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Every business wants customers to leave them positive reviews online. Some businesses may even encourage you to do so (more on this in a moment). But with the number of Online Review sites growing (Yelp, Angie's List, Better Business Bureau, Facebook, Google My Business, and Yahoo!), it's becoming more and more difficult for companies to keep track of those reviews. Before you can respond to a compliment or a complaint you'll need to verify your account and build your profile on that review site. It takes a lot of time. Plus, third party review sites seemingly crop up every week — often times containing wrong information, e.g: store hours are incorrect, the number of years you've been in business is outdated, or it still lists your previous company name.

Beware of encouraging your customers to leave you positive reviews. Many of the online review sites can simply "ignore" a glowing review if it's from a brand new account. Even though it's an honest testimonial of your business from an actual satisfied customer, their algorithms may flag it as "not authentic", and it won't be published. Perhaps the most troubling aspect is businesses don't have ownership over any of their online directories. Should a review website decide to shut down tomorrow then all of your reviews will go with it. Frustrating, indeed.

However, there is one place you do have complete control — your website. It's an excellent place to publicize your reviews, especially since not all customers have accounts on Yelp or Facebook. Your website is the perfect place to display their kind words. It also serves to update your website's content organically. I'll often recommend a special section of a client website be dedicated to displaying reviews and testimonials. I'll include a form so happy customers can submit their own unsolicited review. Then we can drive traffic to that page across social media channels or with email newsletters. This kind of control allows us to edit typos, hide outdated reviews, and monitor any testimonial before it goes live.

Abacab Designs can help your business get a better handle on your online reviews.

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One of the most exciting times for any company is the prospect of acquiring a new client. "New biz" can make or break a company's year. Most graphic design/advertising/marketing company's prefer "quality" clients to the "quantity" of clients. That strategy allows for more time to properly focus on a brand, which typically includes research, competitive analysis, meetings, presentations, revisions, phone calls, emails, and production. Balancing too many clients can become too demanding, rushing through projects or cutting corners will affect your existing client base. But what steps can you take to improve your chances of landing that piece of new biz?

  • Design it: Your official company Proposal should look designed. Businesses may even be expecting that. A few design touches here and there can go a long way toward impressing your prospective client. Don't go overboard, though. Keep it clean and easy to read. It should photocopy well, avoid full color images, and avoid bleed.
  • Cover letter: Think of this process like applying for a job position. Briefly disucss your company background. Explain why this client should consider hiring your business, and where you see opportunity for said client to improve their design or marketing strategy. Don't make it all about you. They've presumably done their homework, too.
  • Break it down: Be as detailed as you can be in your pricing structure. What's included? How many logo revisions? How many website pages? How much is hosting? Will they need an SSL? How much is printing? Don't hide any future charges. Clients will appreciate the fact that you've thought the entire project through, and will allow them to budget accordingly.
  • Double up: After you've spell-checked your Proposal you can send a PDF. I prefer to mail a hard copy, as well. Especially if this is your first email exchange with this company, you don't want to end up in their spam folder. Make sure the envelope has your logo on it. Follow up with a phone call in a week or so.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. But these steps will definitely tip the scales in your favor. And at least you'll know you've done everything you could to improve your chances of winning that new biz.

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What does PPC stand for? PPC means pay-per-click, a method of internet marketing in which businesses pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. The most popular form of PPC is search engine advertising, like with Google, Bing, or Yahoo.

It can be a great way to help get your business in front of more people. But your ad campaign needs to be done properly, and with the potential customer in mind. One of the most common questions I get from clients is "how do we show up on page #1?" And while the easy answer would seem to be "money", it's really not that simple. Sure, you can build an extensive Google Adwords campaign and throw huge amounts of money at it. But is that really going to translate into customers? After all, that is the point.

For my clients who want to explore PPC advertising, I recommend we first build a feature-rich, content-heavy, and mobile-friendly website. Then we need to build appropriate landing pages on the website to account for each of their specific products or services. The last thing a visitor wants to see, after having clicked on your text ad, is an outdated and non-responsive website, especially if they're searching from their mobile device. After the website is properly constructed we can begin building the pay-per-click campaigns.

Abacab Designs builds and monitors Google Adwords campaigns for our clients. The most effective campaigns are when we've developed (and maintain) the corresponding client website. It allows for more syncronicity between the two platforms. Any effective PPC campaign will need to be adjusted, and those corresponding adjustments need to be made on the website, too.

PPC is not for everyone. If your website has a blog, or if your website content is regularly updated it will most likely rank high in the search engines organically. We can monitor your website analytics to measure 'traffic' and 'audience', and if those stats are high, then paying for a text ad may be overkill. Besides, it's not uncommon for some viewers to actuallty prefer visiting the organic listings instead of the paid ads. However, if you're in a competitive market, or if you sell "big-ticket" items, then a PPC campaign would be a good investment.

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