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Client Spotlight: Advanced Insulation

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Sep
15

I’m pretty darned excited to have had the chance to work with talented local Winnipeg graphic designers, One+One Design. They provided me with beautiful, detailed design for their Spray Foam Insulation client, Advanced Insulation, that was a dream to program.

We turned their design into a WordPress-powered site so that the client had full reign to update his page. Who knew spray foam could be so beautiful ;) Evan at Advanced Insulation is already feeling at ease updating the News section on his site. We’re also working together to improve his organic search rankings while optimizing his Google Adwords account at the same time.

Thanks to both One+One and Advanced for the fantastic team effort!

Advanced Spray Foam Insulation Website

 

Facebook Ads Introduces Broad Targeting

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Jul
11

Last week, Facebook’s advertising platform introduced Broad Targeting. This has been a long time coming for sure! If you’ve used Facebook’s interest targeting before (now called Precise Interest Targeting), you understand my frustration in trying to come up with keyword lists that match a certain profile.

Facebook Ads are ideal for wedding photographers to target their clientele.. it’s actually almost too easy for them: Target: Winnipeg Relationship status: Engaged. Done.

But, when we get into targeting, say, mothers of toddles like I’m currently doing for a client, things get a little more complicated since that information isn’t as readily available (or obvious) on a profile.

We have a few options to reach this target:

  1. target ALL women who are married between the ages of 25 – 40 (making very general assumptions)
  2. create a keyword list of possible interests amongst mothers of toddlers (with Facebook’s help, we get suggestions of keywords. OR even better, you can get some specific common interest from the Insight data of your business’ Facebook Page)
  3. using Facebook’s newest feature, Broad Interest Targeting, we can simply select “Parents of children 0-3”

 

Facebook rewards relevancy

With traditional marketing (billboards, radio etc..), we have to basically target larger demographics and hope that our ads are relevant to enough to those who see it in order to receive a return on our investment. However, Facebook is smarter than your average ad platform and is able to reward the advertiser for its relevancy. The more relevant your ad to the people you’re showing it to, the less you pay for your clicks. The less relevant, the more you’ll have to pay — and can result in eventually not even showing your ads at all. This is easily measured by simple math that we call your CTR (click through rate). CTR = number of clicks / number of impressions (times your ad has been seen)

While I was so excited about the new broad targeting, I can already see that it has its flaws still.  I recently updated a campaign where I was targeting a long string of researched keywords to target these mothers of toddlers to simply target Parents of children 0-3 and have been disappointed by the results so far.

Facebook Ads Introduces Broad Targeting

I’m tweaking the campaign yet (which is continually the case with any pay-per-click advertising).. but, my hand-crafted keyword list is still resulting in over 2x the CTR (and therefore cheaper clicks for my client) that the new broad match system is getting. What does that tell me?  Facebook isn’t perfect and the easy solution isn’t always the best one.

I suspect that we’ll see the new feature improve over time as Facebook Ads has proven to continuously roll out new features. Facebook is still one of my top ad platform choices for many B2C clients.

I  look forward to keeping you updated on the results of this campaign!

Who are you wanting to target with your Facebook Ads?

 

Internet Shopping Security Check

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Apr
9

It’s difficult sometimes to resist a good deal online from sites claiming to sell wholesale wedding dresses, cheap designer sunglasses, travel deals.. you name it. If you want it, there are websites selling it – sometimes at too-good-to-be-true prices.  I LOVE online shopping. I actually successfully did most of my Christmas shopping online last year.  But, how do you know when an e-commerce site is a scam?

There are a few things you can do in order to protect your money online and to research e-commerce sites before you hand over your credit card number to a scammer.  I was actually victim to credit card fraud a few months ago, likely ripped off on a legitimate website that didn’t have proper security in place.

Here are a couple of things you can do to protect yourself and make smart Internet shopping decisions:

Judge a site by its design

It sounds kind of silly – but judging a site by how it looks can give you an indication of whether or not the site is legit pretty easily. Scammers are lazy and cheap. They aren’t going to hire a web designer to build a pretty site for them because they know it won’t be long until they get shut down. Their goal is not to sell to everyone that comes to the site.. just a few suckers that are willing to hand over their credit card numbers. Irresistible deals and time limits on a deal are big indicators that the scammer is wanting you to make an impulse purchase.

Also, look at things like the contact information — a Hotmail address is a warning sign again that you are dealing with someone trying to stay anonymous.

Payment Processing

I know a lot of people (including myself) have used the little security lock in the address bar as an indication of a secure site. This isn’t enough.. After having my card ripped off recently, I now ONLY purchase from sites that use a third-party payment processor such as PayPal. This ensures that the merchant doesn’t actually ever see your credit card number. Use your judgement on well-known larger sites that do have their own processing — but be cautious on smaller sites. Even if the web store is legitimate, often the site owner may not have invested much into creating a secure shopping cart and there’s a hacker lurking about waiting for transactions to process through this vulnerable site.

IP lookup

This is a little bit more technical, but someone with a web background can help you with this. If you’re on a Mac, using the Terminal application, type in: “dig websitedomain.com” (replace websitedomain.com with the website in question). You’ll get some juicy info here that tells you where the site is hosted. Why is this important? Well, sadly, most (not all) scam sites are in countries such as China or India. The US and Canada do a pretty good job of shutting down fraudsters that are hosting in North America — but have no control over hosts in foreign countries. You’ll see some IP addresses in the dig (IP addresses look something like this: 11.11.111.111). There may be more than one — I usually play it safe and type each of them into an IP Address lookup site. If a Chinese country flag shows up.. steer clear.

Better Business Bureau

Lastly, a really great resource is the Better Business Bureau website. You can lookup the phone number or web address associated with the business. F is for fail ;)

I hope this helps. Happy shopping!

SEO Monday Morning Results (Nerd Warning)

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Mar
1

One of my favourite weekly tasks is to check the search engine rankings of a few of my on-going client’s sites.  {Insert geek comments here}… Whatever lights my fire, right?

I have two SEO case studies to share today.

The first is a new-old client (huh?) that needed some help after her new site launched just over a month ago. Nicole Harris of Maverick Media Solutions knew that her site needed an update. She hired Elemental Motion Media (that’s where my “old” relationship with Nicole came in) to help her re-brand her online presence. Love what they did with the site — taking her from a Flash-based site (which was difficult to update) and onto a WordPress based site with a blog etc..

Shortly after launching, Nicole and the folks at Elemental noticed that her site had completely fallen off the Google search rankings.  So what happened?

Maverick Media – Historical Reputation and Title Tag Tweaks

When you change your website — anything from moving hosts to a re-design to adding or removing large amounts of content — your search rankings are going to be affected. Sometimes for the better.. but often there’s a drop, at least temporarily. Basically, when you change your site, you’re telling Google that the content they previously had indexed for your site is gone.. or changed.. or moved. Your old reputation with them for any particular search term gets shaken up a bit.

There are some things you can do in order to not create such a disturbance in your ranking such as 301 redirects which tell search engines that the old stuff can now be found somewhere else.  I highly recommend doing this — but it doesn’t work in all cases – particularly if in the case of a Flash site, only the home page was indexed.

Even though Nicole had a Flash website that didn’t allow much SEO juice to flow through it, she had a reputation with Google just for having been an “established” site. I’m not 100% sure what her rankings were before the new site launch, but no matter the rankings, it would have been very difficult to improve them from where she was with her old Flash site.

Plus, Google announced this week that they’ve made some major algorithm changes this week that favour well-populated sites. So, good move Nicole.

A couple of simple tweaks in the way her titles and anchor tags were structured and she’s back in the game! We’re still working to improve the rankings beyond what you see here — SEO can take weeks to have any affect. But I’m happy with the results so far! (note: A decline in the graph is a good thing!!! We want the rankings to be as close to #1 as possible) Also, Nicole does a great job with updating her blog — fresh, relevant content — always good for SEO.

Maverick Media SEO

 

 

 

Video Re-Fit — WHERE ARE YOU?

When I met Gord Turnbull at my Social Media for Small Business class in the fall, we established something very early on that has changed his 25+ year old business: The Internet.  Ok, that’s obvious.. but from Gord’s perspective, he’s seeing too many flat panel tvs in landfills that could have very well been fixed for a couple hundred dollars.  What a waste.. However, we also established that the tv owners don’t head straight for the dump — they Google it first (perhaps on their smart phones on the way to the dump.. but that’s the process for the most part…)

With a newly structured site, we’re focusing on SEO all the way. People need to find the Video Re-Fit Shop’s website when their tv is broken.. period.

Here are his improved results after only one week:

SEO - Search Engine Optimization for a business in Winnipeg

Starting On the Right Foot…

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Feb
23

Fuze Thru Shoes

You can’t help but be inspired by people like Shea Kosokowsky. A grade 12 student here in Winnipeg, Shea spent a portion of her teenage life travelling the world. What she learned through these experiences, couldn’t be taught in a classroom.

Something Shea noticed in many countries, was the fact that there are so many kids that don’t have shoes. Who would notice that but a young teenage fashionista?

With the last Spring Break of high school life approaching, most teens are looking to hang out with friends for a last hoorah. But not Shea.  She spending her Spring Break with her friend Zac, delivering shoes to kids in Peru that they’ve collected from Winnipeg schools.

There’s no doubt that this kind of humanitarianism is so admirable. These two are certainly starting their adult lives on the right foot.  I want to wish her and Zac all the best on their trip. This is one Spring Break they will soon not forget!  Visit their website to learn more and follow their adventure: www.fuzethrushoes.com

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