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Your Partner in Strategic Planning

The end of the year is a good time to take an in-depth look at your company’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you hit your targeted goals, terrific. But if not, why not?

That’s where we come in. Because while you are the undisputed experts on what you offer, FocalPoint can help you understand the rest of the marketplace.

Having a research team at your disposal can help you more fully understand what your competition is doing and why. And shed light on the where your industry is headed, so you can get ahead of next year’s learning curve.

Once you know where you stand within your marketplace niche and what your competition is doing and why, you can more accurately plan how to best set and meet next year’s goals. For instance, instead of correlating goals with quarterly growth desires, they can be strategically set for the marketplace as a whole, carefully defining your place within that market.

Defining the bigger picture

FocalPoint crunches numbers with the best of them. We also mine external data your business may not have access to. Beyond that, we think it’s essential to look at cultural norms that may be shifting including the businesses and professionals that depend on you.

Unfortunately, strategic planning doesn’t include a crystal ball, but it does glean as much information as possible from the resources at hand, forming a 360 degree view of where you’ve come, where you’re going, and what you are up against.

Once that information is set, a marketing plan it determined that targets your audience in the best way possible.

That could mean utilizing seven different social media sources and a series of correlating radio commercials. Or creating industry specific journal ads targeting key buying cycles.

Or none of the above. It’s good to shake up the expectations and break new ground. Especially when the research suggests a fresh voice is just what’s needed to break through your industry’s ‘tried and true.’

What we’ve come to understand is that although are clients are the experts about their businesses, there are bound to be a few blind spots.

We can help fill in the gaps and help broaden the marketplace view. Then together, we can set up your 2018 for new triumphs.

 

 

Adding Video to Your Website Can Bolster Search.

Not only can this be a cost-effective use of good creative work, but it can also help increase traffic to your site. By embedding the video directly to your site – such as on a landing page – you can increase search, keep visitors on your site longer, and increase repeat visits.

In fact, studies show that practically nothing beats the SEO benefits of landing page video right on your domain:

  • Search results found via a video have a 41% higher click-through rate than text alone and 30% higher than still images
  • According to a recent comScore study, “Visitors who view a video stay on average two minutes longer and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors.”
  • Bingo! Combine high dwell time (staying on the page) with low bounce rates (see below), and you’ll have an enviable SERP — and an increased conversion rate.

That’s because videos tend to make your pages sticky. In other words, they help people pay attention to your site longer. They also tend to remember more about your product after watching.

The average online attention span is less than eight seconds. When visitors click onto your site and then lose interest and click away without moving to another page, you get a high bounce rate.

And that hurts your site’s SERP ranking.

Simply put, a compelling video on your web or blog site is a great way to make people stay. With that in mind, here are some best practices for adding video to your website from the team at FocalPoint:

  • Don’t let your video host monopolize your traffic. Embed video directly to your site. We can show you how.
  • Entice your readers into clicking the video with an engaging preview. Just give them a taste of what is coming up.
  • Use accurate video titles. Don’t deceive your potential viewer.
  • Add text where appropriate to highlight key points
  • Where to place the video is also critical. You want to imbed your video “above the fold,” meaning the imaginary line where users have to scroll to see additional content.

 Keep it short and sweet

In a world where even thoughtful articles get skimmed, videos can be a terrific way to communicate effectively. So, besides being enjoyable to watch, informative, and relatable, they should also be short and to the point. You might also consider adding closed captioning for those who watch videos with their sound off.

So yes, quality video marketing will improve the way you approach SEO to your website. That alone is worth more than all the search engine hacks, tips, and secrets you can dig up.

 

Creating a compelling video

Videos have super powers.

If done right, they can engage, entertain and educate an audience like nothing else can. That’s because using visuals, spoken voice, music and good editing, videos can break through to your audience intellectually and emotionally.

Videos forge a connection and built rapport.

Or – not.

It’s just as easy to miss your mark, losing an audience by packing in too much information, boring them with nothing new, or coming across as out of touch.

Finding the right mix of intellect, humor and emotional appeal is a delicate balance. The magic is difficult to explain, but — you absolutely know it when you see it. And when a video hits the right mark, making you laugh or want to watch it again, your impulse is to share it.

And that’s when you know you’re onto something – when a video gets shared. That’s the goal.

So, how to create a video with super powers?

It starts with clear vision, a great central idea, and excellent writing.

Then the magic really happens in production. All the elements come together; music, sound and narration, timed perfectly with effective visuals.

In a world where even thoughtful articles are skimmed rather than read thoroughly, videos should be concise and on point. And off-beat, funny, irreverent …or charming. Humor can be very effective and memorable.

What’s especially great about video today is that technology is making video more accessible than ever. You don’t need a six-figure budget to create a great video.

 How to make your video affordable:

  • Talk with us, for starters. We do our video work in house.
  • Use simpler video formats. Videos don’t have to be movies with actors and special effects.
  • Animation is compelling and can be very simple.
  • Include video with other marketing services such as websites, landing pages and enhanced listings. Use it or versions of it in lots of places. That can help keep costs down, too.

Yes, Virginia, videos really do have super powers. So by all means, consider a video as a part of your marketing strategy. Consumers like video, use video, share video, and remember video. And that means video brings marketing power to your site’s SEO.

 

 

Web Design - Focal Point Marketing

Now that we’ve set up your website, the real work begins.

Wait, your website is complete.

Isn’t that the goal?

Well, a lot of companies think just that. They set up a nice looking website, print the site URL on all their marketing materials, and move on.

Getting your website set up, well-designed and saying what you want it to say in a compelling way is really the first step in your on-line marketing strategy. Your next step is to make sure your website is working for you now, as well as in the months and years to come.

If you want your website to stay meaningful, you’ve got to keep it relevant.

That’s where managing your website comes into play.

  • Monitoring and tracking visits to determine if visitors do more than arrive, look at your first page and leave. If so, something’s wrong.
  • Make sure your prospects get to the information they are seeking with as few clicks as possible.
  • Make sure there is new material added to the site on a regular basis. That could be blogs, product updates,  special offers, videos, or testimonials.
  • Stay on top of crucial software updates.
  • Execute website backups on a regular basis.

It all comes back to strategic planning, designing your website is just the beginning. It’s the hard work, the know-how and the strategic thinking that keeps your website working for you when it’s brand spanking new, and in the months and years to come.

If you have questions or would like to learn more feel free to reach out to me via email.

brien@focalpoint.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Can you help us pull together a website?”

At FocalPoint, the answer is, “Sure, we’d love to be your go-to company on your website project. But let’s talk about this before we get started.”

If this is our first work with a new client, we initiate a lot of conversations before we touch the cursor. We like to think of this as “Website Design and Development 101.” It really is a prerequisite before we begin work.

Why? Because the best place to begin is to really consider why you want a website in the first place.

  • Is this to replace or update an existing site? Why replace it? What was right and what wasn’t about the existing site?
  • What is your single most important message and why?
  • What does the site need to do?
  • Answer questions about what you do or be a resource to provide info or tools to existing customers?

We want to be sure that your website is more than a place to talk about who you are and what you do. If that’s all your website does, it won’t drive traffic. It will probably just sit there as a line on your business card.

For a website to do what it’s supposed to do, it has to:

  • Is your website responsive?
  • Draw you in
  • Provide you with needed information right off the bat. In three minutes, a potential customer should know who you are, what you do, and why your company matters
  • Be strategically engineered to drive readership
  • Built around intuitive navigation (i.e., making your key points easily understood and getting eyes further into the site to provide more information)
  • Set a strategically considered tone with color, visuals and copy.

Once we begin communication with new clients around the strategic design of their website, we often uncover previously undiscussed topics, for instance:

  • What really sets you apart from your competition?
  • How does what you do matter?
  • Does your logo accurately reflect a sense of what you are/what you do?
  • Does your tag line provide memorable new information about your company, or just sit there because you’ve used it for ten years and never thought much about it?

Even after the site work is begun, we’re really just getting started. Because once that website is up, you’ll need to manage it to keep if working for your business, adding fresh content from time to time.

So yes, we can help you build and design that new website. But with us, the site will be much more than new.

It will provide the right information to your audience at the right time. It will drive the right kind of traffic to your business.

It will also provide your potential client with a reason to contact you to learn more.

This is how we think at FocalPoint.

We position our clients strategically to succeed.

A Big Social Shift to Video is Underway – How Is Your Business Adjusting?

Social media is changing so fast today. Having worked in the marketing and technology arena for over 25 years, I realize it’s the nature of the beast. However, I feel like in just the last six months there of been an incredible amount of breakthroughs on the big social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

It got me thinking, if you are a business that isn’t engrained in social on a daily basis as part of your marketing strategy – figuring out where to start would be mind boggling. So much so, I think it’s no wonder that this uncertainty often creates paralysis when it comes to social media marketing.

If you’re a business you may be wondering…

  • How am I supposed to keep up?
  • What am I missing out on?

Most importantly, you’re probably trying to figure out what actually makes sense for you and what type of budget it requires.

To me, this very topic hits right at the core of any great client-agency relationship. You see, our job at Focal Point is to help you navigate the latest updates updates and put together a social media marketing strategy that actually makes sense for your business.

With that said, I am going to give you the quick, 30,000 ft. view with what’s going on with some of the big players in social media right now. There’s a major trend/common thread I see continuing throughout 2017 and beyond. And that trend is video on social.

Video Is Everywhere on Social Media

I read a prediction recently that suggested in the next couple of years, 80% of all social media will be video posts. That’s right, 80%. I can’t say I disagree with that. In fact, I recently wrote a blog post about how you can get the most out of video by using it to propel your marketing strategy.

There’s no doubt toward the end of 2016 and into 2017, we’ve seen an explosion of video across all social networks. More specifically, live video. Social networks are betting big on live video. But should you? I’ll get to that in a moment.

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has put plenty of resources behind the roll out of live video at Facebook and has clearly given preference to such videos in the newsfeed. We’ve seen many new features rolled out with Facebook live that indicate it’s here to stay. Further, more and more news channels/media outlets are using Facebook live to increase their reach greatly.

Facebook has also added more features for brand pages in the way video is delivered. This includes built-in calls to action (CTA’s) and automatic closed captioning features. This is big as many people view videos on social with the sound off at first.

Even more is on the way, too. 360 degree photos area already here and video is next.

Twitter

On the Twitter side of the equation, we’ve also seen the rise of live video. Periscope (live video broadcasting tool that used to be a standalone app) is now baked into Twitter and you can go live right from your Twitter account. Additionally, Twitter increased the video length to over 2 minute videos and media (photos and video) no longer counts toward your 140 character total.

While there has been some buzz about the future of Twitter…it’s clear to see they’re investing big on video as well.

Instagram

Instagram quadrupled its bet on video by taking the previous 15 second video upload limit and increasing it to 4X that amount to a full minute. This Facebook-owned social network also rolled out live video and a host of other features such as Boomerang and Stories (a page out of the Snapchat playbook) which allow for more creative video posts.

Snapchat

Speaking of Snapchat, the new(er) kid on the block is certainly making some waves out there. With over 200 million users and updates to its advertising capabilities, Snapchat is sparking some interest from businesses. And guess what – they’re rolling out more video features. You can now add videos to your Stories, send a video Note and have a video Chat.

Organic Social & Paid Social Advertising

It’s worth noting that this trend toward video is happening majorly on both the organic and paid side of social media advertising. Soon ads will be a part of most video experiences on social media, including live video. As more and more videos are viewed via social media and on the web, I think advertisers that have traditionally used television will begin to make a shift in their ways as well. It’s this simple: more eyeballs will be on mobile devices than TV screens consuming video.

So, What Next?

Now you’ve got a better understanding of this social shift that is taking place across networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. But what are you supposed to do next? If you’ve never even published a video from your business on a social media network, you may be overwhelmed with all of the things to consider.

Then there’s live video. Just because it is available and on the rise doesn’t necessarily mean it makes sense for your business. In fact, I’d say there are some things you should definitely consider before you jump into live video. All things that I’d be happy to discuss.

Let’s Talk

My hope is that I’ve started a conversation with this post. It’s a conversation that needs to take place if you’re at all in the game of social media advertising. And it’s a conversation I’d love to have with you.  Here’s how to reach me…

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