Category Archives: Blog

How To Determine A Social Media Strategy For Your Franchise Business-315

How To Determine A Social Media Strategy For Your Franchise Business

How To Determine A Social Media Strategy For Your Franchise Business-315
Starting a franchise might seem like an excellent way to expand your business, but the process isn’t automatic.

Even the most successful franchises have to pay careful attention to their marketing efforts. If you want your franchise to become huge, you’ll have to do the same.

Digital marketing is one area that new franchises have to consider closely. Specifically, you’ll need to make sure that you have a working social media strategy.

Social media can be tricky for franchises because there is much potential for miscommunication. You might have exercised careful control over your Facebook or Twitter account when you were still a mom-and-pop shop, but it can be difficult to make your franchisees do the same.

Fortunately, choosing the right social media strategy can help. We’ve put together some tips that can help you determine how to structure your social media for low risk and maximum effectiveness.

Choose Your Level of Oversight

One of the first and most important social media decisions you’ll have to make for your franchise is how much control you want over franchisees’ accounts.

Will you simply monitor your franchisee’s accounts and provide them with guidelines on how to post, or will you control every account from a single, centralized hub?

Most franchises skew towards one of these poles, with approximately 51% choosing a high level of involvement in social media for their franchises.

However, some take a middle-of-the-road approach. It’s not uncommon for a business to let their franchisees post autonomously but provide most of the content from corporate HQ.

Conversely, some companies control all accounts themselves but ask individual franchisees to create content for them on a regular basis.

The important thing to remember is the more control over your franchisees means less risk. However, it also means fewer opportunities for them to connect authentically with local customers.

On the other hand, giving control to your franchisees can help them tailor their accounts for maximum resonance with customers in their local areas. However, it also raises the possibility that they may go off message, and can create liability issues.

How To Determine A Social Media Strategy For Your Franchise Business-1

Solve Social Media Issues When You Do Your Research

The easiest way to control your content without sacrificing authenticity is to take a data-driven approach.

Use analytics to learn more about your target audience, and conduct an audit of your current social media practices to see where there might be room for improvement.

Using services like Digital Hill can grow leads and increase engagement even in highly targeted audiences, which lets you connect with customers in each of your franchise areas.

Better yet, you can accomplish this while retaining control of the accounts for those areas, which allows you to avoid the risk of a franchisee going off-message.

Creating the ideal social media strategy for your franchise requires you to make some big decisions. You’ll have to choose the level of involvement you want your franchisees to have, and the tools that you’ll use to keep them effective.

Invest in the right solutions, and you’ll be able to make sure that everything posted under your brand name is clear, appropriate, and on-target.

2 Websites in One - www.obecoinc.com Multi-Site Website-315

2 Websites in One – www.obecoinc.com Multi-Site Website

2 Websites in One - www.obecoinc.com Multi-Site Website-315Providing quality and reliable service is the name of the game for OEM product provider, ObeCo Inc. ObeCo Inc has the products and solutions you need. Based out of Goshen, Indiana, ObeCo Inc. ships their products worldwide. With a new website from Digital Hill, they can serve their customers even better.

Mobile Responsiveness

Digital Hill sites are designed with both mobile devices and desktops in mind. As a large number of internet users browse with smartphones and tablets, having a mobile responsive site enhances the user experience.

Blogging for SEO

A resource center gives businesses the ability to keep their customers updated and their site fresh and relevant by blogging. ObeCo contains a News section they can post to at any time. Digital Hill’s CMS system makes it simple to update, and SEO optimize the blog.

Two Websites in One

2 Websites in One - www.obecoinc.com Multi-Site Website-1Arriving on www.obecoinc.com gives you access to 2 websites – Obie Organized and ObeCo. Having 2 domains gives ObeCo Inc. the chance to separate their customer base and direct them to the website that best serves their needs.

Organized Obie has a wide range of products for owners of trailers, boats, or homes that need storage and organizational solutions. Organized Obie’s sister site, ObeCo, is designed for business owners in search of high-quality OEM parts.

Multisite Website System

2 Websites in One - www.obecoinc.com Multi-Site Website-2Managing several websites at once can be difficult. This is especially true when you have to deal with different content management systems (CMS). With Digital Hill’s multi-site system, it is easy for a single manager to handle multiple sites at a time.

The multi-site system offers a business the ability to segment their sites based on purpose or topic rather than just lumping them all on a single site. This makes it simpler for both the manager and the customer to access the parts of the site they need.

With a single sign in, site managers can create, edit, and share content across every site in the system. Another benefit is that sites are created with a cohesive brand look and are simply managed from one central login location.

ObeCo Inc’s new website was made possible by Digital Hill, a web solutions provider that has served companies across the United States for decades. If you are interested in software solutions for your business, contact Digital Hill.  Interested in a multisite website system for your brands or companies?  Contact us today.

Save

Why It’s Important to Caption Your YouTube and Facebook Videos-315

Why It’s Important to Caption Your YouTube and Facebook Videos

Why It’s Important to Caption Your YouTube and Facebook Videos-315Online marketers have been reaping the rewards from using video in their content marketing. Hopefully, you’ve found success using video too.

Now, we take a careful look at Video Captioning.

Before you veto this on the grounds that it will take too much time, understand the immense value you’d be leaving on the table.

Three “no-brainer” reasons your videos need captions:

  1. Up to 85% of viewers on Facebook watch your video content with the sound off! Apparently, silent films are trendy again. No, the real reason is that most of us watch Facebook videos in places where we probably shouldn’t be. Captioning your video content gets your message in front of this “secretive” Facebook viewing audience.
  2. Views generate views. This is a “duh” statement built off the first reason, but the point needs explanation. If 85% of your potential viewers keep scrolling, your video is going to rank lower, even if Facebook or YouTube aren’t specifically incentivizing captions in their algorithms. It’s practically common sense.
  3. Caption files help search engines query your video content. While the specifics of every search engine’s algorithms are trade secret, we can safely assume they’re querying video caption files. These files allow search engines access to the keywords within your video content without having to decipher the attached audio files. Search engines love efficiency and helping them in this way will pay you back in ranking over time.

Thankfully, there are some shortcuts available.

Many video hosting platforms including Facebook and YouTube have implemented auto-captioning functions within their platform. These tools will likely improve over time and may never be perfect, but they’ll beat doing nothing.

“Transcribe and Auto-Sync” is a YouTube specific tool.

At the time of writing, this feature is offered for free in everybody’s YouTube Creator Studio. Should this change and become a paid feature, there are many transcription services geared at servicing this very need.

Rev.com is a trusted name in transcription.

For $1 / min of transcribed or captioned video content, Rev aims to be your one-stop-shop should you decide upon outsourcing your captioning efforts.

Their website boasts their affiliation with some pretty big clients, ranging from Uber to Comcast. Whether you choose Rev or a competitor, the ROI on captioning should outweigh the cost implementing it.

“Silence is golden”

It’s not all about sneaking around and watching when you shouldn’t be. Video captioning is beginning to make its stamp as a “must-do” aspect of most brands’ online content marketing efforts.

You’re reaching the “library, no-headphones, late-night, airplane” audience who just can’t turn the sound on no-matter how visually-engaging your video is. Don’t forget that Facebook is showing your video without sound, by default, and that’s not likely to change.

Make your video more accessible to your audience and expect engagement to improve.

Where to Put Marketing Videos on your Website-315

Where to Put Marketing Videos on your Website

Where to Put Marketing Videos on your Website-315

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Video is the new “it” item in marketing, and you need to work it into your digital marketing strategy if you want to keep up. It’s not going to go away.  Video communicates more, faster, and with a fullness that text and images cannot.

You’ll want to publish your videos on Facebook and YouTube, but also include them on your website. Although a blog post is the most obvious location to post a video, there are many places to embed a marketing video to capture attention.

1. Embed Them On Your Home Page

Instead of stock photography, try using a video as a background cover on your website’s home page. It doesn’t need to be a huge production, and it doesn’t even need to include sound. But creating a video that shows what you do and simply embedding it into your home page’s background is a great way to draw users into your website and get them interested in your product or service.

2. Create a Video Library

Creating an educational video series can be a great way to attract new leads. Put a video library on your website to house each of these videos, and include all your videos. Password protect your video training and use it as a lead magnet to generate new subscribers for your email list in exchange for access to the page.

3. Replace Product/Service Images

Instead of using a gallery of images to show off your products, embed a video that shows a more in-depth look at what you do. Video converts better than images, so replacing your product images with a video can generate new customers and revenue.

4. Place on Your About Page

Create a video showing off your company culture, how you create your products, and explain a bit about your company’s mission. Talking about these things in a video on your about page can help potential customers get a feel for your business.

5. Place on Your Hiring Page

Planning on doing a lot of hiring soon? Create a recruitment video that interviews your employees about why they love working for your company, show off what it’s like to work for your business, and any perks or team building that your business does. This can be fun video content for your customers to see, but it’s targeted for potential hires.

6. Employee Pages

If your company has an internal sales team and makes a lot of outbound sales, create a video for each of your salespeople. When your clients work closely with your sales team, it will help them get an idea of who they’re working with, and why your business is better than the competition. Your sales team will seem personable when you offer a more personalized introduction between your salesperson and your customer.

There are so many different types of marketing videos and different ways to use them. Each is a different strategy for promoting your business and bringing in new customers. We recommend trying at least a few of these unique methods with your video marketing.

Al-Bar.com - Western Apparel and Equestrian Supplies eCommerce Website-315

Al-Bar.com – Western Apparel and Equestrian Supplies eCommerce Website

Al-Bar.com - Western Apparel and Equestrian Supplies eCommerce Website-315
For over 40 years, Al-Bar has brought the best of Western and English tack apparel to Northern Indiana. At Al-Bar, you can find a wide range of products for the horse and rider. With their newly designed website, Al-Bar.com, Al-Bar can now bring western apparel to the world on any device.

A design feature of the site includes the easy for customers to quickly and effortlessly find products or services. Whether it’s hunting boots, saddles, or horse treats, a rider can find most of what they need in the drop down navigation bar menu.

If they can’t find a product by glancing through the navigation, the site includes a search feature. Beyond the basics, the new Al-Bar website stands out with several features:

Mobile Responsiveness

Riders on-the-go now have the ability to browse Al-Bar.com with their mobile phone. Visitors to the site receive a seamless web experience.

Whether they are on a smartphone or tablet, visitors won’t be hampered by clunky, slow, or incompatible design while trying to browse on the small screen. Mobile-friendly sites are useful for the customer, and mobile responsiveness is preferred by Google.

Video

Imagery delivers a message faster than text. The homepage of Al-Bar.com, offers a dynamic video. In a few frames, the video gives the client a feel for the values Al-Bar represents – hard work, resilience, and self-reliance.

Coupons

As a marketing strategy, discounts, deals, and coupons attract consumers to your site. With announcements in the news section, the site can announce upcoming and current coupons to encourage people to buy products.

eCommerce

A big sector of shopping is online. Businesses have been increasingly looking into developing eCommerce solutions for their websites.  As a result of this new design, Al-Bar.com allows customers to shop online, selecting items as they move around the site.

Al-Bar.com - Western Apparel and Equestrian Supplies eCommerce Website-315(1)

When they’ve found the items they’re looking for, they can review their items in the shopping cart before buying. At the shopping cart, they can add or remove items, change quantities, and check out.

This eCommerce website gives the site admin the ability to update product descriptions, therefore, consumers get a sense of what they’re buying (and why they want to buy it) and add new products.

Al-Bar’s new site was created by Digital Hill, a web solutions provider that’s been in operation for nearly 20 years. If you’re interested in a new site, implementing eCommerce, or a host of other services, reach out to Digital Hill.

Use Video to Increase Website Traffic-315

Use Video to Increase Website Traffic

Use Video to Increase Website Traffic-315You’re not alone if you’ve wondered about the power of online video. It’s working!  Now the challenge quickly becomes one of getting the most out of your video efforts. Experts in the digital marketing space have shared many video strategies. Here are some of the best ones we’ve come across.

Use website embeds for maximized Google power.

Are you aware of the fact that search engines look at the time on page as a primary metric for determining the search ranking of your web site? If you weren’t familiar with this important variable in the past, you’ll quickly get to know it.

Time on page is simply the amount of time a visitor spends on any given web page. The idea is to optimize so that this number increases. Do this is by providing useful content for your visitor to consume and make it visually pleasing and easy to navigate.

Video lends itself well to the purpose of slowing your visitors down and getting them to engage with your content. It raises the average time on site metrics above text-only pages or pages with only text and images.

YouTube support has a quick and easy reference for beginner webmasters who’ve never embedded videos before. You’ll find it to be an easy and straightforward process.

Make the video stand out.

It’s not enough to have a great video and embed it on your page. You also have to make sure your guests know there’s a video there in the first place. Often, an embedded video can be mistaken for a still image when a visitor is quickly scrolling down the page.

The popular business website The Sales Lion published a killer strategy detailing a genius way to get your videos to really stand out. Their clever hack netted a client a massive spike in video engagement rates; rising from 11% to 94% video playback rates after the design hack was put into use.

Dig into YouTube Analytics.

Google is known for giving away powerful tools for free. Here is another one, The YouTube Video Analytics tool. With this, you’ll be able to see a bevy of valuable data about your YouTube videos as well as data about people viewing your videos.

Some of the insights are:

  • Knowing which videos hold your audience’s attention the longest.
  • How long your videos are played on average and where people tend to exit or close out of your content.
  • Understanding which videos are more popular with men and which ones are popular with women.
  • You’ll know the average age of a viewer for each video you upload.

Leverage data.

Now that you’re able to slow down your web visitors, provide them with incredible value. As a result, you’re also ready to see an SEO bump. Google loves you for helping their search users find the information they need. Keep the attention of incoming search engine traffic and expect Google to keep sending people your way.

Want a consultation on using video for your site and social media efforts?  Contact us today!

5 YouTube Metrics You Need to Track-315

5 YouTube Metrics You Need to Track

5 YouTube Metrics You Need to Track-315YouTube is no longer an untamed wild, full of viewers scrambling for media content. Now, viewers know what they want and make harsh decisions about which channels get their precious time.

That’s why everyone from aspiring celebrities to businesses looking to snag a few extra customers should use data analytics to assess the success of your social media campaigns. These are the 5 metrics that should be carefully watched over time.

Watch Time

Watch time is the sum of time viewers have actually spent with the video playing in their browser, not loading or waiting. YouTube places a lot of weight on watch time in its search algorithms to encourage creators to make content that keeps users watching their screens. Since more watch time also means more ads are displayed, watch time tends to scale to profitability.

Search Rankings

Exposure can make or break a YouTube channel’s popularity. Working to get your videos to the top of the searches for keywords relevant to your business is the end goal. Getting there is a complex process, but everyone can start at determining the keywords to track using search ranking metrics.

Views

The number of views and the way they fluctuate are a great way to determine what your overall exposure looks like. It works best when used alongside other metrics. Compare the number of views to the amount of watch time to determine how long each viewer spends on your videos. A higher view count is always better, but it’s also important to make the most of those views.

Subscriptions

Viewers who subscribe to a channel have the latest videos pushed in their notifications, making them more likely to return to build your view counts and total watch time. For channels with videos intended to be watched repeatedly, like music or children’s entertainment, each subscriber may represent a steady trickle of watch time on new videos which feeds back to older videos.

Viewer Engagement

Evoking a response from a viewer is a good way to get them to keep coming back. The most powerful viewer engagement data point is the ratio of likes to dislikes compared to the number of views. For example, a video with 5 likes and 24 dislikes may have it rough, but the implication changes if the video has had 40 views or 40,000 views. The first indicates a strong dislike, while the latter shows that viewers don’t feel very strongly about the video.

The comments section may also be used as a tool for gauging viewer interest. The content itself is important, but it’s hard to convert it into data points. The more tangible data point is the percentage of viewers that took the time to comment on the video.

The Measured Approach to Success

While these 5 metrics are absolutely vital to track. There are a number of others that help to create a clearer picture of your YouTube channel’s performance. The important thing is that you begin analyzing all the data your channel generates, so you compete in the modern world of creative media. Learn more about each metric and watch them change over time. They’ll let you know when you’re on the path to a successful channel.

Need guidance with your social media marketing strategy? Contact us today!

Positive1to1.com - Device Management for Schools-315

Positive1to1.com – Device Management for Schools

Positive1to1.com - Device Management for Schools-315Linked to higher test scores, 1:1 initiatives can be a great addition to school districts. With the hopes of bringing technology into the classroom, 1:1 technology has been thought of as a way to boost student participation and achievement. However, one thing that stands in the way of a successful initiative is inventory and device management.

Positive1to1’s device management technology helps takes some of the pressure off of deployment and day-to-day coordination and maintenance of school technology. The management software gives schools the ability to issue a device to every student while tracking each device’s repair status.

Positive1to1 offers support for schools and districts for the following areas:

  • Student orientation and training
  • Resource and lifecycle management
  • Student use policies
  • Repair management
  • Device buyout
  • Informing and communicating with parents

Supporting Students and The School Community

By offering support, Positive1to1 helps you keep the benefits of 1-to-1 technology. As well as maximize them for the students in your district. One-to-one deployment doesn’t end with a laptop or tablet in the hands of every student. Students receive training on the proper use of their devices. Positive1to1 also continues to support students through further education.

Instead of relying solely on third party repairs, students are trained in the proper use of their devices as well as repair, saving money on repair costs. For students that have become intrigued with technology and want to learn more, Positive1to1 offers further training in hardware and software services.

An All In One Management System

Many 1:1 programs fail when they don’t have a cohesive management system. Think of all the wasted resources that occur when there is no device tracking and accountability. With hundreds of devices, numerous users accessing records, and inaccurate manual record keeping, it becomes near impossible to maintain a 1-to-1 initiative.

Positive1to1 management software solution avoids these problems by allowing staff to manage devices with more ease. Instead of creating a patchwork of documents and spreadsheets for device tracking, automated software provides an accurate insight into inventory tracking. Issuing devices to students and getting each student trained is no longer an unmanageable hassle. When it comes time for devices to be replaced or repairs, it takes less time for a student to be issued a new one.

Positive1to1 helps schools gain educational opportunities for students. It empowering them to be self-sufficient, efficient, and maintain strong 1:1 initiatives. Learn more about Positive1to1.com  and the benefits of a 1:1 software system by contacting us today!

SEO Before You Launch Your Website

SEO Before You Launch Your Website

SEO Before You Launch Your WebsiteBuilding a website is a lot like building a house. There’s a lot of planning involved, and even more nuts and bolts, behind the scenes, work, followed by a lot of cosmetic work. But just like a new home, you need to make sure people find your little place on the web, which is why your SEO work should start before you officially launch your site.

Here are a few of the steps to take before your site goes live, to give your SEO the kick start it deserves:

Analyze your web host’s uptime stats

Anything less than 99% is a red flag, and if you’re seeing major outages, consider upgrading your plan or changing hosts.

Check the reputation of your domain

Even if it’s new to you, it might not be entirely new, and it’s worth knowing if there are any negative marks on your home on the web.

Get an SSL certificate

Most search engines, including Google, use this as a ranking factor. It only costs a little, but it goes a long way!  This makes your site secure (https) and ensure data transfer is encrypted.

Build a responsive site

Mobile friendly websites are not optional: they’re another ranking factor for search engines.

While keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, keyword research is still a valuable tool. Both to make sure you’re using the right words and phrases in your site and give you inspiration for content!

Internal and external links

Links are another area that has changed a bit. While lots of meaningless incoming links will only get you in trouble, high-quality outgoing links, internal links, and a few very high-quality incoming links can give your new site a boost in the rankings.

Use an SEO plugin

SEO plugins on your site can make optimizing content a lot easier. Depending on the platform you plan to use, there are a variety of SEO plugins that can keep you on track, and many of them have free versions.  You want a tool to help you edit the page title, URL, keywords, and the meta description at minimum.  It’s better yet if you can evaluate the keyword phrase density.

Have a plan

Make sure that you have a content plan, and a few months worth of high-quality content written and scheduled to publish. Launching a new website is a busy time, but you don’t want to forget to keep your site fresh and interesting!

Site caching

Make sure your site is caching and that you’re using Gzip compression. Look for other speed enhancing plugins to make your site as light and fast as possible.

Install and activate Google Analytics on all of the pages on your site.

Use a Favicon

Make your site instantly recognizable on tabs.

Optimize your images

Make sure that they’re resized to a web-friendly, fast loading size before uploading them. Resizing in the browser can slow down your site dramatically.

Use a social sharing plugin

Find a great social sharing plugin, and place it in a prominent position on every page. Your website should grow your social following and vice versa!

There are many other tweaks you can make before your website launch so you hit the ground running. But the good news is that SEO is an ongoing process, and as long as you get the basics right from the start, you can add and improve elements all the time.

Save

Advanced Map Feature Website_ Hydro-Action.com-315

Advanced Map Feature Website: Hydro-Action.com

Advanced Map Feature Website_ Hydro-Action.com-315Hydro-Action, currently based in Indiana, has been manufacturing water treatment units since 1988. Now with a new website, the company can showcase their service to a wider audience.

Hydro-Action.com is designed to highlight the company. In addition, the site offers functionality for customers, potential dealers, and Hydro-Action. With a natural flow, Hydro-Action.com is quick to scan. Navigating the site is easy with its organized layout.

Each section of the site is focused on quickly giving visitors the information they search for. If additional information about Hydro-Action is needed, their contact information is conveniently displayed in the footer and above the navigation bar.

Among the site’s most distinct features are:

Approval Map

Most noteworthy is the Approval Map which is a “must see” feature!  This map of the U.S. and Canada serves as an overview of the locations in which Hydro-Action has been approved. Hovering over each state provides information on approval status. Status ratings include Not Approved, Approved or the circumstances under which Hydro-Action can operate in a particular state. Hydro-Action can update the map as approval is granted in a state.

Hoverable Drop Down Menu

Another custom feature we designed for Hydro-Action’s site is a hoverable drop down menu bar. This navigation bar functions by letting visitors hover their cursor over the menu to choose an option. For example, the Hydro-Action link on the navigation bar expands to link to information for engineers, homeowners, regulators, and installers.

Login for Distributors

Distributors and dealers of Hydro-Action products have a separate private login. The distributor login link is found just above the navigation bar.

Additionally, the Distributor Locator link functions for the purpose of finding the Hydro-Action dealer nearest you. This page has Google Maps embedded onto it for a quick zip code search.

News

A resource center is a great tool for keeping the site fresh. In addition, this keeps customers and distributors updated. The News page of Hydro-Action’s site serves as the blog and is easily accessible from the navigation bar. Therefore the company can update and edit content on the blog as needed to keep visitors informed.

Mobile Responsive Design

Smartphone users do the majority of the internet searches. It’s more likely the average site will be visited by mobile users. The new site is mobile responsive and will display well on desktop and smartphone screens.

Hydro-Action’s new website was designed by Digital Hill. Need a website? Contact Digital Hill for your web design needs.