True North

Lead with Humility: Two Models for Leadership

Any honest pursuit of excellence is going to produce humility—or at least the opportunity for it. To keep pressing ahead and breaking new ground as we lead our teammates and clients means we have to look again at what drives real leadership. Ryan Cardwell, a senior developer and member of the North Star leadership team, gives us his quiet, compelling take on what it means to Lead with Humility.

Lead … with humility. I know that on the surface, these concepts may seem completely disconnected, but if we can look more deeply at their relationship we can see how they work in synergy to produce an ideal harmony.

Untempered leadership engenders an overbearing, tyrannical, arrogant, distant, cold environment. The people who suffer under that kind of unmitigated control usually respond with fear, resentment, and conflict. This is not an environment that makes a truly successful workplace.

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These 6 SEO Basics Will Help Improve Your School’s Search Rankings

We recently published an article that discussed the decline in click-through-rates on organic searches and proposed some solutions for regaining that visibility. While it’s true that Google routinely pushes down organic search results in favor of Google Ad placements and other search engine results page (SERP) features, having your school rank well in organic search is still an unignorable part of your digital marketing strategy.

“Organic search remains the fuel you need to establish sustained long-term growth.”

Of the nearly 20 K-12 private school clients whose digital marketing efforts we oversee, all of them see the overwhelming majority of their traffic come to their website through organic search. So, yes, while the Google Ads platform and SERP feature optimization are important cogs in your digital marketing machine, organic search remains the fuel you need to establish sustained long-term growth for your website traffic and, ultimately, your school’s enrollment.  Read More

Commit to Excellence: It’s a Process Before a Product

Commit to Excellence is the core value we begin with at North Star Marketing. It is also where we always return to start again because our core values are not a disconnected list of abstractions we love. They are each a part of an ongoing process that informs every corner of our work. Our creative director, Rob McDorman, deeply understands this commitment and process, and we can’t think of a better, more humble spokesperson for our leading core value.

Think about shopping for a chair. At some point, we’ve all gone looking for just the right one, either for the office or some room in our house. You don’t buy the first one you see or sit in. You probably do not buy the twentieth one you try out. You probably need to sit in a lot of chairs before you find the one you want. 

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Reclaiming Online Visibility in 2019 [3 Critical Strategies]

“We want to rank first for that keyword.”

If you run a small business, I’m sure you’ve had that thought. It’s a great goal to have. And yes, ranking first for a specific term has its advantages.

But it also doesn’t mean what it used to. Take a quick look on Google today, and you’ll find that first position organic search results are now pushed down the page and below the fold by ads, local map packs, and other Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features. It’s likely your prospects could search Google for a keyword you rank well for, but never see your company’s listing! 

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How to Win Local Searches with Google My Business in 2019

Whether investigating private school options or searching locally for quality running socks, the first place people go to is Google. Your school or company may provide the exact service or product someone is searching for, but without an accurate and optimized Google My Business listing, there’s a chance you’ll be invisible when they look for you online.Google My Business Set Up

The presence and quality of your Google My Business (GMB) local listing has become a vital differentiator to gain visibility in Google search results. If Google recognizes your business as a top contender in the search, the GMB listing appears at the top of a search result on mobile or the right-hand side of a desktop search result. Read More

See What the WordPress Gutenberg Update Means for Your Website

WordPress is an amazing Content Management System (CMS) that powers websites across a wide variety of industries.  In fact, more than 30 percent of the top 10,000 websites run on WordPress. It is open source, meaning that it is free to use and hundreds of developers donate their time to keep the platform safe, secure, and fast.  Our development team at North Star Marketing consists of a few developers that help give back to that community through volunteering time and speaking at WordPress Meetups and WordCamps all over the country.

Getting Ready for the New Gutenberg WordPress Update

North Star has helped hundreds of clients – from schools, colleges, and healthcare networks to banks, accounting firms, and manufacturers – reach key audiences through engaging websites that are built on the WordPress platform.  We’re making sure all of the websites we host continue to function seamlessly when the next major update to WordPress, Version 5.0, is rolled out in the next month. If your website currently utilizes WordPress, keep reading to learn what to expect with this latest update.

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Why VirCon6 is a Must for School Marketers


If you’re in education marketing or admissions, don’t miss this virtual conference.

I first became aware of Brendan Schneider through my friend, Rick Newberry (a.k.a. “Globetrotter,” a.k.a. “Selfie Samurai”), an enrollment consultant who has worked with hundreds of schools across the U.S. and beyond to help them boost their numbers in a sustainable way.

As I’ve followed Brendan over the years, I’ve come to appreciate why he’s a go-to source for so many marketing and enrollment professionals. He’s not speaking out of theory. He’s practicing his craft as Director of Advancement at Sewickley Academy in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. And he gets results.

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Never Sit on a Mediocre Chair: Advice from a Marketing Firm with a Commitment to Excellence

Think of a chair.
It may be a fairly beautiful chair; imagine its intricate carvings and a polish that reflects a flawless finish. But let’s face it… chairs are not for viewing; they’re for sitting.

At the crucial moment of trust, we place a significant measure of personal pleasure or pain, joy or embarrassment in the functionality of a chair. Unless, of course, you are the kind of impervious soul who enjoys ridicule, no one desires to come crashing to the floor due to a mediocre chair construction process.

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