True North

Triad Payroll Company Increases Mobile Engagement 97% with Responsive Website

Responsive Web DesignScott Jenkins, President of Payroll Solutions, knew his website wasn’t up to par. It was nearly ten years old, and his team realized that a responsive design would be vital to meet client needs. As a result, Jenkins contacted North Star Marketing in late 2016 and launched his new site in April 2017. Since launch, the company is already seeing indicators from the new website that positively impact productivity, sales, and client retention. A few of these include:

  • Increases in direct traffic to the site
  • Fewer visitors leaving the site (lower bounce rates)
  • And a significant increase in mobile visitor engagement

[Concerned about your website’s performance? Click here for your FREE site audit report]

About the Company
Payroll Solutions is a full-service payroll company that specializes in processing small business payrolls, providing paperless web-based services along with traditional payroll processing. The company was born out of an accounting firm more than 50 years ago, becoming a stand-alone firm in 1995. With 12 employees, Payroll Solutions serves businesses across the Piedmont-Triad area of North Carolina, focusing on flexibility and responsiveness to client needs.

Key Challenges
In 2015, Jenkins noticed that the Payroll Solutions website was not being used to its full potential. With a non-responsive design, the user experience on tablets and smartphones was nonexistent.

“We knew that if our clients were not able to access certain applications from our website, they would eventually go to another provider,” Jenkins explained.

The Payroll Solutions team was frustrated with an old and outdated Content Management System (CMS), leaving them less than motivated to update the site regularly. Because it was hard to edit and publish new content, it rarely got done, leading to missed business opportunities and unmet client needs. As the months went by, it became evident that an upgrade was in order.

“We never thought twice about who to call,” Jenkins said. I met Andy Lynch and Clark Morgan about ten years ago through a mutual business contact and got acquainted with their team along the way. As a business leader, it is my goal to be proactive rather than reactive, and North Star’s ideas are always ahead of the curve.”

This was Payroll Solutions’ fourth website design and their second design update with North Star.

How We Helped
The creative team at North Star heard Jenkins’ frustrations with the current CMS and reinforced what he already knew: websites that don’t get updated don’t get traffic. The marketing team explained the value of the WordPress CMS, demonstrating the ease of content updates and the possibilities for Payroll Solutions clients.

With the new interface, clients would be able to log in and access all of Payroll Solutions’ web-based products anytime, from anywhere using a mobile device. This was Jenkins’ primary goal for the project — to be responsive to his current clients’ needs. Gaining more prospects and traffic from businesses looking for specific services was a bonus.

North Star began with a thorough kickoff meeting, analyzing site traffic, documenting pain points, and setting measurable goals for the website revamp.

“When Micah (Fox) and Bryan (Ickes) from North Star came in to chat with us, we really had no idea where we wanted to go in terms of actual design. I am a High C Personality Type (concerned mainly with accuracy and quality) and have little creativity when it comes to things like this.  When they asked me questions about what content I wanted on the site, I froze. I really was not sure. I knew I wanted the information which allowed our current clients to use all of our web-based packages, but that was it,” Jenkins said.

Micah and Bryan worked through a scope gathering process with Jenkins to talk through ideas for the website project, overall website or marketing goals, audience-review, content status and strategy, creative direction, technical needs, and photography.

“Scott engaged us because his industry has changed and he wanted his website to reflect those changes,” Micah said. “These industry changes, coupled with the need for a responsive design and better content management system drove the process.”

Goals identified during that conversation included:

Making portal access simple and visible for Payroll Solutions clients by situating most-needed links in the website header

  • Moving from the old CMS to a WordPress system, solving many of the site management issues faced by the team
  • Implementing a responsive design so clients can access the site and portal from their phones and tablets
  • Better conveying the value of partnering with Payroll Solutions, emphasizing their response time, personalized approach, accuracy, and convenience.  

From there, North Star created a new sitemap and designed wireframes, allowing Jenkins and his team to envision how the new site would look.

Soon after design approval, programming began, and Payroll Solutions was on its way to going live. North Star assisted the team with updating content, outlining benefits of their services, and implementing calls-to-action throughout the site, making it easy for prospective clients to get in touch.

Each week, from the kickoff meeting to the go-live date, Tyler Olson, one of North Star’s project managers, held a scheduled check-in call with Jenkins, updating him on progress and collecting assets needed to complete the job.

“Having a designated point of contact and getting regular updates from Tyler was priceless,” Jenkins recalled.  “We knew that this was a large undertaking, and it was great to have a weekly meeting with him via phone to keep us updated on the status.”

From start to finish, the project took six months. Jenkins was the only point of contact on the Payroll Solutions side and had to step away from the project at times due to an exceptionally busy season for Payroll Solutions.

“During this season, I had very little time to work with North Star,” Jenkins said. “I still participated in weekly updates but couldn’t always give the website project my full attention. North Star respected my needs and continued to work toward completion, taking feedback as I was able to provide it.”

Reaching the finish line was a rewarding event for all. The finalized website was above and beyond what Jenkins and the Payroll Solutions team expected. Not only was the site improved aesthetically, with a brand new design reflecting industry trends, but it was simple to use.

“Keeping content fresh and not allowing our website to become stagnant is a big deal for us,” Jenkins said. “Rather than dreading logging in to make updates, we are now energized by the opportunity to better serve our clients with an informative and educational website.”

The new site outlines all of Payroll Solutions’ services and offers valuable resources for small businesses, such as training videos, a forms library, year-end prep resources, and more. It also provides current clients the opportunity to manage their payroll, time and attendance, employee screenings, e-verify, and other HR functions, all within an innovative, web-based platform.

Jenkins looks forward to building out his site even further, partnering with North Star to implement a full online marketing plan, including an educational blog with monthly updates.

“Having a blog that addresses relevant topics and pain points your customers care about can be a game-changer when it comes to improving online visibility. You want your company to be the one your clients and prospects find when they’re seeking answers online. A blog helps accomplish this. Data shows us that companies who blog see significantly more traffic and leads than those who don’t.” – Clark Morgan, Online Marketing Director at North Star Marketing

The Results
Since the new website launched, Payroll Solutions is already seeing a 9% improvement in traffic above this time last year. Payroll Solutions customers are using the site to its full potential with the tools to manage several HR functions in-house and on the go. With an improved mobile design, the new website has resulted in customers who are using mobile devices staying on the site 97% longer than they did this same time last year.

Prospective clients are also taking notice. New leads are being generated through calls-to-action and forms on the website. Jenkins is excited to report new leads are coming in and states that conversations with future clients have been in the works since the new site was launched.

“In my opinion, you should never develop your own website with a DIY website building package,” Jenkins said. “That will be your end result — a website that looks like you did it yourself! I knew we wanted a website that looked custom built and positioned us as experts in the industry, and that is exactly what we got.”

The next step for Payroll Solutions is to develop and implement an online marketing strategy, which may involve content marketing, social media advertising, blogging, e-mail lead nurturing, and paid search. North Star will partner with Jenkins to choose opportunities with the highest return on investment and implement the campaigns.

“The bottom line is I believe our website is an expression of the quality of service we deliver. That’s why it’s worth the investment,” says Jenkins.

If you’re interested in talking to us about your new website, contact us today!

Making the Switch to a Responsive Website

Responsive Website Development: More than just Geek Speak

How many times have you said to a friend, “just Google it,” or used your smartphone to quickly find the answer to one of life’s pressing questions? Whether you’re looking for local businesses, store hours, or need to know how far Earth is from Mars, the mobile web has you covered. But how often do you find yourself frustrated by websites that just aren’t built for access on-the-go? Pinch-to-zoom gets old quickly when you’re trying to read tiny text. Thankfully, there is a solution – responsive website development.

Whether you’re familiar with the term or not, you’ve probably used responsive websites on your tablet or smartphone. In a nutshell, responsive development is the implementation of multiple design layouts for a single website to account for the various screen sizes people use to browse the web. The width of the screen on individual devices determines the actual layout of the design – it “responds” to the user’s screen preference.

In most cases, you’ll see the same same content that you would find on the desktop version of the site, but organized in a format which is easily accessible from any device. As a result, you get a web experience that displays effectively regardless of the device you’re using. When done right, it can be just as easy to navigate the site on your smartphone as it would be on a desktop computer.

Here’s a quick video displaying how responsive design actually works based on the device size:

Why is responsive design so important?

In early 2014, the Internet landscape saw a massive shift when mobile web traffic exceeded desktop traffic. This means that more people are searching online from phones than computers.This shift isn’t a just passing fad – mobile Internet usage continues to climb and shows no sign of slowing down.

In April of 2015, Google (the industry leader with nearly 74% of all website search traffic) began penalizing search rankings for websites that are not mobile friendly. In an attempt to provide users with more relevant content and better search experiences, Google changed its algorithm to automatically display mobile-friendly sites higher in rankings than those sites that are not yet upgraded to a responsive design. This transition impacted many businesses, as they saw their search traffic drop significantly.

Perhaps you’re wondering if this is an issue for your website. You can start by pulling up your website on your phone. If it feels clunky, difficult to navigate, and hard to read, you probably need a responsive website conversion. Also, if you have Google Analytics set up on your site, you can see the breakdown of devices that are accessing your site. Most likely you’re seeing your mobile website traffic grow. (Click here for a step-by-step overview of how to look up this information.)

It doesn’t have to be a complicated process to convert your website a mobile-friendly format. If you need guidance or help getting started with making your website mobile friendly, contact a North Star Marketing team member today to learn more about the process. (You can even contact us from your phone through our responsive website!)

The Power of Pantone – How We Make Sure Your Brand Always Matches

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon. This historic journey required countless tasks of impressive intellect and skill, perhaps the most significant of which was simply not missing the Moon altogether. Four days before the monumental landing, the crew of Apollo 11 launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as the Earth orbited the sun at a speed of over 66,000 miles per hour, with the goal of ending up on the Moon, which was orbiting the Earth at over 2,200 miles per hour. It was like trying to shoot a quarter from a moving vehicle into the next county over. A miscalculation of just a single degree could mean completely missing the Moon and hurtling into the vastness of space. While one degree may seem insignificant at first, it can quickly escalate to wasted resources, diminished credibility, and a failed mission.

While your business may not be concerned with space travel, a minor variation in your brand can still spell a failed mission for your marketing efforts. The focal points of brand engagement for many businesses has been redirected from traditional media like billboards, trade publication ads, and brochures to a website strategically connected to a constellation of social marketing platforms. This transition has enabled color standards to be more forgiving (it’s a much faster and inexpensive to fix an inconsistent color on a web page than it is on a billboard), but given the number of design files, the different sites they’re distributed to, and the number of hands they pass through from concept to delivery, color shifts can easily occur, and the uniformity of a brand can quickly unravel.

How Colors are Identified

To ensure your brand colors have a solid foundation of standardization, one of the most common and reliable solutions is the new Pantone Plus Color Bridge system. As the only internationally recognized color system, Pantone provides uniform guidelines to convert colors into an easy-to-duplicate CMYK process color code, which can be shared with vendors to ensure consistent results.

The Pantone system begins with a physical color book, where colors are assigned codes that become the universally recognized building blocks of your brand. This allows business owners to see how a specific color will reproduce when printed (using process or spot color) and plan in advance to minimize potential color shifts in different printed media forms. It’s also the way to obtain a concrete reference for ensuring a desired color matches the source of its inspiration.

Color Selection in Action: A Case Study

Let’s say a gardening enthusiast wants to start a business entitled Verbena Garden and Supply Company. Knowing the client’s passion for verbenas, we could use that information to construct the new color palette by recording the exact colors from the actual flower by physically matching them with the Pantone swatch book.

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By matching the colors to the original desired object, the following Pantone CP colors are obtained:

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Out of the 1,677 colors available through this system, our design team ensures that the colors selected have the minimal potential for color shift, resulting in a greater degree of accuracy when reproducing color for all media types and print methods.

With these color codes secured, the colors are then translated to the CMYK used for typical print materials, RGB for all web-based media files, and HTML colors (commonly referred to as “hexadecimal codes” when applied to web programming).

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Launching Your Brand

With a reliable color system now in place, the business owner knows exactly what to communicate to properly reproduce her new logo in all subsequent brand elements.

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Learn more today

Interested in learning more about the branding process and how North Star Marketing can take your brand to the next level? Call us today at 336-229-6610 or request additional information here. We look forward to partnering with you!

Post script: The science of color construction and reproduction has been evolving for centuries. Click here for a monumental attempt to develop an analog system in the Netherlands in 1692. 

The Difference Between a Good Brand and a Great Brand? Consistency.

Every company has a brand, whether they make it a priority or not. Simply defined, a brand is what people think about you – the impressions they have when hearing or seeing your name. In most cases your brand is reflected initially in your logo mark, then supported by your messaging. These experiences influence attitudes and opinions about your company, nonprofit, school, product, service, etc.

A good brand is built over time and requires thought, strategy and consistent implementation. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you have a “good” brand, or at least the beginnings of one. But hopefully you want more than just a good brand.

To take your good brand to the next level, let’s take a look at a great one.

Coca-Cola is a great brand.

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In 2010, Coca-Cola spent $2.9 billion on advertising. By 2013, with a budget of $3.3 billion, their CEO began laying plans to increase that amount to $4.3 billion by 2016.

He called it “Brand Building Initiatives”

From the name to the logo, from the product to the messaging, everyone knows Coca-Cola. It has been said that “Coca-Cola” is one of the most widely recognized terms worldwide, eclipsed only by the word “okay.”

Interestingly, their logo has remained largely unchanged since the 1900s. The script font and classic red are recognizable all over the world, even when displayed in different languages. Even with a massive ad budget, the sheer scale of this branding phenomenon would be unsustainable without an unwavering commitment to consistency.

For Coca-Cola maintaining “brand consistency” is a strategic commitment that is in many ways just as vital to their success as their secret formula. In fact, exporting their messaging is so important to Coke that they spend more on branding annually than Apple and Microsoft combined – all so we, the consumers, will prefer their brand. This consistency extends across every medium, every advertisement, every package, every bottle, every aluminum can.

Does consistency matter to you and your brand?

I don’t know for sure, but I would guess that there are probably two rules at Coca-Cola that, upon being broken, would result in a very bad day for the offender:

  • Don’t change the formula.
  • Don’t change the brand.

I assume your marketing budget is slightly smaller than Coca-Cola’s. However, as you evaluate your brand – your logo, your messaging, your reputation – what can you learn from Coke’s commitment to consistency? Here are a few insights from this designer’s perspective to get you started:

  • Consistency helps you manage perceptions. By thinking carefully and deliberately about your brand you can shape how people perceive your organization. Consistency connotes professionalism, purpose and stability.
  • Consistency conveys your outlook and attitude. A focused effort to establish and maintain consistent branding will deliver a very specific set of impressions: Are you serious? Are you intentional? Do you follow through? Are you focused?
  • Consistency eliminates issues surrounding brand confusion. For many companies, their branding is actually more of a hindrance than a help. A consistent brand should instill confidence rather than engender confusion.
  • Consistency protects your investment. Without established brand standards, many organizations spend thousands of dollars crafting a logo and building a message, only to have it degraded by inconsistent, sloppy application. Build equity in your brand by being consistent.
  • Consistency builds upon previous successes. No one has to guess, “I wonder what this Coca-Cola will taste like?”

Bear in mind your brand is not for everyone. It’s intended to be effective with only a specific segment of the market. These are the people who value what your organization does, makes, delivers, etc. These people will sit up and take notice of organizations that value consistency. They care about the promises your brand makes to them. They make buying decisions everyday based on their perceptions of brand quality. For these reasons and more, it’s easy to correlate the significance of brand consistency.

“Draw the Coca-Cola logo,” I said.

I asked every member of the North Star team to draw the Coca-Cola logo as best they could from memory. I wanted to see for myself how well their investment in branding was paying off. The results were interesting.

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  1. I immediately knew which of my friends were artists and which were not. Clearly some do not have a future in graphic design whatsoever. (Don’t worry, we won’t let them work on any of North Star Marketing’s client logo projects…)
  2. Without exception, everyone knew and recognized the brand. No one asked me, “Now, who is Coca-Cola, and what do they sell?”
  3. Interestingly, despite a $3.3 billion budget and probably having seen the logo thousands of times, no one drew the logo perfectly (though, one was very close).
  4. The majority of people could recreate the brand in a fashion that was generally recognizable.

All of these responses are a direct result of intentional, purposeful brand initiatives. If consistency is that important to Coca-Cola, then surely we can learn some valuable lessons from this global brand that executes with remarkable precision.

A few helpful tips to help you maintain brand consistency:

  1. Don’t read “consistency” as “boring.” Do you think working on Coke ad campaigns is boring? Consistency actually paves the way to creativity with impact.
  2. Communicate to your team the importance of your brand. Start the conversation by asking them to name a few companies they admire and why.
  3. Create a “Brand Standards Guide” – the guidelines that map out how your logo, fonts, colors, tagline, etc. will be used. Make it visual with proper and improper usage examples. It has to be simple and easy to follow, or it won’t have the intended impact.
  4. Go through the Brand Standards Guide with your entire team and provide print and PDF copies for them to reference as needed.
  5. Provide access to the proper logo file types to anyone who needs them. Your team members shouldn’t be  recreating your logo on the fly.
  6. Hold your people accountable and retrain if necessary. It’s okay to appoint some team members to be the “brand police” who flag down offenses and keep the peace.

Consistency is a crucial step towards brand success

When something works well, you almost don’t notice it – sort of like the best referees. You’re so into the game that you can almost forget they’re on the court or field. However, when something doesn’t work, doesn’t fit, everyone feels it. It’s the same way with your brand. You can cause yourself and your team a lot of long-term problems simply by not paying attention to brand consistency.

So, protect your brand. Set in motion a structure for keeping it sharp and consistent. Value what it represents for your organization.

Coca-Cola’s tagline in 1993 was “Always, Coca-Cola.”

You don’t have to be in marketing (or spend $3.3 billion annually) to recognize the value and importance of that.

Does Your Brand Need Direction?

Designing, developing and managing a brand can be a daunting task. If you need help getting your brand in place or just need some direction, contact us North Star Marketing today. Our team of creative professionals can help keep your brand on the path to success.

Is Your Website Mobile-ready for Google’s Major Search Engine Update on April 21, 2015?

NSM-WebGallery-1200px-CFPHave you noticed? As you’ve used your smartphone or tablet, you’ve probably discovered that many of the websites you visit reformat from their desktop version to fit smaller screen sizes. This “right-sizing” of websites is more than just a trend. It’s here to stay, thanks in large part to Google’s evolving methods for ranking websites for search results.

On April 21, 2015, Google will release a major update to its website indexing algorithm that will negatively impact organizations whose websites are not optimized for viewing on smartphones. Sites that are not mobile-friendly can expect significant declines in mobile traffic.

Maybe converting your website into a mobile-friendly layout has been on your radar for a while. Maybe it’s technology you don’t fully understand. Or maybe you just haven’t had the time to research what mobile-friendly websites are all about. If this sounds like you, you’ll want to pay careful attention to the following information.

The Google Algorithm update and who will be impacted

2014 was the first year we saw mobile online traffic exceed desktop traffic for time spent on digital media in the U.S. This trend hasn’t been overlooked by the major search engines. In fact, for the first time ever, Google pre-announced an algorithm change that is scheduled for April 21, 2015. It will be one of the biggest updates in their history.

Google has been hinting at the importance of mobile for some time now, including the release of their Mobile-Friendly Test. To determine if your site is in fact mobile-friendly, simply enter your website address into the field on this test page. If your page submissions pass the test, then you should have nothing to worry about.

If your site fails, you’ve got some work to do and need to begin putting a plan together now. The more traffic your website sees from smartphones, the bigger the impact you will see from this update. To determine the total mobile traffic coming to your website, simply check your Google Analytics reporting. Mobile traffic can be viewed from the Google Analytics reporting dashboard under the Audience section. Once you’ve clicked on the Audience section, click on Mobile, then Devices. Adjust your reporting dates to the past 12 months to get an idea on your average monthly mobile traffic volume.

Why is Google doing this?

With the use of mobile devices outpacing desktop computers, Google’s desire is to serve up the best possible experience to their customers—customers meaning anyone searching online via Google. In order to do that, Google users must find it easier to get relevant and high quality search results that are optimized for their specific devices. As Google looks to maintain search dominance, customer-focused changes that improve user experience will remain at the core of their long-term strategy.

Why updating to responsive is your best mobile-friendly strategy

If your website is not mobile-friendly, don’t panic. Just start formulating a plan to update your site to “responsive” design. Responsive design simply means that your website will detect the screen size and device used by the person accessing your site and adapt accordingly. Each visitor on your website gets a tailored experience that quickly and easily gives them access to relevant content they’re searching for on their device of choice.

Why is this the best strategy? For starters, Google actually prefers responsive design over a mobile version of your website; they actually refer to responsive web design as a best practice. And because Google owns over 87% of today’s mobile search market, aligning your site with Google’s methodology should be top priority.

If you’re still not convinced, we’ve compiled a list of some major strategic advantages to responsive website design:

  • Excellent user experience: In the end, it’s all about delighting your customers. Happy visitors are more likely to purchase, revisit, and refer other prospects to your website.
  • Increased reach online: With the ability to serve up content on any device, your potential audience reach grows exponentially. Your site will appeal to a larger percentage of visitors exploring what you offer.
  • Flexibility: Regardless of potential new screen sizes that may surface in the future, your complete website can easily be delivered to your audience without further updating.
  • Cost savings: Both from a cost and resource perspective, having one website to build, update and maintain will save you substantial time and money. Two versions of your site usually requires significant maintenance and separate SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.
  • Better SEO: SEO is vital and expected now by Google. Since Google prefers responsive web design and will reward sites that provide a better mobile experience with higher rankings, having a responsive site means more traffic and a big competitive advantage. Showing up higher in search results can quickly equate to more leads and sales.

What’s involved in making the shift to responsive?

Your next question is likely, “What’s involved in migrating to a responsive, mobile-friendly website?” If you’re already on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, the shift could be relatively simple and inexpensive. To fully understand all that’s involved, you’ll want to speak with an online marketing agency that specializes in developing responsive websites. Responsive design considerations need to be thought through with a provider that has a solid understanding of marketing, your value proposition, and messaging that is tailored for your audience. A responsive design without proper consideration of your audience could be a waste of money that does more harm than good.

If you would like assistance, our team here at North Star Marketing would be happy to walk you through what’s involved in moving to responsive and provide options tailored to your specific budget.

What you can expect if you don’t take action now

If your site is not currently mobile-friendly, failing to act now will result in your site being penalized once the Google update takes place on April 21st. How bad that penalty hurts your company will depend on what percentage of your online traffic is coming from mobile devices. For example, if your site typically generates 1,000 mobile visits per month and on average 3% of those visits turn into leads, you’re losing 30 leads per month. If 20% of your online leads generally become new customers, that translates into 6 lost sales per month. Depending on your average sale and the lifetime value of your average customer, that could be thousands of dollars in lost revenue every month. Analyzing the impact in terms of lost revenue often makes the decision a no-brainer.

If you do nothing to deal with this update, once your site does end up being penalized, keep in mind this could equate to longer-term pagerank and traffic issues. Migrating over to a new, mobile-friendly site doesn’t happen overnight and won’t create an immediate cure for your traffic woes. Plan on several weeks to several months to bounce back from these search engine penalties.

While the mobile-friendly update will only impact mobile traffic initially, this could change in the future. The value of mobile-friendliness may likely become a more prevalent factor in Google’s search algorithm, impacting site rankings as a whole (including desktop). Preparing now will put you in a stronger strategic position to benefit from this kind of change in the future.

Where do you go from here?

For starters, taking the following steps can help you to prepare now and be ready for what lies ahead:

  • Use Google’s mobile-friendly test to determine if your website will be penalized.
  • Check your Google Analytics reporting for mobile traffic and determine the potential impact any traffic loss may have on your sales.
  • If your site is not mobile-friendly and you have traffic to lose, contact an online marketing agency that specializes in responsive websites.
  • Ask how quickly you can make the shift to responsive. Check with them about any patches you could put in place during the development process.

If you’re a small to mid-size business concerned about the impact of Google’s new mobile-friendly update on your bottom line, take action now! Given the current trend in mobile usage, search traffic from mobile devices will only continue to rise.

Ready to start building your mobile-friendly website strategy? Click here to contact North Star Marketing today.

The Social Tool Your Company May Be Missing – Google+

 

The world of social media often fosters confusion rather than traction. Businesses simply don’t know where to invest their time and energy. If you’re like most, you’ve probably explored at least one of the widely-used platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. But if you have limited time to invest in social media, there’s one platform you don’t want to overlook – Google+. With more than 343 million active users, you’ll want to join the party.

With a vast majority of web searches taking place on Google, your Google+ page can have huge SEO implications. A lot of the information that Google indexes about your company can be controlled by keeping this social media platform up to date. Additionally, Google+ integrates easily across other Google platforms, like Gmail and YouTube, and offers a unique combination of both social and SEO opportunity.

A verified and up-to-date Google+ page can improve both your organic search results, as well as your local rankings. This will allow your business to be more prominent on a page of search results, and increase the number of times you show up on a page. 

Google+ may not be the most well known social media platform, but its vital role in boosting your SEO value should not be overlooked. If you want to learn how to effectively use your Google+ page to drive more traffic and find new leads, contact North Star Marketing today to learn how we can help you take advantage of this powerful social tool.

 

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My Business Comes Via Word of Mouth. Why Do I Need a Marketing Consultant?

Micah Fox - Business DeveloperIt’s true for nearly every company, school and nonprofit we work with: most of their customers (or students or donors or volunteers) come from positive word of mouth. In fact, it’s not even close. Word of mouth beats the socks off of paid advertising.

So, it’s worth asking the question: “Why do I need to market my business if almost all of it comes to me via word of mouth?” Working in sales, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that question over the last five years at North Star Marketing. It’s a valid question. But is it the right question? Read More

Rebranding Mebane – It Started With A Sign

watertower2It’s a strange to think of a city as a brand. There’s no storefront, no salespeople, no products on shelves. While you may not get a receipt, choosing a city for your home or business is one of the biggest “purchase” decisions you can make, and the greatest competition is the next closest mailing address.

Last year, Mebane’s city council set out to come up with a few new wayfinding signs, looking to polish the town’s curb appeal. The process started by developing a tagline to communicate what their city has to offer, but fully encapsulating an entire city is more difficult that it seems. Along the way, it became clear they were missing an essential piece of the puzzle… a logo. Read More

 
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