Simple Machines Marketing

Marketing, Simplified

Marketing in the 21st century can be really confusing. With so many channels and trends, it's easy to lose sight of your strategy. This is a blog about solving marketing problems by going back to the basics.


Google Rank: The Harsh Truth About Getting To Page One

We often hear from business owners who are anxious to be ranked at the top of the first page of Google for the keywords they are targeting. We can’t blame them – being one of the first search results that a person sees can be huge for a business (especially when you consider the fact that only 8.5% of online search traffic makes it to the second page of results in their Google search). But is it realistic to expect that your website can get to page one of Google? While achieving a high-ranking spot on Google is a worthwhile aspiration, the sobering fact is that it is often a difficult and long process to get there – if you can make it there at all. Google uses 200 different factors to determine your website’s rank: from the obvious factors (like keyword density) to the more surprising factors (like linking domain age), it can be over... Read more »


How to Use Emotion to Tell Your Small Business's Story

If you’re a small business owner, you have probably wondered how to pique interest from your target audience—without spending a great deal of money. One of the best ways to get people to care about your company is to tell a compelling story. What makes a story compelling? Emotion. We all love stories – we’re born for them At its conception, the phenomenon that would come to be known as “social media” seemed to be the answer businesses big and small had been waiting for: large, detailed sets of customers actively engaged in an accessible platform. As we now know, social media plays a huge role in marketing for brands. With most brands recognizing and utilizing social media, it can feel overwhelming trying to make your brand’s voice heard. Regardless of whether you choose to use paid advertising or simply sha... Read more »


5 Tips to Improve Your Mobile Website Conversion Rates

Mobile optimization, the creation or editing of mobile websites to ensure that they look great and function properly on all mobile devices, can make or break your chances of converting mobile users. With the majority of American adults now owning smartphones (58% as of January 2014, according to the Pew Research Center), it’s crucial that your website is not only search engine optimized, but that it is also conversion optimized, as well. Conversion optimization is the method of creating an experience for a website visitor with the end goal of increasing the percentage of visitors that convert into customers. Websites that have been properly conversion optimized will experience conversion rates worth getting excited about. Have you optimized your website for mobile, but struggled to see any payoff in terms of your conve... Read more »


How Website Encryption Will Affect SEO

Google to begin factoring HTTPS encryption in search rankings  In a move to promote better online security practices, Google has announced that it will start using website encryption as a ranking signal. While encryption will be a lightweight signal at first – affecting less than 1% of global queries initially – the move by the search giant likely forecasts lower search rankings for sites that fail to make the security update. Website encryption is normally depicted with a padlock in the URL bar and https://at the beginning of a URL. This step by Google is designed to motivate developers to employ HTTPS – or TLS (Transport Layer Security) which uses digital certificates to encrypt traffic and secure information shared over the domain. Google hopes to have everyone   on the web using HTTPS on the... Read more »


How to Eliminate Copy That is Scaring Off Your Customers

Have you ever landed on a website, interested in purchasing a service from a company, only to be overwhelmed by the volume and organization of information? How quickly did you exit out of the tab? One of the more damaging mistakes a small business owner or marketer can make is being too verbose. You surely have incredible amounts of knowledge and passion to share about your business, but your potential customer is probably not interested in hearing it. Don’t take it personally. Much like you, they’ve got busy lives and would prefer to just get straight to the point. Consider this: a visitor lands on your website, after doing a quick search for a local floral shop. Ready to purchase flowers for their mother, they are inundated with a novella’s worth of copy. The visitor doesn’t want to spend much time searching... Read more »


Why You Need Must-Have Marketing Milestones

We’ve touched on the process for assessing marketing channels a number of times on this blog – looking at how to calculate marketing ROI and how to assess social media success. These posts look at how to assess marketing on a channel-by-channel basis, but what about assessing the success of a longer term marketing plan with several moving parts? In my experience with clients, I’ve found that the key here is to define what “success” looks like upfront – and part of this is differentiating the things that you want from your marketing from the things that you need. About that project plan… Assume you’ve recently signed on with a marketing agency. After the initial discovery phase, the agency comes back to you with pages and pages of research, recommendations and – finally – a project plan. Let’s say our hypothe... Read more »


Guest Blogging Simplified: Avoiding Google Penalization

This week, Google started taking action against guest blogging websites found to be in violation of their SEO guidelines, following through on the warnings issued starting in January. This situation has left SEOs questioning whether or not this spells the end of guest blogging. Search Rankings Gone Bad: The Effect Google’s Matt Cutts announced on Monday morning the search engine’s penalization of a “large guest blog network” via Twitter. It was later confirmed that, the penalized site, took a big hit in search rankings. Even when searched by name, the domain is no longer visible in search – with the exception of paid advertising.  Not only has MyBlogGuest taken a hit, so have the publishers of their content. Search Engine Land alone received 215 comments regarding publishers wh... Read more »


How to Create a Quality Twitter Following

With 78% of small businesses gaining new customers via social media, there’s no surprise that Twitter is at the top of just about every small business owner’s mind. One of the most common things we hear from our clients is that they know they should be on Twitter but don’t think they have the time or resources to make it worth the effort. In fact, as a small business owner, you should already have one of the most important resources you need for Twitter: your mission statement. Twitter is a vehicle to help share and advance the mission of your organization, to grow awareness surrounding it and to engage others who may find it relevant. By sticking to your mission and leveraging resources available to you, you can develop a quality following that won’t monopolize your time or break your budget.  Quality Foll... Read more »


How to Assess Social Media Campaigns

If you’re not measuring your social media marketing returns, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey by Tata Consultancy Services, 44% of companies surveyed reported that they do not have mechanisms in place to measure the impact of their social media efforts. By comparison, about 18% reported negative returns on their social media investments, while 38% saw positive returns. Unlike some more traditional marketing channels that lend themselves to relatively concrete cost-benefit analyses, social media comes with a host of unknowns and gray areas, making a direct assessment of this sort virtually impossible. While you may not be able to calculate an exact ROI, this doesn’t mean you can’t quantify the results and measure the impact of your social media campaigns. Yes, you’ll have to accept a certain level of... Read more »


How Small Businesses Can Harness the Potential of Tumblr

(Today's guest post comes from Bernadette Coleman, who shares some of the benefits of using Tumblr along with tactics for getting the most from this platform.) With so many social media and blogging platforms available, it can be overwhelming for businesses to decide which should be used to showcase their brands. While Facebook and Twitter are often the first places brands turn to, Tumblr is also an effective channel for many small businesses. This 77 million-strong blogging platform attracts an average of nearly 4.5 billion impressions on a weekly basis. Tumblr is a free micro-blogging platform that can serve as a powerful tool in promoting brand awareness. Tumblr’s primary users are young people around the age of 25. If your brand focus is on this market segment, you can’t afford to miss out on this channel.... Read more »

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