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Updated by billmedley on Dec 08, 2018
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How to Find Out That your Business Idea Is Good Enough to Pursue

Being an entrepreneur is engaging for many reasons. Some people think about their business idea all their life but never get around to doing it. They’re living on ‘Someday Isle’ as motivational speaker Jack Canfield usually likes to say. “Someday, I will tidy up the garage. Eventually, I will hang that picture. Sometime, I will open a business.”

Then some people open one or more businesses, hustle their way through whatever gets thrown their way, and make it with a little lost of ambition and bit of luck. I am very familiar with this person. I face him every day when I look in the mirror.

You have a million business concepts or maybe just this one nagging idea that does not seem to go away. The question is, where do you start? How do you figure out that your business idea is good enough to pursue?

I met someone in this exact situation just a couple of weeks ago when it seems to me that even the most seasoned entrepreneurs still find themselves regularly evaluating business ideas. It can be quite challenging to know whether it is worth the investment and commitment your plans may need — which is why most people I know approach this regularly.

How to Know Whether a Business Idea is Worth Pursuing?
The small answer is: if you would have to waste the rest of your life regretting never having pursued one particular idea, go ahead and start your business because life is too short for regrets.

Unfortunately, not every decision is as straightforward because sometimes the actions you would be regretting the most is never having attempted any of your thoughts, and there’s no particular business idea that you have placed your heart on at the moment.

For those of us who have a diversity of business ideas and want to narrow it down, here are five ways to figure out whether your business idea is good or not.

  1. What Do Competitors Advertise? You can go ahead and ask competitors what they think their strengths are. The issue with that is twofold:

a) they might not respond at all;
b) what they say might not reply to what their numbers are telling.
One simple way to find out what sells for them is to check out their online advertisements. Whatever makes them most competitive in their given market is 99 % of the time spelled out in their online text advertisements.

Let’s look at a real example and imagine the business concept is to sell shoes online. We can now search on Google and type in “buy shoes online,” have a look at the advertisements, and figure out what the general selling points in the industry are.

Here are some of the advertisements that can show up for the keyword “buy shoes online”:

Looking at the image above, you can tell immediately that companies promote only two things: their brand and discounts.

Additionally, shipping seems to be significant as well.

What Does This Mean for Your Business Idea?
If you were going into selling shoes online, you would now know based on the advertisement analysis that you either need be very competitive with prices or to have a known brand and have flawless shipping set up. New businesses do not have a well-known brand, so you either need to be conscious of the fact that you require a lot of budgets to fight as a brand or you now know that your only solution is to beat people’s prices and better have the fastest free shipment in place that the world has ever seen.

Looking at these advertisements as a marketer, you also notice that at least three of these ten advertisements are part of an at least medium scale campaign that uses dynamic keyword insertion or that the commercials are part of a powerful search campaign.

How do I know? Check out the heading of these three advertisements that are highlighted below:

This looks like effective keyword insertion which is a code that is usually used by advertisers that have to introduce a medium-sized campaign with around 75k+ keywords. All this code does automatically insert the keyword that was triggered by the search query in the heading of the advertisement. You can manage the capitalization of those keywords with a small code modification which is what tipped me off here.

My keyword was “buy shoes online,” and those advertisements say “Buy Shoes Online” with every word capitalized – to automatically capitalize every word just so happens to be the most famous code. If there’s space after the code, you could also attach the brand name. Using the code is an excellent way to get a good click-through-rate on AdWords while setting up thousands of advertisements with Excel in an almost short amount of time.

Dynamic Search Campaigns are usually used for large inventory e-commerce businesses, so either way, it seems that whatever potential competitor we are dealing with online is ready to sell a considerable amount of products at a high price.

As a startup, this looks like funding to me either from your pocket, from investment capitalists, or whatever else is a choice for you.

What if You Aren’t Looking to Open an E-Commerce?
The example above was just a show of how to analyze online advertisements and consequently draw summing up about what it may take to be able to compete in this industry. Not every idea requires funding, and not everyone minds need funds, so the conclusions will be changing depending on what business idea you are looking into.

  1. Can You Make it a Purple Cow So let’s say you have drawn a picture of what you would be presenting. Now the question is, how can you make your service and product stand out from the crowd? Best-selling author Seth Godin explained this thought well with the term “purple cow.”

The concept behind the purple-cow-concept is to present your service and product in a way that would make it so prominent as if it was a limited edition. Prominent is a significant term here because it is defined as “worthy of attention.” If you didn’t make an extended version of what you are offering, I would say to cross this business idea of the list because if you do not stand out, nobody will purchase.

If you are asking for a particular example of performing the purple cow idea, look at Tim Ferriss’ “4 Hour Work Week” book cover as an example. He divided the cover by putting the book next to other books with a diversity of covers, watched what people overlooked and what they picked up, and then made a judgment of what the book cover would look like. He chose what was “worthy of attention.” He also split tested various titles of the book with Google AdWords advertisements and chose the one with the highest click-through-rate which is a standard technique to split test business names.

  1. Competitive and Perceptual Positioning It is a chance to go back to the drawing board. Use a competitive positioning matrix to find out where your brand or business would rank compared in the current industry.

The traditional competitive positioning matrix looks at quality and price:

Naturally, having a low quality at a low cost and having high quality at a high cost are the two distinct ways to position yourself. Anything else usually is challenging to achieve. There is another matrix to think through which analyzes how people distinguish your brand, also referred to as perceptual positioning.

The ordinary perceptual positioning metric looks at how a brand is perceived, not how companies are recognized. This differentiation is hugely significant because a company can carry more than one brand that is perceived very individually from each other.

If you only provide one brand, then you can, of course, apply the perceptual positioning metrics for the business as well.
If you have a tough time thinking of the individual perceptions for your perceptual positioning matrix, think of the six biggest brands in the market and find one word for each that best explains how you think people feel about the brand.
If feelings aren’t your thing, consider of a typical item that you connect with the company.
For example, for Starbucks, it would be coffee in a paper cup, for Nike it would be the running shoes, and so on. Then find words that buyers would use to describe the item.

These are just examples to explain the concept, the perceptions of the matrix change based on what brand or industry you are looking at and of course based on what you are planning on selling.

  1. Likelihood of Successful Execution Based on your outline of point 1-3, how likely is it that you will be able to make your business idea a reality? There’re some things to take into account when determining the chances of success.

Aspects to consider include but aren’t limited to:

-Up-front costs

-Funding needed yes/no/when/how much

-Time commitment

-Core competency required

-Dependency on others

-Market size

-Level of competition

There are very a couple of niches nowadays where the level of competition is low. One of the things I feel is most ignored is the question of why the level of competition is high. It isn’t enough to figure out that you are competitive and able to handle the competition. Managing the competition isn’t the game. The game of entrepreneurship – or at least part of it – is beating the competition.

How to Beat the Competition
For being more successful than others, you first need to know how the industry works. One of the ways to figure out is by using Michael Porter’s Five Forces. I was cursing at this model during all my two business degrees, but I have to indicate that this model is truly famous. It helps to immediately get an overview of what kind of industry you are possibly getting yourself into.

The simplest way to understand this model is with examples. Think of it as a microenvironment that surrounds the company, almost like an ecosystem that the business lives in.

Here are a few examples.

If you are driving a protein product that is directed at people who are going to the gym, there is a huge threat of new entrants. Hundreds of new protein products come out daily.

You can also use this model about the perceptual positioning matrix. The threat of substitute services or products can be the perceived level of product determination. Think of bottled water for example. The water in the bottle is the same anywhere; it’s pure drinking water.

The business power of clients refers to price sensitivity among other things. As it is shown in the example with the online shoe store, clients can be so sensitive to prices and go for the lowest price. This is one of the features companies like Walmart count on for example.

  1. Impact Your Lifestyle Great business concepts can take over your life. The trouble with being a passionate entrepreneur is that you do not mind. I recently spoke to one of my customers who is a small business owner.

He is going through the process many small company owners go through. You start your first business and enjoy working on a 24/7 schedule. Afterwards the talks began with friends who think that you should take a day off and you start thinking that they ask, you grow apart, you find more friends that know what you are doing and only after a while do you admit that what you are hurting from what I name the “Golden Cage” syndrome.

The “Golden cage” is a successful business that you can’t get out of because the cage needs the bird and you are that bird. It is an excellent cage to be in because the business is earning money, but it requires you to be there all the time and is not deserving a whole lot without the bird in it. It is difficult to be bought at this point because the business does not work without you.

I have seen enough small business owners stuck with their businesses. Rather than suggesting you start whatever has high prospects of succeeding, I would instead say start something that allows you to live the lifestyle you envision for yourself.

You can’t improve the world in a cage anyway, so why start building one in the first place? Making a variation and living the life you want aren’t mutually exclusive, so go for what is best thinking your happiness also. Happy leaders inspire and inspiration is the base for any success.



14 Steps for Making your Brand Identity More Consistent

With so much content running through an organization, from advertisement campaigns and branded marketing materials to social media updates and digital media content, it is easy to see how an organization could get a little lost while trying to keep lasting brand identity.

Many people creating many branded elements can make it difficult to maintain things aligned. For both big companies and small business, it can be easy to turn off course, sometimes without even realizing it.

The lack of consistency may not be evident at first, but failing to identify and stick to a consistent brand identity can eventually have a severe impact. The brand can become unreliable, disjointed, and divided so much that it confuses clients, customers, employees, and even the executive team.

So, if you feel like you are starting to lose the identity of your brand throughout your organization, use the following steps to get back on course.

  1. Understand Why a Consistent Brand Matters It is hard to put any plan into action when you do not understand why you are doing it. So first, you have to know why consistent branding matters. Also, train your team to follow the same, so they see the value of inconsistent brand positioning.

A consistent brand matters because of it:

Projects professionalism. A cohesive brand looks more professional than an opponent that is all over the place with their identity and marketing.

Establishes authenticity. When you stay true tо a core identity, it determines that the identity is a part of whо you are, not just something you designed for promotional purposes or marketing.

Provides clarity. A consistent position clears up any uncertainty that clients may have about who your company is and what you stand for.

Builds trust. Clients are more likely to trust an organization that presents an authentic professional and a clear brand image.

Offers internal direction. Being clear about brand identity also helps executive teams and employees stay aligned with core values and positioning.

Provides simplicity. When you have a defined brand image, it is easier to make branding and marketing decisions because you have an existing plan to guide you.

A brand is not just about the way a company’s logo looks. It’s about who they are and why they are in business, so be sure to document those guidelines and values.

  1. Know the Business The essential step of an identity engagement is developing a complete understanding of the company. You cannot begin to predict the future without looking at the past. Do your research.

Organize meetings and talk to employees across a wide range of departments to start to understand the company’s real personality. This’ll help you get the company’s voice and be able to represent it.

  1. Understand How Brand Identity Affects the Bottom Line
    Brand identity is not just about what looks the prettiest. It should have a direct link back to the business plan. People all have their tastes as to what looks best visually, but what is most significant is how the visual design will push the business forward. Is the main goal of the company to come across as stable and strong? Nimble and intelligent? Pioneering and creative? Those attributes are all reflected in very many visual representations, and your identity should reflect that.

  2. Create a Brand Guide
    Once you realize the value of a consistent brand, you’ll see why a brand guide is a critical business document. Every business, both small and big, should have a complete brand guide with sections related to:

-Brand mission;

-Value propositions and differentiators;

-Voice and tone;

-Logo usage;


–Brand colors;

-Fonts and typography;

-Signage specs;

-Media formatting;

-Photography and graphic styles.

As you build your handbook, look at examples of brand guides to get ideas for forming a document that establishes guidelines and helps keep your entire business on the same page.

  1. Circulate the Brand Guide Branding seems like a point that is reserved for the design and marketing departments, but it should be incorporated into a whole organization.

Because the brand guide explains not only how the company is offered, but also on what the organization is established, it needs to be available to all departments including:

Sales teams: so they know how to present the brand vаlues to customers.

Product prоduction: so they know how to packaging and design products to match the style of the brand.

Third-party freelancers and consultants: so they can immediately learn how to replicate the unique voice and tone of the brand.

Potential partners: so they can recognize an organization’s core values before forming a partnership.

A brand guide serves as a valuable resource for all layers of a business and even some people outside of the origination.

  1. Audit and Update Existing Branded Materials Once you establish consistent and clear brand guidelines, put them to work. Audit and update all of your existing branded materials to be certain that they equal to the new brand guide.

Update the public marketing resources such as:

-Web pages;

-Social media profiles;

-Social media posts;


-Business cards;


-Presentations slides;


But, do not forget the subtle elements of your business that also represent your brands such as store decor, on-hold messaging, labels and packaging, overhead music and employee uniforms.

Remember, your brand is not just about placing your logo in the right place. It is about the entire client experience. Your brand should be consistently represented at each client-facing touchpoint within your company.

  1. Develop a Visual Brand Identity The next step is to transpose these brand values into something visual. This is where your business website and logo come in. Before you can start to form your site, you need to register a domain name; this creates your web address and should be the same as your brand name.

Once you have chosen and registered a domain name, no one else can use it, so this is also a critical part of protecting your brand. Getting a domain is a relatively straightforward process – check the availability of your desired name, register it online and it is yours. You can then continue to create your website. The colors, font, and overall design should all reflect your core brand values and the whole vibe you are going for, so choose carefully. The same goes for your logo; before you start, it is worth giving a sight at this guide to common logo design mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Find Your Voice Every brand requires a voice, and consistency is essential. If your brand were to speak, what would it sound like? Find a tone that matches both your target audience and your core values – be it down-to-earth and casual or informative and formal.

Your brand voice will define the way you communicate with your clients, so it is essential to get it right. As with all features of branding, the brand voice must be consistent throughout, regardless of whether you’re writing a blog post for your website or posting on social media. Learn more about why the tone of voice is so necessary with these branding success stories.

  1. Tell a Story

The brand identity should evoke a feeling in your clients, speak for the brand, and tell a story about where the company is going. Your clients should quickly understand something about the brand just by observing its visual personality. Amazon is a good example, with its subtle, arrow-based smile signifying the fulfilling feeling of happiness that clients get from the no-stress shopping experience on the site.

  1. Establish Core Values Having recognized the basic qualities of your brand, it’s now time to mold these into solid brand values. Core brand values are what your organization stands for; they’re the pillars of your brand identity and will be used to build relationships with your clients.

Apple is synonymous with innovation; your brand values should be reflected in everything you do. Avoid general terms like “trustworthy” and “reliable” concentrate instead on what truly sets you apart. Think about what you, as a business, are excited about and why your clients would choose you over your competitors. These are your main brand values, and they’ll be used to shape every aspect of your brand.

  1. Design for Adaptability
    Your brand identity isn’t just one stagnant image. It needs to be able to adapt and change based on the medium. It moves without saying that social media is a necessary component to today’s brands. When designing a brand identity, you must take into account all the different mediums across which the brand will exist, and create something that is flexible enough to remain identifiable across all channels.

  2. Do not Launch a New Identity in Isolation
    When launching a new brand identity, it’s most strategic to start alongside another piece of a new initiative or company news. The inescapable fact is that people do not like change and no matter how fantastic the design, some percentage of your client base won’t like it. By following the brand identity with a corresponding announcement, you can support the change beyond just aesthetics and prove to clients why it is required.

In 2010, The Gap released a new logo. Panned by clients and critics for the design itself, the logo did not say anything new about the clothing brand. The logo wasn’t introduced to drive anything transitional larger about the brand and eventually meant there was no reason to keep it around after the strong backlash, and the previous logo was reintroduced quickly.

Creating a robust brand personality is both a science and an art. But, by mixing research, creativity, and data, you can create a final product that resonates with clients and drives the whole company forward.

  1. Bring Your Brand to Life

Your brand identity now has a unique and clear identity – all that is left to do is share it with the world. You can start creating brand awareness through email marketing, social media, video marketing and even blog content; whichever channels work best for your target audience.

No matter what your marketing policy, remember the brand personality you have built and make sure it shines through at every given opportunity. This way, your audience recognize and gets to know your brand – thus laying the foundations for long-term engagement.

  1. Create a Plan for the Future Once you go through steps, your work is not over. Failing to follow through with this final step will take right back where you started – slowly shifting away from your core brand personality.

Without a plan for doing to consistency in the future, you put yourself at risk for falling back into your old ways and losing your identity. So, create a plan for the future.

Schedule an annual update for your brand strategy. Maintaining a consistent brand is necessary, but that does not mean you should not evolve. Schedule a time to review and update your brand plan as your organization grows and changes.

Schedule an annual update for your design components. Trends change and style so branded elements also need to evolve.

Schedule a bi-annual content audit. Check in to make sure that the design and creative departments are sticking to the set guidelines.

Checking in and ensuring that you are aligned with your brand guide will provide clarity for clients, customers, employees, potential partners, and executive teams. So, do not put off these 14 simple steps.

Create and stick to a brand plan will help your company stand out, build trust, and present a memorable experience for every person who connects with your organization.

Since branding is a never-ending adventure, you should be open to further development. When you work towards branding consistency, it helps to make your business more result-driven and scalable. What is your unique strategy for making your brand identity more consistent?



7 email marketing tactics for 2018

An email marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy. Email is the most cost-effective way to communicate with your customers, promote your products and reach your business goals. On average, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect a return of $43.

In this post, we will present you 6 tactics to use in your email marketing strategy which will help you to achieve extraordinary results through email marketing.

Personalize your messages
When we say personalized email marketing, we do not mean that you send an individual email to every single subscriber. Personalization means that you use customer data to create a personalized message.

70% of brands don’t use personalization in their email marketing strategy. This means that personalizing your emails will help you stand out from the competition.

The simplest method of personalization is to address the reader by his/her name. Most ESPs (email service providers) offer this within their functionality, and this tactic alone will improve your marketing campaign performance. For instance, email subject lines that are personalized with a recipient’s first name can increase open rates by 16%. Considering that 47% of all marketing emails are opened because of the subject line alone, that is sure a great method to get more views on your email.

Segment your subscribers
Segmentation is one of the effective tactics that you can use to increase the personalization of your messaging and content. This is the method of dividing your subscriber list into various groups based on their common characteristics. For example, you might put those living in a common geographic region with a similar climate into one group, and separate those who live on the other side of the country. You can also divide the lists based on your subscribers’ interests or demographic information.

By segmenting your lists, you are making sure that the subscribers are getting the types of content and offers that interest them most. This improves relevancy, which can lower unsubscribe rates and increase conversion rates. This kind of personalization is often not possible with other types of marketing like direct mail. Which is why it is highly relevant to the importance of email marketing.

Send mobile-friendly emails
In 2012, 27%, in 2014 42% and 2018 54% of all marketing emails had been opened on a mobile device. Whenever you send an email to a subscriber who reads their emails on their mobile device, yet the email is not optimized for that device they will mostly unsubscribe or delete it. To make sure your email is mobile friendly, you should implement responsive email design (RED), keep pre-header and the subject line short and make the call to action (CTA) big and visible. Any media that you use within your content should be small so that they can be quickly and easily loaded and viewed on a mobile device.

Automate email campaigns
Trigger-based email is an email that is sent out automatically based on user behavior.

The most typical forms of trigger emails are ‘thank you’ emails, ‘welcome’ emails, and ‘transactional’ emails, such as order confirmation email and email receipts.

The data behind trigger emails shows us that trigger emails perform much better than traditional email as open rates for trigger emails are as high as 49% which is 95% higher than conventional email open rates.

Also, the average click-through rate (CTR) for trigger emails is more than double the rate compared to regular email click-through rates. And the best converting websites in the world, sites that convert as much as 40% of their traffic, use trigger emails.

Set Up Cart Abandonment Emails
Optimizing cart and checkout abandonment is one of the highest value areas to focus on when it comes to conversion rate optimization. After all, if someone has added an item to their cart, they are a notably well-qualified potential customer.

If you are using software that enables automation, you can quite easily set up a rule that identifies whether a person visits the cart or checkout page, but not your confirmation or thank you page. When this criterion is met, an email can be sent to them asking them why they did not complete their transaction.

Whether you test your email templates, landing pages or home page, testing provides data to make practical decisions which will improve your marketing performance. By sending several variations made to the subject line to a small sample of subscribers, you can calculate the number of leads you can expect to receive based on the results.

You can test not only the subject lines but also the following:

“From” address: The name that appears in the “from” field has a tremendous impact on whether the reader opens your email. In fact, the sender name is the main reason why people open your email. Test your “from” address by sending your campaigns from a person’s name, person + company or your CEO.
Plain text vs. HTML campaigns: Have you ever thought about testing an email campaign that is a plain text only? And when you include an element of personalization, plain text emails look to be written just for the reader.
Short vs. long emails: You can keep your emails sweet and short or, you can create long and detailed emails. Long emails can include more detailed copy while shorter emails will send the reader directly to a targeted landing page.
The best way to learn what works best is to test it!

Take Your Email Marketing Beyond the Inbox
Over the next couple of years, we are likely to see a lot more e-commerce companies joining their email marketing campaigns with social advertising. In a study, a leading American retailer targeted 925,000 email subscribers with both its coordinated Facebook ads and regular emails. And the results showed that consumers who received both were 22% more likely to make purchases than those who only received emails.



8 reasons why content marketing is the best marketing

Most old marketing and advertising strategies have been based on short-term gains. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach, especially if you see a positive ROI, but if you want to be successful in the long term, you’ll need a strategy with a little more staying power. For example, Pay per click (PPC) advertising will stop generating traffic and customers the moment you stop doing it, but consistent content marketing will continue to produce compound traffic growths.

Inbound marketing strategies, like SEO and social media marketing, are useful in creating a slow build of results, but for your money, there’s no better long-term strategy than content marketing.

Here is why:

Build Trust with Your Visitors
When a visitor stumbles on your website for any reason, your content can secure his or her confidence in your brand, so long as that content is authoritative, helpful, and well-written overall. The more content you generate and share with your target audience, the more apparent it becomes that you are an expert in the field. People trust experts and hire them to help solve problems.

Build Brand Awareness
Most people do not know about your business, and it is time to change that. If done correctly, you can use content marketing to significantly increase traffic to your website so you can get consistent, quality traffic and inbound links to your site, and expose them to a brand they never knew existed. You will be able to generate more awareness and leads for your business through your content and use it to show your skill and expertise again and again.

Great for Organic Search
Whenever you open your browser and type a keyword or a phrase into the search bar, the search engine works hard to bring you the most relevant information regarding your search query. When you are creating expert content for the sake of sharing valuable and useful information to your ideal target buyers rather than spammy sales copy, Google recognizes that your content is useful and provides the result to people searching and consequently it will rank higher in the search results. Search engine algorithms are always changing. But as long as you consistently create informative, relevant and up to date content, this will rank higher in the search engines.

Generates Leads for Your Business
Generating leads for your business is the reason why marketers do any marketing at all. We need new leads to come to us and eventually buy our product or service. Content marketing enables strangers to find you through your informative and useful content. Most of the time this is even before they are ready to decide to buy or not. It means, your competition is not in the picture yet. Use additional premium content on your site (like ebooks) to draw them in further. We need leads to sell, and content marketing is the way to reach them.

Attract Ideal Buyers
All that talk about leads is excellent, but a large number of unqualified leads won’t get you anywhere. You need to attract ideal buyers, or you will be wasting your sales team’s time.

The advantage of content marketing is that while you will be distributing proof of your expertise to the world, only people who are interested in what you have to say are the ones viewing it. Just the ones who are interested in your field of expertise are going to conduct a search that results in them reading your blog. From these readers, only those who are really intrigued by your brand are going to click to your landing page. From the readers who end up on your landing page, only those who were genuinely attracted by your content are going to fill out a form with personal information to get their hands on more of it. You will have filtered out the lousy leads, and will only be selling to those of the highest quality, meaning less time, energy, and money wasted. That is the inbound marketing way.

Visitors will Share Your Content on Social Network Platforms
You are an expert in your field, and that means you know things that most others don’t. If your content uniquely solves a common problem or distributes a piece of valuable information, it is likely that other companies will also share content that makes them look good as a thought expert. Social media platforms are quickly catching up with search engines as the greatest way for content to reach consumers.

Of course, you should strive to create useful content which people want to read, but if you can create content that people share you will be way ahead of the game. The more people exposed to your content the better, and as we now live in the “digital, mobile, and viral” age, a uniquely exciting post may pick up enough impulse to put it in front of more consumers than you have ever imagined.

Build Brand Authority as an Industry Expert
By now this one should be obvious. Your content showcases your ability to do what you do better than the rest. Your target audience is getting answers to your questions from you; they need to know that you’ll provide them with the best way to solve their particular problem. It’s ok to show them over and over, and you will just be reinforcing your role as the industry expert with each blog post, ebook, video, etc. Even those people who never end up buying from you will regard you as the authority in your field based on your content.

Build Backlinks
Create expert content, and other sites will want to link to yours to share what you have shared. Depending on the linking website, your audience may multiply by 2, 5, or even 100 times. The real gain of backlinking is that it is one of the criteria the search engines use to rank your website. If authority websites are linking to yours and more people are visiting your site through those links, then your page authority increases.



12 killer Instagram marketing strategies in 2018

Instagram, with more than 700 million monthly active users, now claims over 8 million accounts using business profiles. What does that mean for the mobile-based photo and video-sharing social network? Brands want their Instagram marketing strategy to reach targeted demographics, engage users and drive real social value. In this blog, we present 12 valuable Instagram marketing strategies for 2018.

Good biography
Your Instagram bio is your most important piece of real estate. This is the first thing your followers see when they check out your profile. You need to make a great impression! Whether you use your business name or your real name, the name people see in your bio is how they know you. For the bio remember this is your brand/company…what do you want to say about yourself and your business? Make it exciting and fun; emojis are encouraged!

Relative and attractive username
Creating a username for Instagram is as important as naming your new-born. It is the lifeblood of your Instagram profile because the username is used to discover your brand and it is a critical factor whether a person will follow you or not. Build your username around your target audience and content strategy. For example, if your content is on book sales, your username should reflect that.

Don’t forget captions in photos
Writing good Instagram captions may not seem as crucial as your Instagram feed to you, but they play a critical role and not just regarding building a community around your brand. Instagram captions with effective call-to-actions (CTAs) is one of the best ways to motivate your followers to comment on your posts, and it will help to drive even more engagement on your account. Therefore, it could be the key to having your post seen by more people.

90% build the audience by creating value and 10% posts try to sell or advertise
Identify what your followers value in your services and products, but also in their lives. Once you are clear on your values, take some time to research and understand your audience. Follow trending conversations and hashtags to see if there are specific values that are most important to your customers and prospects. By highlighting how these values align with your brand, you can increase loyalty.

Engagement, ask questions, make compliments to your target audience
As with all social networking platforms, Instagram works best when you use it to form relationships with other users. Using the platform is not about posting pictures in your little vacuum. It is about participating in and building a community around photos.

There are many ways to build and become a part of a community on Instagram. Using hashtags allows you to connect with people you may never otherwise have met. Liking and commenting on other user’s photos gets you engaged with the greater community and often helps you grow your followers as people reciprocate. Participating in Instagram campaigns intended to further a worthy cause can help you contribute to a greater good. Sharing images and videos from events can help your followers feel like they are in on the action, and are a real part of your community.

Post at least 4 times in a day
You will read lots of conflicting advice regarding how often to post to Instagram. Ultimately, only you can decide what works best with your audience. Begin with once a day, and gradually try increasing the frequency up to at least 4 times a day. In other words, don’t be afraid to push the envelope when it comes to your posting frequency. When you reach a point where engagement starts to drop, scale back a bit until you reach your optimal level.

Hashtags are everything
Apart from your image, your hashtags are the most crucial element of your post. While captions help you tell the story behind your image, hashtags allow you to get your image and caption seen by those outside your current sphere of followers. When users search for relevant industry-related hashtags, you want your posts to show up. If not, there’s a good chance your competitors’ posts will…increasing their influence and helping them grow their followers.

There are three main strategies you can use for choosing hashtags:

Use popular hashtags that have the best chance of getting searched for (e.g., #love, #tbt, etc.)
Use less popular hashtags yet highly-relevant hashtags. These may drive fewer users to your posts, but the ones who do find you will be more targeted.
Use hashtags commonly thought to attract new followers. Some of the most widely used are #followme, #follow4follow and #follow.
Whichever strategy you use, try to use at least one hashtag on each post. Don’t worry about using too many hashtags; some research even suggests that engagement is highest on posts that have 11+ hashtags!

Give genuine comments to your followers
With many engagements, your posts might be featured in the top posts of hashtags or even in the Explore tab, reaching more people. And probably gaining more followers. Liking and replying to your followers’ comments to your posts is a great practice to engage with them. Since they took an effort to check out your posts and commenting on them, it feels great to reciprocate by continuing the conversation.

Use third-party tools for analytics
You can be successful on Instagram using only your Instagram app. However, there are many great tools that can save you time and give you better insight into how well your posts are doing on the platform. These third-party tools allow you to access your account via your web browser, find out which of your photos and videos are getting the most engagement, and track who is following and unfollowing you.

Post video content
Although Instagram started as a photo-sharing network, it has since grown beyond just photos. With features like videos, stories and live videos, brands can now create many different types of content to engage their followers and build their audience. One of the main reasons why you should try posting these new content types is that the average engagement for videos is growing faster than the average engagement for images and when you go live on Instagram, you appear right at the front of the stories feed.

Having multiple accounts is good for the brand
The first reason why having multiple accounts is good for the brand is to distinguish your brand’s location. If your business operates in different parts of the globe, you may want to consider multiple Instagram accounts.

The other reason is that the individual Instagram accounts serve a very specific and unrelated purpose compared to the other networking platforms. So you can play to your strengths far more efficiently this way.

And the third reason is to find a unique voice as language barriers can provide a massive disconnect when communicating with your audience. Consumers may find it off-putting and distracting to read different languages on one account.

Know and spy your competitors
You might be new to using Instagram as a marketing channel, but your competitors probably aren’t. So use the platform to follow their activity to see how they interact with their community. What content do they post? When? How often? How do they engage with their fans? Do they have an Instagram contest running? By answering these questions, you will be able to discover some best practices in your business and define your creative strategy.



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