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Wiregrass, LLC logo
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Wiregrass, LLC

Sarasota, Florida, Sarasota

Wiregrass, LLC logo
W

Wiregrass, LLC

Sarasota, Florida, Sarasota

About

Our team consists of brand and brand management professionals, experts in marketing, social media and public relations. We have published 268 articles, 74 podcasts and 6 TV shows on a variety of business topics.

Here are some examples of the type of information we create to educate you about what you can do on your own and how we can help you.

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Q&A

Here are some questions and answers about what makes a great website.
Q. How do you analyze website performance?

A. There are many ways to analyze a website. No. 1, if sales are going through the roof, if phone calls are coming in, if there are a lot of email requests, those are all ways to verify that a site is working. To get more technical, drill down into Google Analytics. There’s a wealth of data Google tracks that provides pertinent information on how a website is performing.

Q. What is Google Analytics?

A. It’s tracking software. Incoming website traffic provides data regarding visitor site duration, number of users, the bounce rate and pages viewed per session. This information can be used to play detective, so to speak, to see what’s working and what’s not working on the site.

Q. What is a bounce rate?

A. A bounce occurs when a visitor hits the site, sees one page and leaves. Now, that bounce rate ties in with the time on the site and number of sessions per user. A high bounce rate and a low session time on the site means something’s not right. Visitors come and go quickly. This could occur for several reasons, such as: spam sites hitting; it’s not the page visitors were looking for; it’s not the company they were looking for; or they’re not impressed with that one page and they leave.

Q. Is having Google Analytics the same as SEO?

A. The answer is absolutely yes and no. Having a library card in your wallet doesn’t make you smarter unless you actually read books. Companies may think they’re doing SEO by having analytics but the reality is, unless someone is looking at those numbers and doing something with them, it’s not SEO.

Q. How are analytics used to help SEO?

A. View incoming traffic and the number of users per month. Is that number going up or down? These metrics delineate traffic patterns and trends, what’s working and what’s not. For example, a site may have a high bounce rate. This may indicate people don’t like the site, unless of course the phone is ringing off the hook from that bounce rate. You have to understand how to interpret the numbers and trends.

Q. How can the phone ring off the hook with a high bounce rate?

A. If there are online sales, visitors may search for a page online, find one page, make the call or place the order. In this case, that’s not a bad bounce rate.

Q.. What should the average website owner view in Google Analytics?

A. When I talk to clients around the world, they don’t really understand the analytics. They may say, “We have Google Analytics in our site for new customers,” and they don’t really know what to look for or how to use the data.

Starting with the basics, there’s two sides: one is the audience side, indicating who’s looking, from where and when; and the other side is acquisitions, how visitors are finding the site.

On the audience side, the overview tells many things, such as how many people came to the site, how long they stayed, how many pages they viewed and the bounce rate. This provides information that can help discern trends and patterns.

The acquisition side tells you where visitors are coming from, how they’re finding the site through the search engines, referrals, and other websites.

Q. Is one of the keys, as in any business metric, to understand what you’ve been doing and try to improve regardless of what that number is?

A.. Sure. Tracking these numbers is a good way to focus on parts of a website that aren’t performing well. If there’s a page that has a very high bounce rate, look at that page and make it better. Consider a call to action for visitors to do something once they get there.

Q. What’s the difference between users and sessions?

A.. Users track the people that visit. If 10 people visit, that’s 10 users. Let’s say each person goes back twice in a 30-day interval. So you’ve got users of 10, but you have sessions of 20. Generally, what you find is users indicates one number and sessions are slightly larger because visitors came back and looked again. Google tracks IP addresses, so Google knows when visitors come to the site for the first time or if they’re returning. It’s that returning viewer that creates a higher session rate.

Q. What is a landing page?

A. A landing page should function like a table of contents, indicating what’s in the site. It can list products and services with bullet points and links to pages. It’s a place to learn more “about us” and who’s part of our team. A landing page provides a call to action, a menu, where visitors can look, find, click and go.

Q. What general advice would you give somebody who wants to know about analytics?

A. Add Google Analytics into your website so Google can start tracking. There’s a free code that Google will provide. The second most important thing is to observe the trends and use them to help make decisions to market your company better.

To be considered as a client with us, you have to have your ducks in a row, be organized and be able to inform us what you want to accomplish. We want you to verbalize your big picture. What does success look like for you? What stage are you at:

I have done nothing yet, I am just starting, I have a company name, I have a logo, I have a tagline, I have a website, I have customers, I need PR, I don't know what my next step is, etc...

We will take it from there, come up with a game-plan, get approvals and move forward to accomplish your goals.

IF YOU ARE IN BUSINESS today, you must have a Web presence.

One of the most important decisions in setting up a website is choosing someone to design, create and update your site. Within that context, you must focus on areas including search engine optimization and social media. These decisions are costly and time-consuming, but necessary.

Of utmost importance is the degree to which your website will be working for you. You need to consider many variables, especially the ability of your website to get the word out to your audience. You want your Internet presence to distinguish your business from your competition. It must have “calls to action” that move interested viewers along the buying continuum funnel from just looking, to new and, eventually, repeat customers. Efficiently converting browsers to buyers is your goal and the ultimate measure of your success.

Content is indeed king. Good content can increase your brand’s reach and your bottom line. Great content displayed creatively can do even more.
Google’s Panda update of its search-engine software sought to penalize poor-quality content in its search-result rankings.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads. Content marketing has a return on investment that’s three times that of paid search. To develop an integrated content - marketing strategy, each piece of content used in your website must be part of a larger plan. You must make content work for your brand.

Important things to consider:

CONTENT METRICS
According to the Content Marketing Institute, eight content metrics should be measured:
1. Reach -- How many unique visits are there?
2. Geography -- Where are they coming from?
3. Mobile -- Are they coming from mobile searches?
4. Engagement -- How much time is spent with your content and what’s the bounce rate?
5. Heat maps -- What are the user click patterns?
6. Page views -- How many pages are being viewed?
7. Sentiment -- What comments are left?
8. Social sharing -- Is your content being shared on Facebook or other social media?

Have valuable content on your site. Valuable content targets your audience and is search- engine friendly. Remember, content marketing is marketing.

Use Google AdWords. Signing up for Google AdWords is free. You only pay when someone clicks your ad to visit your website, or calls you -- in other words, when your advertising is working. Develop a reasonable budget and test, test, test.

Keyword research is a critical component to an integrated search-engine optimization strategy. You need to know what people are searching for so you can target the right audience. It is likely that mobile searches submitted verbally (ie: through Siri) will be different than expected. People express themselves differently when they’re speaking compared with when they’re typing. These searches are often called long-tail.

Preemptively develop answers to the most common searches or questions asked in your industry.
Use one keyword for each page of content you are promoting.
See what terms are searched for most (high search volume) and what terms have the least competition to improve your chance to be selected. Keyword research should fuel your content-generation strategy. Google has keyword-contextual targeting tools that seek to bring your message to the right customers when they are online.

Decide if your content is going to be that of a thought leader or designed to promote brand awareness. Are you seeking engagement or customer retention? Content should be focused, high-impact and be optimized for search engines. Your goal is to provide value to your audience.

Determine what you expect to accomplish with your content-marketing strategy. Is your audience large enough to justify the time and expense that will be involved in creating it?

It’s a good idea to develop a content marketing checklist.
Have a style guide for the content. Know the tone of your site. For example, will it be formal or conversational?
It’s important that your audience can find what they are looking for, that your content is readable, understandable and also sharable. Make sure there is a call to action, and a place for comment.

As you can see, it takes a lot of thought, time and effort to develop quality content for your site. But this all-important content will be valuable for your audience and, ultimately, for your bottom line.

To be considered as a client with us, you have to have your ducks in a row, be organized and be able to inform us what you want to accomplish. We want you to verbalize your big picture. What does success look like for you? What stage are you at:

I have done nothing yet, I am just starting, I have a company name, I have a logo, I have a tagline, I have a website, I have customers, I need PR, I don't know what my next step is, etc...

We will take it from there, come up with a game-plan, get approvals and move forward to accomplish your goals.

I love helping make other people successful. I am often asked about how to run a successful small business. What are the keys that will ensure success? I would like to share some of these important tips with you.

There is no magic formula, but over the years I have put together a list of tips, and today I would like to share 23 of these with you.

While most of these tips are original constructs, others have been adapted, modified, altered, or garnered from fellow business executives, employees, friends, seminars and books. They are numbered for your convenience.

1. Cash is king; thou shall not run out of cash. Cash is the lifeblood of every business. When you run out, your business is dead!

2. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just change the spokes -- This is my best adaptation of any tip. Just a small change to a proven strategy may make all the difference in the world.

3. “Just Say No!” -- Nancy Reagan said this referring to drugs. In business, there are so many decisions to be made, and many are bad ones. This is especially true for start-ups with limited dollars and limited time. You cannot afford to make big (and usually expensive) mistakes. Learn to “Just say no.”

4. Prioritize by doing first things first, and second things never. Always do the most important thing for your business first, and when that’s done, the second one will become the first.

5. Count everything that’s countable and then determine the most important metrics for your business, AKA key performance indicators, or KPI. Every business should develop its most important numbers. Measure them consistently.

6. Don’t dig a deep hole. Do what you can yourself. Keep your business lean and mean.

7. Hire only when you must. Wait until you need 1 -1/2 persons to do a job before you hire to fill that job.

8. Hire slow, fire fast. Admit the mistake, face up to it and terminate immediately -- it will be better for all concerned. Most people do the opposite of this -- they hire fast and fire slow.

9. Don’t fall in love with your business. You can be passionate about what you are doing, and that’s great. But it’s still a business. Save your love for family and friends.

10. Do the research yourself, because you must internalize it. Don’t hire someone else to do your key research. You need to do it yourself, so you can understand all aspects better. Create your own business plan, too.

11. Inspect what you expect from others. If you ask someone to do something, make sure they do what you wanted and that it is done properly.

12. The boss should be the top sales person. Stay in touch with your clients. Go on sales calls, stay tuned into the market.

13. “About right” now is better than exactly wrong later. Act now! Don’t procrastinate because you’re waiting for information.

14. Hire smart rather than manage tough. You can’t change people and shouldn’t try. Hire for attitude and train for skills.

15. Do the right things rather than do things right. Be effective first, efficient second and solve the right problems.

16. Pull the plug if you know it’s not working. Many lose their life’s savings because they are stubborn. Be honest with yourself. Take the loss and move on. The sooner the better.

17. To solve a problem, you have to be aware of the problem. Learn how to know what you don’t know, this is easier done than said.

18. Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care -- about them! Take the time to learn what your customers and employees really want.

19. Create written goals. The “what” must have a “when.” Write specific, achievable, worthy goals (the what) with realistic dates for accomplishment (the when).

20. Think both outside the box and inside the box. Use divergent thinking to explore possibilities and convergent thinking to drill down.

21. Try to improve just a little, maybe just one thing, every day. Over time, the result will be enormous.

22. Bet on the person with past successes in the industry. People who have been successful will tend to be successful again and again.

23. Network constantly. Be particular where you go, and network with a purpose. You don’t need to meet everyone. Before you go to a networking event, try to learn who will be there and decide whom you would like to meet. Think quality over quantity.

I love helping make other people successful. My expertise is in leading a team to be successful. Having great life experiences has led me to run several non-profits to be 'best of breed' and now I am helping small businesses through Bark.

We are an obvious choice, but we are not right for everyone. Brand and branding strategy are complicated topics. Here are some tips you should know as a small business.

The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.” Simple enough, right?

Your brand resides within the minds of consumers, customers and prospects in a hierarchy (you are positioned first, second, etc., when your company/product is thought of). Your brand is composed of exposure to, perceptions of and personal experiences with your company, product or service. You can influence the public’s attitude and behavior toward your brand through advertising, word of mouth and other means.

Having a strong, recognizable brand is invaluable and should be the cornerstone of your marketing communications. Brand messages should be clear, credible, confirming, and connecting, while motivating buyer loyalty.

Your branding strategy is present at every point of public contact. Some of your considerations and components should be:

Name development -- It should be memorable, evocative and differentiating. Beware of cultural differences if exporting.

Logo development -- Logos should be used consistently. Develop a style guide to help define how to use, where to use, colors to use, size, proportion and placement.

Trademark™ or Register(R) your mark

Taglines -- “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin,” “Just do it,” “The quicker picker upper,” “Google it,” “It Works!” Use memorable product attributes and benefits.

Corporate identity -- Everything you do helps build or detract from your identity. Use social channels to help in brand building.

Packaging -- Your packaging says a lot about your company. Think of Amazon and its smiling logo on its boxes, or how Apple products are packaged. Everything matters with your branding strategy.

Website design -- Do the most you can with the budget you have. Look at websites you like and copy their use of design elements with your message. You can use free templates offered by WordPress.

Your branding strategy should seek to increase awareness, build trust, position your product first in the mind of the consumer, continually build your brand and drive conversions (sales).

In a well-defined approach, market research (budget allowing) should focus on perceived value of your brand, surveys of customer awareness, attitudes, intentions to purchase and actual buying behavior.

Keep in mind what the competition is doing, as you will be measured against other similar choices. Your goal is to carve out a messaging niche that resonates with your target audience.

One example of many:
Name development -- I love creating names out of thin air. In Orlando, I started a magazine called Orbus™. The name was a combination of Orlando and Business. My tagline was “Bringing Orlando and Business together.” Orbus was a great success and was sold for seven figures within two years. Not too shabby.

But at first it sounded funny. What’s an Orbus? After a short while, however, the business community would say, have you seen that article in Orbus about such and such? It really caught on -- it was unique and easily identifiable. There was no doubt that Orbus was positioned as “the” business magazine of Orlando.

Brand architecture and extension -- In the ’80s, I published a group of magazines called Office Guides. These publications were real estate directories listing available commercial office space. The publications were supported by commercial developers (office and industrial) and product- and service-related advertising.

The first magazine was Office Guide To Tampa. In scaling this brand, the series was rolled out to Orlando, Miami and Broward and Palm Beach counties, the state of Florida, Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona.

The branding was kept consistent for the logo and the layout. The publication was given a $10 cover price, because nobody throws out a $10 magazine. The circulation was primarily controlled and targeted to company presidents and relocation professionals.

The Manasota SCORE podcast series, Been There, Done That! with Dennis Zink, is available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, at Manasota.SCORE.org and now at SCORE.org (our national website), which receives over 250,000 unique monthly visitors -- great exposure.

The name Been There, Done That! effectively positions our podcast series by conducting feature interviews with business executives and thought leaders discussing their experience and knowledge on a particular business topic. These podcasts are also available at centreofinfluence.org.

Most recently, we created a TV show and the initial comments are fabulous.
https://manasota.score.org/resource/buying-business-score-business-tv

Finally, where should you place your message for branding? Depending on your business, product or service, you should consider using print, TV, radio, outdoor, direct response, digital, mobile, social media, email, podcasts, YouTube and other methods to get your message out to the public.

Target your message to customers who will buy and then influence others to also buy your brand.