Jessica Kircher Joins Maximize as Web Director

jessica-kircher-maximize-digitalFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MAXIMIZE DIGITAL MEDIA HIRES JESSICA KIRCHER AS WEB DIRECTOR

Maximize Digital Media is pleased to announce its recent hire of Jessica Kircher, who will join the Maximize team as Web Director. In this role, Kircher will join the design team, providing graphic and website design for new and ongoing client projects.

“I was attracted by the company’s mission to help businesses build a stronger brand presence locally and beyond” Kircher said. “I share their belief that small business is the backbone of every community, and I love the idea of being able to help our clients strengthen their business, and their bottom line with websites that convert into leads and more sales.”

Kircher comes to Maximize with five years of experience working in graphic design, and brings a plethora of additional skills with her as well.

“Jessica’s fresh perspective and passionate approach to the design process is a breath of fresh air in the office,” CEO Chrissanne Long said. “She brings a new kind of energy to the team, and her desire to give back in the community in which she has grown up makes her a perfect fit for Maximize.”

Before working for Maximize, Kircher served as general manager, art director and trainer for California-based fusionZone Automotive. While working as a general manager, she developed skills through her hands-on experience with WordPress, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. She attained her Associate of Arts degree in Design and Multimedia in 2014 from Keiser University.

“The next best decision I needed to make for my career was to join a team that needed my cumulative skillset as much as I needed their support,” Kircher said. “My future with this company makes me smile.”

Kircher combines her recent experience in project management and graphic design with a background in print production, brand identity, and social media, bringing a lot of new opportunities to the Maximize team.

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Maximize Digital Media is a provider of website design, digital marketing, and social media advertising services to a diverse list of businesses and organizations, including retailers, legal services, speakers, national chains and local, independently-owned businesses throughout the country. Their proven track record and commitment to excellence since 2009 has enabled them to serve over a thousand businesses and organizations to maximize their success online.

For more information about the company, please contact Olivia George at 863-606-5994, email info@maximizedigitalmedia, or visit the Maximize website at maximizedigitalmedia.com

7 Signs It’s Time to Redesign Your Website

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Ready to Blast Off?

Have the Perfect Website to Launch
your Digital Marketing Campaigns

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Similar to anything in life, there are cycles – doing your laundry, working out, and even stages in your life. It’s no different with digital marketing. We’ve talked about how to reach your customers online, but there’s more to it than that.

The fact of the matter is, what looked and functioned amazingly in 2012 isn’t going to hold up 5 years later. Design, just like your underwear, should always be changing. There’s new advancements in technology every day, people are interacting differently with their environment, and brands that influence design style are more prominent through social media.  But, having a good-looking website is only one piece of your game plan to blast off into 2017 into unknown territory.

We’ve compiled 7 mission-critical red flags to look for when deciding whether it’s time to upgrade/update your website.
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PERCENT
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of Mobile Search users have found a new company or product through use of their smartphone.
(Google, 2015)

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1. Your Website Doesn’t Look Good on Mobile

There are several website design approaches you can take to make sure your website’s functionality is working for your audience, but the best one is Responsive Website Design. Today, more users are using their phone to find information or shop. This means your website will potentially (if search engines are finding your information relevant for users) be in front of more eyes, more often and more frequently. Here are some things to consider:

  • Does your website layout fit to the screen without scrolling horizontally?
  • Is the text readable?
  • Is information easily found?
  • Are your call-to-actions loud and distinct?
  • Can people navigate from page to page?
  • Can a customer successfully check-out with minimal clicks?

If you answered “no” to one of these questions, chances are it’s time for you to look into getting a mobile responsive website. Just one of those questions can lead to a user leaving your website without the information or product they want and go to a competitor.
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WordPress Login
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2. You Can’t Update Your Site

At Maximize, we believe in empowering our clients. We don’t ask that you become expert designers, but do provide training that will have you feeling comfortable about changing a paragraph, uploading images, managing inventory — if you want that ability, you should have it. HTML websites require people who know developing language to build and edit your site. This, as you may know, is not functional for people on a budget.

Now, Content Management Systems (CMS) are on the rise for their easy-to-use interface. WordPress  is by far the most popular of the bunch. Building your website on an CMS platform allows you to manage your website with minimal coding knowledge. The only downside is setting up WordPress onto a domain will most likely require you to start fresh.

If you do not have the ability to edit your website, whether it is due to restrictions set by your website designer or because your site is designed through HTML, you may need to start thinking of empowering yourself as a business owner with a site you can manage.
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3. No Social Media Outbound Links

Your social media and website should work hand in hand. With the role that social media plays in our life now, it is crucial to have activity that is engaging and valuable to your potential customers.

By having social media links visibly on your website, you’re encouraging visitors to follow further for updates and special offers. Your website often offers static information (pricing, product information, history of your company), but social media is dynamic and ever-changing. Ideally, you should have both header and footer links promoting your social media pages.

If your website has no links to your Facebook, Twitter, etc… you’re missing out on providing a valuable connection to your customers that can increase your brand loyalty.
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4. Search Engines Can’t Find Your Website

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is key to making sure you’re found online. Ranking on page 1 on Google is a hard task, but sometimes… maybe your website isn’t ranking at all? Graphics and design refreshers are great, but ultimately you’ll need to understand that SEO is an ongoing process.

Website design with keyword infused into the elements help organically boost rankings. For example, if all of your images are saved as the filename from a digital camera (ex: IMG495883.PNG), that’s not offering anything relevant. You want to name images using keywords related to the image contents & your keyword strategy. SearchEngineWatch has a good guide on how to optimize images for web use.
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Is the text on the page written well? That’s a question people tend to have. By focusing on creating keyword relevant headlines and mentioning locations in your post, you’re able to boost into local searches for the keyword + location. Having a website that is not optimized for SEO can hinder you greatly and there are tools (on WordPress, especially) that allow easier management than hand-coding.

The most important thing to remember is SEO is an ongoing process. It can take 30 to 90 days to see a result. For further questions about SEO and getting to page one, please view our FREE guide on Thinking Like Your Customers.
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Evans-before-and-after
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5. Your Site Looks Outdated

A good general rule of thumb is to have your website evolve every year or so. Whether that’s a full redesign or not is up to you, but elements should change to reflect your business’s growth. Unfortunately, you have around 5 seconds (if you’re lucky) to make a good first impression on your site visitor. Modernizing buttons, call-to-action areas, and streamlining content can make a big change in how your website is presented.

Right now, minimalist styles are huge! For example, if you’re a Pool Cleaning company, you don’t need to slap water images, dancing water drop .gifs or the sound of rushing water on your website. A simple white background instead of a rippling pool of water texture allows your audience to digest information clearer.

Drop the Comic Sans and leave the clip art alone — the early 2000s are long and gone. Your website is a reflection of you and thus, should look its best.
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6. Your Site IS Outdated

Okay, so we talked about graphics, but what about the content on your website? Google is definitely in favor of having fresh content written for users. By creating new valuable content on a semi-regular basis, you’re showing the search engines that you’re relevant.

A great strategy is keeping your “About” page up to date and adding new services to your website when they are available. We’ve seen websites with team members that have been gone for years! It is important to not only appease to the search engine gods, but to also keep important information visible.

Your website should also have the capabilities to have blog posts. Blog posts are crucial for giving important content to people browsing on certain topics. Is someone looking for a way to fix a leaky sink? If you’ve written a blog post about fixing a leaky sink with relevant advice, there are chances your blog post will appear and provide you a chance to make a great first impression, and perhaps gain that user’s business if they are within your service area.

Bottom line: if you can’t update the site (as we mentioned) or have out-of-date content… Houston, we may have a problem.
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Outside of Maximize Digital
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7. Phone’s aren’t ringing

Web traffic is what everyone wants. It’s casting a wide net, but if you don’t have the right strategy… there may not be any fish there. You can have an awesome website, but ultimately, is your phone ringing? Are you getting purchases? We highly suggest you have Google Analytics installed on your account so you can monitor web traffic at the source. You want to be able to find where visitors drop off in their visit to your website.

By understanding the conversion funnel, you’re able to speak with a designer to make stronger call-to-actions, bigger buttons, more compelling headlines, and genuinely how to improve problem areas on your website.

Ultimately, we want to ensure your site is nicely designed, but if it’s not functioning… it may be time to look at a strategy. Design and function go hand-in-hand: without function, there can be no good design. Smriti Chawla, marketing specialist, Visual Website Optimizer, which provides A/B and split testing tools says: “Once you know the problems, you can hypothesize design/content solutions to fix them and use A/B testing to validate your hypotheses.
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FREE eBOOK.

Get a FREE copy of our eBook on “Understanding & Defining Your Business’s Digital Foundation”.

Responsive Website Design eBook preview cover

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Schedule a FREE consultation with us to discuss how your business can get started!

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Responsive Website: Your Business Foundation In A Digital World

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Beautiful Responsive Website:

Your Business Foundation In A Digital World

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As a society, we are at a point where a significant number of buying decisions are made based on what the internet has to say about you as a business. When you have a strong digital presence you control the conversation. Your website is the foundation. Your online reviews, mentions, and listings build upon that foundation, but always at the root lies a beautiful responsive website.

As business men and women we walk into a room representing our company in the best light that we can – dressed well, hair is combed, we wear an approachable demeanor, and communicate in a way that instills trust. Normal. Expected. Demanded.

What’s the look of your business online? Does it instill trust? Does it help educate the prospect enough for making the sale with ease? To put it in even more simpler of terms, does your company’s web presence help you or hurt you?
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BILLION
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In 2016, Statista reports 1,667 billion dollars of offline sales were Web-Influenced.

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Consider some of the big department stores: more and more are shifting their distribution channels to more aggressively focus on online sales. Some caught on early and others are just now reacting to the definite shift in consumer buying habits. A prime example of reactive strategy is Macy’s – closing 68 stores in 2017. The Macy’s January 4th press release outlines the shift in distribution strategy. A whopping 250 million dollars will be invested in growing their digital business. Yes, it’s Macy’s. Yes, not all of us have 250 million to invest in digital, but perhaps we can apply the same business practice at a smaller scale.
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Let’s say you have a parts shop. You could expand the customer pool you serve buy taking your inventory online and giving people who aren’t local an opportunity to buy quality parts with the customer service and expertise only you can provide. Customers would be coming to you at their own convenience and not have to worry about leaving work early to go buy a part. Have a sports apparel store? Die hard fans are looking for the gear only your shop can provide!

Don’t want to sell online? Use your website as an educational vehicle to help shorten the sales process, or to simply let people in search of the very solution you provide know you exist. Then, present a clear method for how to purchase your products or services.
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The key to a great responsive website is USER EXPERIENCE (UX).

Great UX can be broken down into many factors, but the most important are laid out just below.

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User experience has to be pleasant. Navigation throughout the website should be of great ease and information should be presented in a way where text and imagery bring balance.
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Make website visitors feel like winners. Give them that piece of information or solution they were looking for or didn’t know they needed. Give them something that allows for continued interaction/communication with your business.
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Allow for speedy loading and for speedy navigation through a website page. Website visitors will be viewing on devices with different screen dimensions, so you want to make sure they don’t have to scroll too far to get the valuable piece of information.
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There’s a strategy for every website, for every business. We’re strategists here at Maximize. Whatever the goal for your business’s website, we help form the strategy for website content (images, videos, text) with which the website will be built from. You can expect to sit down with us and talk about your current digital presence, business goals, and future plans for expansions to services, products, or distribution. We make sure your investment in your digital presence has longevity and can grow with your business.
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FREE eBOOK.

Get a FREE copy of our eBook on “Understanding & Defining Your Business’s Digital Foundation”.

Responsive Website Design eBook preview cover

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Schedule a FREE consultation with us to discuss how your business can get started!

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How To Reach Your Customers Online

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Whether you’re a local business with a store front (office, warehouse, etc.), or a business who serves its customers strictly online, the question always will come – “How do I reach my customers online?”

Let’s look at this from two angles… Continue reading How To Reach Your Customers Online

How to Promote Your Event Beyond Your Friends

Reaching Beyond your Friends – Getting Results for Online Event Promotions

Facebook is a versatile tool for building relationships and raising awareness of your business or non-profit organization’s events. Getting the word out about your upcoming fundraiser is crucial for your event’s success, so it’s important to remember that your personal network might not be enough to get you the results you seek!

One of the most common ways to Facebook for business promotions and events is through your personal networks. This is a great way to start, and hopefully you already use this strategy regularly!

If you are trying to sell tickets to an event, gain sponsorships or silent auction items, you will need more than just your network to get the word out! Sharing with your friends is great, but chances are, your friends are friends with your friends, so your circle might not be big enough to get the word out effectively.

Here are some tips to help you take your event promotion beyond your network and in front of people you don’t know, but who might want to attend if they know about the event in advance and can make plans to attend.

Start early.

As soon as you have the date for your event confirmed, get the details online somewhere. (Preferably your website!) You’ll want to sell tickets, sponsorships and organize your silent auction items and donations online as much as possible. Today’s busy world requires that there is a way for people to take action online, as opposed to going to a specific store or physical location to purchase tickets. If you are not able to use the Internet for these functions of your event, you will likely miss a lot of people who would otherwise buy tickets. We recommend developing a strategy about 150 in advance of the event date.

Advertise Differently

Today, advertising is more than a PSA on the radio, an ad in the newspaper and some posters at the local chamber of commerce. If you want people to attend your event, it’s imperative that you shift your advertising strategy to coincide with the way people consume ads today. Facebook, Display ads, digital ads on highly trafficked websites and cross promotion with other organizations are going to yield greater results than some of the traditional advertising methods – and they are not nearly as costly. A strategic Facebook ad campaign, 120 days before the event can capture a great amount of data that can be used when the event date draws nearer!

The Easier the Better

People want fast and easy. The more complex the purchasing process is, the more difficult it will be to convert social media “likes” to sales! Using tools like EventBrite and Sign-up Genius can help organize the people on your planning committee, but make sure these tools make it easier for the people buying tickets. We recommend an event website whenever possible, especially for annual/recurring events!

Create a Website

There are so many online options for events. Some of them are FREE. If you are creating a signature event that you will continue to use year after year, you will want to consider investing in a professionally designed and developed website. The reasons you should have your own website are plenty. And will be covered extensively in a future blog post.

Set Specific Goals

Trust me, we know how crazy it can be planning your event. Things never go exactly the way you plan them. In the beginning stages of your event planning, set specific goals, based on your data from previous years. If you have no data from other events, or if this is your first event, think about the information you will want to have next year that will make the planning easier.

Some Goals To Consider

A List is Gold.

You can build an email list automatically. If your attendees have a blast at your event, it’s likely they will want to attend again next year. Getting their email address when they purchase tickets, or enter a contest to win a prize is the best way to ensure they don’t miss the event next year! You’ll need an account with an email provider (we love MailChimp) and a way to collect email addresses – preferably online – think about automating the process, to save time.

Increase Engagement with Event Sponsors/Donors

Are you currently using online tools to recruit sponsors? What about those silent auction items? Remember, people want fast and easy. If you aren’t currently making your sponsors and donors lives easier with a simple link to sign up and pledge their commitment to your event, you are likely missing out on some great opportunities. Some of those unanswered emails from extremely busy people might not be rejections. It might mean they simply don’t have time to open the .pdf you sent them, or time to return your call. But if the information is available on your website, and they can commit online, you’ve just made life easier for everyone!

Track Visitors to Your Website

Data is a powerful thing. If you have a website and you are selling tickets on that site, you will learn so much more than if you were sending traffic to a link on a 3rd party’s site. You can learn about the behavior of your website visitor and learn so much about your marketing efforts. Things like where are you getting the most traffic (email, Facebook, online advertisements, Google)? These days, most 3rd party event/ticket sales options include the ability to embed your ticket sales on your site, so you are able to gather meaningful data about your marketing.

Event Promotion – We would love to help you plan a winning marketing strategy for your next event. Please give us a call or send us an email so we can learn more about your organization and how we can help!

The Ten Biggest Lies About Social Media and Your Business

In the world of social media, it is hard to navigate the best practices for your business. Companies may try to tell you what the best practices are, but how are they working for your business? Are you looking for more? Trying to up your social media game for your business? Here’s the top ten lies companies are spreading about social media practices for businesses and how you can overcome them.

 

You can’t just come out and ask people to follow/retweet/comment/like/share…

But you can. Actually, it’s even encouraged. Think about it in terms of inbound marketing. You are directly asking your customer to do something for you. But first, you have to build their trust. Posting relevant content that is both sound and appealing to your audience helps boost your credibility and makes it easier for the people you are interacting with to help you boost your content. Never be afraid to ask.

 

Reach is your most important metric.

This could be the biggest lie in the social media industry. Reach is important. As is engagement, post performance… essentially every piece of your analytics. Looking in depth into social media analytics once every quarter is a great way to gauge what is clicking with your customers and what is not. This helps you line up with them to communicate with them better. However, each piece – whether reach, engagement, clicks, and so on – is just as important as every other piece. Reach may only tell you how far it went on Facebook, but engagement will tell you with that reach how many people actually interacted with your content. Remember this.

 

All you need is social media.

False. Why? The main point of a social media presence for a business is to sell. You want to be using your social media to drive customers to your business to make a purchase and make you money. In order to do this successfully, a website that is fully-functioning, responsive, and current is just as – if not more – important as your Facebook page. Keep in mind that your social media can act more as a channel to the main hub rather than the target.

 

Delete or ignore negative comments. Actually, just disable comment posting entirely to protect your brand.

Believe it or not, negative comments are not as bad as they seem. Of course they are hurtful, but this can act as an advantage to your business.

 

First off, deleting negative comments seems shady to perspective customers. How can you have a rating of 3 stars when every single review is flawless? It also discredits your business – because no one is perfect.

 

In addition, negative comments can be a host of customer service opportunities. Responding timely and appropriately to customer service issues on a public front shows customers you are attentive and want you customers happy. It also acts as a great damage-control tool and helps increase your online presence. Let the negative work its magic for you. Like the old time saying, “there’s no such thing as bad press.”

 

Hire an intern to do all your social media work for you.

While we do believe in intern programs and the opportunities they provide, hiring an intern strictly to manage your social media accounts could go through a few different scenarios. Most importantly, you do not want a full-time student with limited experience handling some of the issues social media can present without someone there to guide them. Whether this is a supervisor, policy, or admin on a page, it is important that interns are provided with some direction and not just handed the passwords to your accounts. Give them expectations, let them shadow others in your business to get an idea of the company, create goals on social media to ensure your intern is getting the most out of their internship while also giving you the social media supervision you need.

 

Automate your updates to save yourself time.

Auto-posting through social media suites may seem like a step in the right direction to saving yourself time on social media, but it’s not always the best policy. Automated messages can seem rigid and timed to your followers which in turn turns them off to what you want them paying attention to – your business. Try posting in real time as often as you can. Make sure your content is timely and current with what is going on in the world as well to help increase engagement.

 

Auto-publish content to save time when sharing content to several sites.

Auto-publish is never a good idea. So often after I hit the post button on a blog, I will find a grammar error, forget to include tags, have to modify a layout… change something before it reaches the masses via my social media. Auto-publish may work against you, especially if you accidently click the publish button before you were really ready. Remember, once it is on the Internet, it is there forever – especially in terms of social media. Keep this in mind before setting up auto-post to your social accounts from your website.

 

Focus on Facebook.

Facebook may have a huge interest base now, but what about tomorrow? Social media is always changing a moving. For instance, YouTube proceeded Facebook in unique users for the first time this summer, meaning more people are using YouTube than Facebook for the very first time. This is leading to a big change in the social media world. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – disperse your content and customer interaction between several social platforms.

 

You need to be on every single social media platform.

Tying into the previous point – while you want to diversify your social media platforms, you also don’t want to consume yourselves with more than you can handle social media wise. For us, a few big platforms we like to encourage our businesses to try out and see how they work for them: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus. Invest a little time on each and see what practices work best for your business to design your social media efforts to best fit your customers.

 

You don’t need an email if you have social media.

This couldn’t be more contrary from the truth. In fact, you need an email more than ever with a social media account, perhaps even one that is specifically set up to handle social media management. This email will help you received notifications and communicate with customers more effectively.

 

 

Practice makes perfect, and with social media we are helping businesses take control of their social and online media and make it work best for their businesses. Contact Maximize today to learn more.