industry has some very high-quality websites and we had to do better than what is already out there. Working closely with our suppliers and associates in the WSI global network, we were able to deliver what the client wanted, on time, within their budget. Winning an award for this achievement is gratifying but more than that, it gives us the confidence that we truly are leaders in the industry. Without a doubt, we are ready and eager to take on bigger, even more challenging projects for clients across Switzerland and the rest of the world.

Check out all our 2019 WMA award winning projects from WSI here.

To speak to a WSI expert in your region, contact us today.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

How to Find the Right Email Marketing Platform for Your Business

Email on Mobile Phone

Summary: Let’s jump into a list of features you need to consider if you’re shopping around for an email marketing platform or if you’re unsure whether your current tool is cutting it. Remember, no single email platform fits all, so consider your team’s skill sets as well as your unique marketing goals.

Chances are, if you’re a business owner, you use email to engage with your audience in one way or another. After all, regardless of the size of your operation, your industry, or your technical savvy, email can be one of the most basic methods for communicating with the masses. Customer inquiries can be dealt with via email; promotional coupons and news can be shared; even invoice and payment reminders via email can vastly enhance business efficiencies. Email as a communication tool is pretty much ingrained in today’s consumer culture. Even if you personally are not the biggest champion of email marketing, odds are that a good amount of your customers depend on email. And you wouldn’t want to ostracize anyone supporting your company, right?!

Despite the prevalence of email, I cannot begin to count the number of business owners I’ve met who just don’t know how or where to get started on their email strategy. Often, the task of merely selecting the right email platform for their business is overwhelming enough to halt all progress. And that just plain sucks. Picking the right email platform is crucial to the success of your email marketing life!

Yes, this sounds slightly dramatic, I know. But email has the power to impact a customer’s trust in your brand. And where there’s trust, there’s often customer loyalty. Email is kind of a big deal, guys!

So today, let’s jump into a list of features you need to consider if you’re shopping around for an email marketing platform or if you’re unsure whether your current tool is cutting it. Remember, no single email platform fits all, so consider your team’s skill sets as well as your unique marketing goals.

Your Shopping List of Email Marketing Key Features & Functionalities 

EMAIL MARKETING DESIGN:

This first set of features is all about customizability and the need for this will vary from team to team. Perhaps you’re running a small shop and you need basic drag-and-drop design features. Or you’re leading a huge enterprise and would prefer to have full control over your email design. Take a look as some features to consider:

Template Library

If you’re not looking to build your emails from the ground up, this feature might be a must-have for you. Many platforms have pre-built templates for newsletters, promotional announcements or important notices ready for you to simply insert your own content and photos. It’s an excellent feature if your team is short on email design experience.

HTML Editor 

Most email marketing platforms will have an HTML editor, which gives you way more control over email design, especially when none of the templates are quite right. The prerequisite, of course, is HTML knowledge.

WYSIWYG Editor (“What You See Is What You Get”)

This is a visual editor, which most platforms will have. It’s simple drag-and-drop functionality helps you avoid having to recall your long-forgotten HTML skills, while still having control over your email design. It also makes it easy to manage different media (like YouTube videos or images), and manage custom formatting (like font colors or column alignment).

Image Hosting

Some platforms will allow you to upload and host your email images on their server space. Unfortunately, some providers require you to host elsewhere, independently. Think about how large your image library needs to be for your emails; you might need a platform that will supply you with more space.

DATA MANAGEMENT & PERSONALIZATION:

Personalizing your emails should be very high on your email to-do list if it isn’t already. It empowers businesses to utilize eye-catching, personalized headlines, subject lines or paragraphs based on customer data fields or past customer interactions. Likewise, data is essential to segmenting and personalizing your campaigns. An email platform should help you get the most out of your customer data. Luckily, pretty much all platforms out there will support this.

Data Merge

This is the act of pulling a data field (or several data fields) from your mailing list. For instance, you might often pull customers’ first names in order to personalize your email greeting. Essentially you can use any field in a data merge to personalize your message; like using the D.O.B. field for timely birthday greeting emails. Take note, the more robust email platforms will have data merge services that include logic to display something specific if the field is empty!

Variable Content

If you’re looking to enhance your email personalization while streamlining email creation processes, look for this feature. It allows you to display different email content based on different criteria, like a data field or any number of other conditions like click-thru interaction with a past campaign. Dynamic, custom content requires if/then statements (for example: IF customer “A” clicks the registration link, THEN send the next triggered email).

List Segmentation & Grouping

Segmenting empowers you to stay relevant to your audience by sending the right message at the right time. Bombarding your customers with emails that don’t apply to or interest them is the kiss of death when it comes to your sending reputation; it’s a surefire way to provoke unsubscribes and spam complaints. You need to match customer interests with your message. Some platforms will let you segment by data fields or by past customer interaction (like open rates). Subsequently, many platforms also have grouping features, which can be thought of as more customized segmenting based on demographics or psychographics. For example your company might find the need to group customers by their membership level, reward points tier, etc.

EMAIL DELIVERABILITY:

I’m happy to say the features in this section are very easy to come by. Today’s email platforms focus on maintaining a high level of deliverability since it’s beneficial to their reputation as well as their customers’. While you will be responsible for email design, copy, managing bounces and spam complaints, there are some supplementary tools your chosen platform will likely offer.

Spam Score Checker

This tool scans your email before you hit Send. It will flag elements that might not make it through spam filters like spammy keywords or subject lines, or your text to image ratio. A spam checker will also provide tips on how you can improve your email.

Bounce & Spam Management 

I recommend having this feature as one of your top must-haves on the shopping list. This feature automatically remove emails that have bounced or marked your content as spam in the past.Platforms that automatically suppresses a no-send list saves you time, money and further damage to your sending reputation. Attempting to resend an email to anyone who has already flagged you as spam or bounced, is one of the worst things you can do to your sending score.

ANALYTICS:

Another feature synonymous with most email platforms is analytics and reporting. However, some will provide more robust capabilities than others. Here’s what I recommend you look for in a platform:

Analytics Report
Campaign Analytics

You will more than likely get the basic reports around your campaign sends, bounces, opens, clicks, etc. Some may give you even more helpful insights like recipient geographic location, device usage, time of day of engagement, etc. The more insight you have, the better you’ll be able to benchmark.

Data Exporting

Of course, sharing your successes or identifying your challenges with other team members or stakeholders is a lot easier if you don’t have to log into your email platform every single time. Exporting your analytics reports is common across platforms and you can typically export to PDF, .csv or Excel table. Some of my favorite platforms even let you export easy-to-read graphs.

Lead Scoring

Now this, you won’t find in every email marketing platform, but it is very important if you plan to enhance your marketing automation efforts. Advance platforms provide tools that let you score your leads based on their past engagement with your campaigns. So if prospecting is key for your marketing and sales strategy, ask your email solution provider about this feature.

It can be tough weighing the pros and cons of every email marketing platform out there. If you’re shopping around for the right platform or looking to upgrade, we can help point you in the right direction.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

Site Developed by WSI Wins the Outstanding Website Award at 2019 WMAs

Terri Buseman Logo
Summary: For Terri Buseman, the new website designed by Elaine Mikesell and Andreas Mueller-Schubert from WSI is a true winner, winning Outstanding Website Award at the 2019 WMAs.

In an industry that is fiercely competitive, having a powerful web presence makes all the difference between standing out and being left behind. For Chicago Realtor, Terri Buseman, the new website designed by WSI is a true winner. Quite literally, in fact. The site won the Outstanding Website Award at the 2019 WMA WebAwards. Mikesell Digital Consulting in Chicago and WSI NextGenMarketing in Napa Valley took home the award for this category in the prestigious global website competition. Elaine Mikesell and Andreas Mueller-Schubert and their teams are proud of their achievement and delighted at the recognition.

The WMA WebAwards is a standards-defining competition that is held annually by the Web Marketing Association and sets industry benchmarks for excellence in website design. WSI has been participating in this competition since 2007 and has consistently won awards each year, achieving 100 awards in total so far.

Terri Buseman Logo

The Client’s Objectives – Stand Out, Attract, Communicate, Convert

When the client, Terri Buseman, Chicago approached WSI to redesign her Chicago real estate website, it was the start of a valuable partnership. Terri Buseman is a premier real estate broker focused on the high-end real estate market in Downtown Chicago. The client wanted to create an informative, resource-rich, and beautiful website to attract and support the high-end diverse urban real estate clients. Terri Buseman also wanted to increase their positioning in organic search and start attracting more visitors to her website. In addition, the client needed a comprehensive communications and digital marketing strategy to distinguish her brand and market her listings.

The WSI Offering

The full suite of digital marketing services in the WSI solution included:

  • Identifying the brand’s target persona
  • Structuring the website information architecture
  • Creating the logo and all brand design elements
  • Creating the brand profiles in various social networks
  • Writing optimized content
  • Designing and posting on social media as well as managing social media engagement
  • Conducting paid search campaigns (real estate specific and social media ads)
  • Building an excellent, resourceful website
  • Implementing an email marketing program
  • Designing and producing print marketing collaterals for listings (post cards, listing brochures, etc.)

WSI Loves A Good Challenge – and this Was One!

The biggest challenge with this project was to implement a cohesive marketing strategy and schedule that keeps Terri Buseman and her listings top of mind in a highly competitive real estate environment.
The WSI team surpassed those challenges very successfully. When the new website was launched, the results the client received were extremely rewarding.

  • Within the first three months of the new website going live, the traffic tripled!
  • Brand awareness and recognition for the client increased.
  • The client receives daily feedback from clients and other realtors about the quality of her website.
  • Terri receives appreciation for the professionalism of her communications and social media posts, and engagement levels are proof that it’s working.

A very satisfied Terri Buseman had no hesitation in commending WSI for its excellent work. “Elaine and Andreas presented the collective strength and collaborative effort of WSI to work as our true partners in this challenge of building a new website. They asked all the right questions, gave me all the right answers, sifted the grain from the chaff in terms of design and development ideas, and overall, did an excellent job of creating our new website. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it helps us do business better, faster and more efficiently. It also gives our clients the resources they need to conduct the life-changing transactions involved in buying o selling a house. Being chosen as one of WSI’s entry for the WMA WebAwards was an honor but winning in the Outstanding Website category is the cherry on top! Congratulations to WSI, Elaine and Andreas and their teams. If you want to elevate your company’s online presence and be more competitive in the digital world, talk to WSI.”

Elaine Mikesell and Andreas Mueller-Schubert are very pleased to have won this award, but more than that, they are excited to have a satisfied client who recommends their services. Elaine Mikesell, who is the project leader, is thrilled with the bragging rights that the team has earned with this award. She says, “Our Terri Buseman project team worked closely, doing our best to apply all the winning techniques, best practices and tools available to us through the WSI network. The suppliers and partners who worked with us also demonstrated their skill, capability and experience that served to deliver the best result for the client. We’re humbled and grateful for the award; it motivates us to continue helping our clients grow their brands and create award winning interactive assets for them.”

Check out all our 2019 WMA award winning projects from WSI here. To speak to a WSI expert in your region, contact us today.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Video Marketing

Spice Up Your Video Marketing

Summary: How are you setting yourself apart within the industry? It’s now becoming increasingly important to use video in the right way to speak to the right audiences.

For a few years now, video content has been dominating the digital marketing space and it’s not going to slow down any time soon. According to Forbes, video is expected to take up more than 80% of internet traffic this year alone. The onus is on content marketers to ensure that they’re on top of video marketing trends to stay competitive in such a fast-paced and constantly evolving landscape.

In the past, we’ve discussed ways to use video to ignite your marketing campaigns. If you’ve already explored different types of videos to build your brand, business, and bottom line, it’s time to brainstorm other unique video features to stay ahead of the competition. Keep in mind that it’s no longer enough to just use video to market your product or service. How are you setting yourself apart within the industry? It’s now becoming increasingly important to use video in the right way to speak to the right audiences.

Here are 5 ways to spice up your video marketing year:

Use Structured Data for Livestream Content

Google recently introduced a new way for online users and businesses to markup their livestreams with indexing API and structured data. These new tools help more people discover your livestream videos in Search and Assistant. A distinctive feature of this new tool is it allows your videos to show up on Google Search with a red “live” badge.

Video Marketing Example

Structured data for livestreams can be used for sporting events, awards shows, video game streams, and more.

Add Closed Captions to Improve SEO

As digital platforms become more saturated with video content, you need to be on your toes and make sure you stand out from the rest of the crowd. This means taking the extra step to understand how your target audience absorbs content. Understanding viewership is important, especially now that 85% of video is watched without sound.

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 11.50.27 PM

Adding closed captions to your videos can help enhance the viewer’s experience. This feature helps make your video content more easily digestible for your audience. Closed captions are no longer only reserved for the hard-of-hearing. In the midst of today’s hustle and bustle world, closed captions also accommodates for those who are always on the go. Plus, did you know that adding closed captions to your video content also helps improve SEO? Captioning can help search engines find your content, since it adds more text metadata which allows your videos rank higher in search queries. If you’re looking to bolster your SEO efforts, then this is the way to go.

Integrate Website Annotations to Drive Traffic

Savvy marketers are moving away from heavy-handed calls to action in their video marketing strategies. YouTube’s annotations are a unique feature that marketers can integrate into their video content without taking away from the viewer’s experience. By associating annotations to your videos, you’re able to layer text and links that help drive additional traffic to your website.

custom thumbnail for video marketing

Design Custom Thumbnails to Attract Viewers

Creating custom thumbnails for your video content plays a part in helping viewers decide whether or not they want to watch your videos. It acts as a billboard, and thumbnails that are well designed can attract and entice more viewers to click the play button and watch your content. You should always aim to design high-resolution thumbnails, incorporate a catchy headline or title, ensuring that it’s an accurate representation of your content. Video thumbnails and titles can help boost discovery, but one thing to keep in mind is to avoid misleading titles or clickbait. Be cognizant and make sure your thumbnails are reflective of the content itself and you’ll be well on your way to stepping up your video marketing game.

Create End Screens to Promote Additional Content

If you are uploading a series of videos to YouTube as a part of your video marketing strategy, creating end cards can help promote videos, playlists, and drive additional traffic to your website. This unique feature appears in the last 5 to 20 seconds of a video. End screens increase the odds of viewers watching more of your videos since you can use the end screen to link to other related content.

Video Marketing YouTube

This feature is also super customizable, so you can strategically choose which elements you want to include. I would suggest choosing elements that are relevant to the video and using different calls to action for each element. You can also time when you want certain elements to appear in your end screen card. Experiment with the timing of the different elements you want to include and see what performs best.


Now that 87% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, savvy businesses that take their video marketing above and beyond will be the ones that maintain a competitive edge. The noise and competition surrounding video marketing has definitely increased in the past year, and it’s time for businesses to invest in the right areas to stay ahead. Do your best to stay up to date with the latest trends, and keep coming back to your video marketing strategy to see how you can enhance your content and take it to the next level.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

WSI Wins 15 More WMA Awards to Bring Total to Over 100

15 Wins Social Image

Summary: WSI wins 15 WMA WebAwards in the 2019 competition, bringing  our tally to over 100 WMA Awards since 2007.

We’re proud to announce that WSI has continued its winning streak at the Web Marketing Association’s (WMA) prestigious WebAwards, taking home 15 awards in 2019. Since entering the international competition for the first time in 2007, we have racked up over 100 WMA Awards in total. This year’s winnings for WSI include awards for Best B2B Website, Best Medical Website, Best Restaurant Website, Best Home Building Website, five Outstanding Website WebAwards and six Standard of Excellence WebAwards. In addition to our 15 WMAs, the Web Marketing Association also named WSI the Top Agency for the competition, taking home more awards than any other marketing agency in 2019.

This is exciting news for the entire WSI network across the world. It’s a proud moment to be in the spotlight claiming so many WebAwards, but it is also a strong call for us to aim higher and stay at the top. These websites developed by WSI Digital Marketing Consultants and their partners in the WSI supplier marketplace are judged on several key criteria. Design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, and use of technology are evaluated by an elite group of industry leaders committed to raising the standards of excellence of web development on the Internet. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to you for leading this highly competitive, dynamic digital marketing landscape. Your efforts and accomplishments strengthen and reinforce the unstoppable WSI brand, making us the WMA’s Top Agency in 2019!

Here is a complete list of WSI winners at the WMA WebAwards 2019.

ISI CRUNCH
for Best B2B Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Gilles Dandel & Alain Petrissans

ISI Crunch for Best B2B Website


NATURAL LANDSCAPE GROUP
for Best Home Building Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Jason & Denise Gervais

Natural Landscape Group for Best Home Building

HCO CENTRO COMPLETO DE OFTALMOLOGIA
for Best Medical Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Gustavo Rabelo & Marcelo Lima Verde

HCO Centro Completo de Oftalmologia for Best Medical Website

DOWNTOWN JOE’S BREWERY AND RESTAURANT
for Best Restaurant Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Andreas and Georgia Mueller-Schubert & Maria Pavlou

Downtown Joes Brewery and Restaurant for Best Restaurant Website

GROUPE CHEVALLEY
for Outstanding Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Gabor Markus

Groupe Chevalley for Outstanding Website

HERNIA CARE
for Outstanding Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Marco Marmo

Hernia Care for Outstanding Website

TERRI BUSEMAN – CHICAGO REALTOR
for Outstanding Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Elaine Mikesell and Andreas Mueller-Schubert

Terri Buseman - Chicago Realtor for Outstanding Website

FOCAL POINTE EYE CARE
for Outstanding Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Gunnar & Leslie Hood

Focal Pointe Eye Care - blog

MISTASSINI LAKE OUTFITTING CAMPS
for Outstanding Website
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Chris Murray, Laurie McCullagh

Mistassini Lake Outfitting Camps -blog

JOHN ERIC | TREVOR MOORE & ASSOCIATES
for Real Estate Standard of Excellence
WSI Digital Marketing Consultant: Alison Lindemann

John Eric | Trevor Moore & Associates for Real Estate Standard of Excellence

CHURCH’S CHICKEN CANADA
for Restaurant Standard of Excellence
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Sharon Herrnstein and Ariel Sanchez

Churchs Chicken Canada for Restaurant Standard of Excellence

HERJAVEC GROUP
for Technology Standard of Excellence
WSI Digital Marketing Consultant: Peter Jasniewski

Herjavec Group for Technology Standard of Excellence

ILLUMINATE HOLLYWOOD
for Entertainment Standard of Excellence
WSI Digital Marketing Consultant: Alison Lindemann

Illuminate Hollywood for Entertainment Standard of Excellence

HELPING HANDS DOULA
for Healthcare Provider Standard of Excellence
WSI Digital Marketing Consultant: Peter Jasniewski

Helping Hands Doula for Healthcare Provider Standard of Excellence

LMIC – LABOUR MARKET INFORMATION COUNCIL
for Non-Profit Standard of Excellence
WSI Digital Marketing Consultants: Mark & Kimberly Jamieson

Labour Market Information Council for Non-Profit Standard of Excellence

 

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

4 Tips for Choosing Topics for Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing Topics

Summary: Documenting your content strategy goes beyond the surface of what content you’re creating. You need to ask yourself why you’re creating it, who you’re creating it for, what channels you’ll use to support and how it will support your content marketing strategy.

Do you ever feel unsure about what content to create and share? Do you find it hard to keep a constant stream of ideas flowing? It can get difficult and exhausting when you constantly have to think about new content that your audience craves. Do not fret, we’ve all been there! There will come a time when we start running out of ideas, but it’s not the end of the world. Pause for a moment, take a step back, and re-evaluate your content marketing strategy before moving forward again.

Right Content Marketing Topics

Documenting your content strategy goes beyond the surface of what content you’re creating. You need to ask yourself why you’re creating it, who you’re creating it for, what channels you’ll use to support and how it will support your content marketing strategy. Did you know that only 42% of content marketers document their content marketing strategy?

If you’re feeling stuck, here are 4 tips for choosing the right topics for your content:

Define and understand your organizational goals

Choosing the right topics and setting the right goals for your content starts with setting a strong foundation and gaining a solid understanding of your organizational goals. Why do you have a content marketing strategy in the first place? For many B2B and B2C companies and brands, the leading organizational goals could be lead generation, increasing brand awareness, driving engagement, you name it. This is a good starting point, and depending on the goals and needs of your particular organization, various types of content marketing are available to choose from.

Use your analytics

After looking back at the organizational goals for your content marketing strategy, make use of your analytics to pinpoint what your audience likes. If you ever feel stuck choosing the right topics for your content, select your top-performing content pieces and try a new spin on an old favorite.

Analytics can help guide your decision making when it comes to your content marketing strategy. A useful tool that many businesses are exploring nowadays is a fully integrated content management system (CMS). For instance, Hubspot’s content management system allows content marketers to create and manage their content at ease, optimize their content to drive results, and track the performance of their content.

You can also access your social media insights and analytics to make informed decisions when brainstorming new content ideas. Once you’ve identified your top posts, see if there is a common topic among them. Does a particular content type (e.g. text, image, video) consistently perform better than others? You may also want to analyze the level of engagement (e.g. likes, comments) on these posts.

Ask your audience

Asking your audience is another tip to help you choose the right topics for your content. At the end of the day, your audience are the people engaging with your content, so it’s important to know what type of content they are craving want to see.

There are multiple ways you can go about this. It can be as simple as setting up a poll or posting a question on one of your social media channels. Ask your followers what type of content they want to see and leave room for open-ended replies.

You can also let your FAQs help create blog topics. Taking a look at your most frequently asked questions from your target audience can help you choose the right topics for your content marketing strategy. Even when you feel like you’re running out of ideas and content, FAQs tend to evolve with trends. As time passes, the FAQs will change, shining light on new trends, challenges, and topics you can potentially address.

The role of the customer is changing and it’s time to allow your audience to play a part in shaping your content marketing strategy.

Define a goal for each individual content piece

For each content piece you create, evaluate the topic and see how it stacks up to each of your organizational goals. This will also help you select the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and measure. For instance, if lead generation is your leading organizational goal, the content goal should be aimed at appealing to the customer at different stages of their buying journey. In this case, content types could include creating e-books, white papers, or case studies. If sales is also one of your top organizational goals, it’s import that the content you choose moves the sales needle. Good content that moves the sales needle doesn’t just inform, it builds trust.

Let’s say brand awareness is another one of your company’s organizational goals. In this instance, your content goal might be to generate referral traffic. Possible content types to consider are guest posts or influencer content. For example, collaborating with micro-influencers can help you cast a wider net to increase your brand visibility.

It’s important that the topics you choose align with your organizational goals in order to deliver an effective content marketing strategy.


Mapping out and choosing the right topics for your content marketing strategy takes strategic planning. Get to know what content performs well and what your audience engages with the most. Don’t forget to document your content marketing strategy and make tweaks along the way as content trends evolve. Choosing the right topics is fundamental to developing and driving an effective content marketing strategy.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

WSI Named Top Agency by Web Marketing Association

Trophy Image

Summary: WSI brings home 15 more WMA WebAwards in the 2019 competition and earns Top Agency Award recognition.

WSI is proud to announce that we have been crowned the Top Agency by the Web Marketing Association. The Top Agency Award recognizes the consistently outstanding development going on at interactive firms. WSI outranked its global competition and won the most WebAwards in this year’s WMA WebAward competition.

Overall WSI won 15 awards in the 2019 WebAwards including Best B2B Website, Best Medical Website, Best Restaurant Website, Best Home Building Website, five Outstanding Website WebAwards, and six Standard of Excellence WebAwards. The addition of these awards brings WSI’s total WMA Award tally to over 100 and reaffirms its place among the leading web development agencies of the world.  

WSI’s global WSI network of Digital Marketing Agencies helps thousands of businesses and organizations in various industries, maximize the potential of the internet for business growth and profitability. Receiving this award for Top Agency in WMA’s prestigious annual Web Development Competition makes all of us extremely happy and proud. But more than that, it bestows on us the ongoing and exciting responsibility to continuously raise the bar and set new standards for our clients. We would never have been able to achieve this recognition without the tremendous support and close teamwork of our Consultants, suppliers, partners, employees, and customers. It’s time to say a big “Thank You and cheers” to the incredible WSI team.

The WebAward Competition is the premier showcase for website development in more than 96 industry categories. WSI has been entering into the awards competition since 2007. Their trophy mantel now includes a Top Agency award, 5 Outstanding Development awards, and over 100 individual WMA Awards. 

About WSI

WSI is the world’s largest network of Digital Marketing Consultants with its head office in Toronto, Canada. WSI Digital Marketing Consultants have helped over 100,000 businesses with their online marketing strategies. By using innovative Internet technologies and advanced digital marketing tactics, businesses can have a WSI Digital Marketing Plan tailored to their individual needs and help elevate their Internet presence and profitability to new levels. In 2019, WSI was named the Top Agency and received 15 Awards at the Annual WebAwards organized by the Web Marketing Association (WMA), bringing their total WMA Award tally to over 100. With the support and cooperation of its customers, Consultant network, employees, suppliers, and charitable organizations, WSI as a collective organization is dedicated to helping make child poverty history through its global outreach program makechildpovertyhistory.org. For more information about WSI’s offerings and business opportunities, please visit our website at wsiebizsolutions.net

The WSI blog offers insightful digital marketing tips, strategies and ideas. You can also follow WSI on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

The Role of the Customer is Changing – Are You Ready?

The Changing Role of The Customer
Summary: Through building a collaborative culture, companies and brands are able to unlock the potential to accommodate to the changing role of the customer.

The role of the customer is changing. Nowadays, customers hold higher expectations for the companies and brands they support and work with, especially due to the amount of easily accessible information and data out there. Everyday consumers are also making an effort to support purpose-driven brands, which plays a significant role in affecting their consumer behaviors and purchasing decisions.

customer role is changing how to pay for products and services

As a result, companies and brands are no longer building their marketing strategy solely around the goal to accelerate business acquisitions anymore. They are now looking deeper into creating connected experiences with the help of data, insights, and by leveraging new tools such as automation and intelligence. These tools and resources are extremely helpful to ensure that their marketing efforts are helping their brand stay relevant to their customers.

There is an increasing emphasis on the customer experience

As I mentioned earlier, customers’ expectations are changing the way many companies and brands do business. More importantly, it is changing the way many companies and brands do marketing. Customers expect businesses and brands to know exactly what they want and they are seeking meaningful and relevant interactions.

There is now a stronger emphasis on the customer experience (CX) and it is becoming increasingly important within the realm of marketing. It’s time to shift your mindset and start approaching your marketing efforts with a “customer first” mindset.

With that, more and more people have been talking about the importance of data and its positive impact on enhancing the customer experience. Data-driven businesses are on the rise and many of them are exploring and using data-driven creativity to map out their customer journey. As a result, this helps brands manage customers’ expectations and create an engaging experience. Through building a collaborative culture, companies and brands are able to unlock the potential to accommodate to the changing role of the customer.

How can companies and brands stay relatable to their customers in 2019 and beyond?

Now that we’ve discussed the “what”, it’s time to discuss the “how”. With the changing role of the customer, how can companies and brands stay relatable to their customers in 2019 and beyond?

Create targeted in-depth customer profiles

Now that the focus has shifted to the customer, it’s important to take the time to create targeted, in-depth customer profiles. Getting into the habit of doing this will help you gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, what your customers like and don’t like, and how you can formulate and segment your marketing strategy for different targeted audiences.

Customer Personas

Elements to consider when creating customer profiles can include:

  • Age or age range
  • Gender
  • Geographical location
  • Level of education
  • Occupation
  • General income level
  • Lifestyle & hobbies
  • Shopping habits

Conduct A/B tests to figure out what works and what doesn’t

Using cross-channel data to design, personalize, and test different marketing campaigns can result in positive outcomes when it comes to reaching and engaging with customers. This may also be an opportune time to experiment with conducting A/B tests to help potential customers move more effectively through the marketing funnel.

Work with a marketing agency to help manage customer expectations

There may be instances when it becomes hard to keep up with increased customer expectations, especially if you have a relatively small marketing team and limited resources. With increasing demands from customers, it may be beneficial to consider outsourcing your digital marketing efforts to help manage customers’ expectations. Based on Glassdoor data from 2018, the national average salary for a digital marketing manager can be as steep as $77,015 for just one employee. If you think about it, adding a whole in-house team of marketing experts would cost anywhere between $700,000 to over $1,000,000 annually.

The Changing Role of The Customer

It’s important to identify any gaps within your marketing department and consider key factors when comparing in-house marketing teams against outsourced marketing agencies. Working with an outsourced marketing agency is beneficial if you require:

  • The need for wide-ranging skill sets
  • A desire to keep a competitive edge with industry best practices
  • A larger network of brainpower
  • Access to tools and platforms

Often times, many business owners and solopreneurs go at their digital marketing efforts alone. With the role of the customer changing, it may become slightly challenging and overwhelming. Working with a marketing agency is better than going at it alone because it solves the “time is money” problem, it keeps you out of the sell-do loop, and it provides knowledge (and we all know that knowledge is power).


As you continue to revolve your digital marketing efforts around your customers, think of different ways you can manage their expectations. The role of the customer will only become more significant from here on out. Make sure you invest in the right tools and resources and put your best foot forward.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

 

5 Tips to Grow Your Online Reputation and Brand on LinkedIn

linkedin online reputation
Summary: As you become more active on LinkedIn, push and challenge your boundaries to brainstorm new and innovative ways to continue growing your company’s online reputation and brand.

LinkedIn has become a vital social media tool for brands and businesses. Your customers and prospective customers are on LinkedIn. Your investors and key stakeholders are on LinkedIn. Your employees and potential employees are on LinkedIn. With that, reputation management has become a crucial part of many businesses’ LinkedIn strategy.

Why is it important to grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn?

According to Hootsuite, as the top-rated social network for lead generation, LinkedIn has become one of the most important social media platforms to invest in. Maintaining your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn can help build leads organically, grow your professional reputation, and increase your brand’s credibility and trust.

Now that it’s time to up your game on LinkedIn, the first step is to make sure your Company Page is detailed and up-to-date. This is crucial if you’re looking to grow your audience and drive positive business results. With over 562 million users on LinkedIn, a detailed Company Page allows users to learn about your business, your brand, and job opportunities within your company. It is also a great platform to demonstrate your brand’s thought leadership to your audience.

Having an incomplete LinkedIn Company Page won’t attract as many users to your page. Here are 5 tips to grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn:

Tip #1: Ensure that branding is consistent across LinkedIn

In order to grow your online reputation on LinkedIn, you need to ensure that your company’s branding is consistent across the platform. Many businesses and brands are actively using LinkedIn as a brand building tool. This means making sure that the branding on your LinkedIn page mirrors the branding on your company’s website. Make sure you include your logo, company description and a banner image to establish and sustain your company’s professional presence. This plays a fundamental role in acquiring new clients and retaining old ones.

Tip #2: Incorporate rich-content features

LinkedIn has become one of the top social media platforms for businesses and brands to demonstrate their thought leadership and expertise. If you’re looking to continually grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn, it’s important to evaluate and brainstorm the breadth and variety of content you are sharing on your company’s page.

What type of content will appeal to and grow your LinkedIn audience? What do your followers want to know? These are key questions you should be constantly asking yourself. With that, a great tip to grow your online reputation is to incorporate rich-content features in your LinkedIn content strategy.

Nike does an excellent job of maintaining a strong online reputation and brand on LinkedIn. They’re consistently incorporating rich media to tell their brand’s story in an engaging and compelling way.

Nike LinkedIn online reputation

Incorporating rich media allows businesses and brands to offer a “richer” and more dynamic user experience.This encompasses any and all content that deviate from the generic static images and text. For example, videos are a key example rich media content that you can use to ignite your marketing campaigns. Just like how videos can increase engagement with your blog posts, it can also increase engagement on your LinkedIn page. Other forms of rich media content include podcasts, e-books, whitepapers, and any other interactive content.

Tip #3: Make use of your existing content streams

Don’t know what type of content to post on your LinkedIn company page to grow your online reputation? It’s time to be resourceful! Do a content audit on the different platforms that you are already active on and repost content that have performed well on those platforms to LinkedIn. What content received the most Facebook or Twitter likes? Which posts had the most retweets or replies? Taking content from existing content streams can help build your brand on LinkedIn and can help you gain access to a whole new audience.

Tip #4: Experiment with sponsored updates

Screen Shot 2019-08-08 at 11.10.51 PM

Sponsored updates are a unique feature offered by LinkedIn for companies who want to boost their posts on the LinkedIn platform. It provides companies with the opportunity to reach a wider audience beyond just their followers. Similar to Facebook or Instagram advertising or boosted posts, sponsored updates on LinkedIn allow you to expand your reach and target specific audiences.

Tip #5: Participate in key groups and encourage colleagues/employees to connect

Growing your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn is a two-way street. Not only do you have to make sure your company page is always up-to-date and populated with relevant content. It is also key to get involved within the LinkedIn community. This means participating in LinkedIn groups and communities and joining in the conversations within and across your network. This can help build a closer relationship between your brand and your audience.

LinkedIn online reputation

Another tip to grow your online reputation and brand on LinkedIn is to encourage your colleagues and employees to connect and engage on the platform. A collective effort goes a long way, and your brand has much wider exposure when colleagues and employees also actively put in the effort to maintain the business or brand’s image.


As you become more active on LinkedIn, push and challenge your boundaries to brainstorm new and innovative ways to continue growing your company’s online reputation and brand. Take the time to see what other businesses and brands are doing, and don’t hesitate to find and experiment with new tactics.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.

 

 

The CCPA is Changing How Consumer Data is Handled – Is Your Businesses Affected?

Consumer Data Protection
Summary: The California Consumer Privacy Act requires businesses to protect personal information for California consumers. That means implementing privacy policies, security protections and ensuring consumer rights.

California is known for having complex regulations. The state is not afraid to experiment with regulatory procedures, making it difficult for some businesses to keep up. For example, following the approval of the General Data Protection Regulation by the EU Parliament (read more about the responsibilities of a Controller, Processor, and Data Protection Officer according to the GDPR), California proceeded with data privacy legislation and rolled out the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a law that affects businesses that collect personal data.

Now that this law has been passed, it has prompted other states to consider something similar. For example, Mississippi proposed a replica of the CCPA, though it died in committee earlier this year. Other states that have proposed laws on data privacy include Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts.

What do these privacy laws mean for your small business? Let’s learn more about the CCPA, how it may affect your business and how to prepare for the future.

What is the CCPA?

The CCPA is a bill that goes into effect in 2020 and requires businesses to protect the personal information they obtain from California consumers. This includes privacy policies, security protections and consumer rights. According to the CCPA website, consumers have the right to the following:

  • Right to know all data being collected and why
  • Right to refuse the sale of their information
  • Right to have their data deleted
  • Right to opt-in before the sale of information of children under 16
  • Right to know when data is shared with third parties

Not all consumer requests have to be followed, but those that are reasonable and applicable should. Businesses have 45 days to respond to consumer requests, and any damages that occur due to a breach can cost a business up to $7,500 USD per customer.

Who Does the CCPA Affect?

Any business that earns $25M USD in revenue each year, sells 50,000 consumer records per year or gets 50% of its revenue from selling personal information must follow the guidelines in the CCPA.

Under this criteria, most small businesses are excluded from the CCPA. According to this article, the average annual revenue for a small business is less than $25M USD. But, does this mean that small businesses won’t be held accountable? No. Small businesses should start thinking about how data is handled within their company.

In fact, all businesses should start reviewing how customer data is handled, as the CCPA is impacting other states to consider passing these types of laws. For the most part, state legislators are embracing the language in the CCPA and other similar laws. The definition of “consumer” is broadened and more rights are given to consumers.

What if Your Business isn’t in California?

Even if your business is not in the state, the laws still apply to you if you have customers there. With the new laws in place, you will need to change the way you collect and handle all of your consumer data, or you will need to handle Californians’ data differently.

The latter option will probably prove more difficult and expensive, as this will be an entirely separate group of data. It’s best to move in the direction of handling all customer data in the same manner, in compliance with the CCPA, as this is how things will eventually be. As a business, protecting consumer information should be a priority, whether or not there are laws forcing you to do so. Taking these initiatives today will help you prepare for the future and earn the trust of your customers.

What Can Your Small Business Do to Prepare?

The CCPA goes into effect January 1, 2020, so businesses need to get ready for the law as they will need to be able to respond on January 1, 2020 to consumer inquiries about their data. Many businesses are already reviewing personal data processing, information security and access requests.

No matter what state you are in, you should be taking the appropriate steps to protect customer data. As more states crack down on how consumer information is handled, it might not be long before your state follows suit. Rather than scrambling to get things in order, an early start will give your business time to understand the privacy regulations modeled in the CCPA.

Here are some of the things you can start doing to prepare your small business for a changing data privacy landscape:

  • Publicly post a notice disclosing what information is being collected by your business, how it’s being used and to whom it will be sold
  • Create a simple opt-out process for the sale of personal information
  • Be prepared to delete all personal information if the customer requests that you do so
  • You cannot discriminate against those who exercise their right under the CCPA (e.g., charging extra fees to these customers)
Consumer Data protected by business

Final Thoughts

Whether your business is big or small, you should take the regulations in the CCPA seriously. This bill has been well-received by state legislators and will likely serve as the foundation for other states’ proposed laws. Plus, if you have customers that come from California, you are legally required to handle their information according to the CCPA come January 1st, 2020.

While small businesses may not face all of the compliance burdens as larger businesses, they could face some. Rather than looking at this as a headache, look at this as an opportunity to improve the safety and protection of your consumers. Now is the time to talk to your digital marketing agency to discuss how you can best protect consumer data.

30 ways to generate more leads free ebook

WSI was founded in 1995 and is an innovative digital marketing agency with offices in over 80 countries. We’ve spent over 20 years helping more than 100,000 companies and large global brands unlock the full potential of their business by leveraging the Internet and its many unrecognized opportunities. We’d be happy to help do the same for you and consult on your digital marketing strategy.  Simply give me a call or email me at rknutsen@wsiebizsolutions.net to learn more.