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Mobilegeddon Strikes!

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Today Google “pushed the button” on a new search algorithm which would begin to factor in a website’s “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal – meaning that those sites which weren’t optimized for smartphones’ smaller screens would see their ranks downgraded as a result. You can read more what Google considers “mobile friendly”.

These changes should kick in within the next week, and Google clarifies that the changes will only affect a site’s search ranking on mobile devices – and it only applies to individual pages, not entire websites. It also only impacts searches done on smartphones, not tablets.

As a result, according to TechCrunch, approximately 44% of Fortune 500 companies, and undoubtedly millions of small businesses are going to see a significant drop in the number of visitors to their websites. It’s left many calling today “mobilegeddon”.

Business and the world will go on, we assure you. The good news, if your website is already mobile optimized, you should see an increase in rankings. And if your website is not, there is a way to fix it. A sure-fire way to test your site is to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. For questions or help making your website mobile friendly, we’re a phone call away.

Cheesy Stock Photography Is No Joke

stock-photos-vince_3219825kEarly last month we were all really amused with the marketing gimmick employed by iStock, Getty Images and Fox to promote the movie Unfinished Business. The campaign showed Vince Vaughn and other cast mates Photoshopped into cheesy/boring stock images. As part of the promotion, all rights were granted for using these images without any cost.

Although the concept was incredibly hilarious, finding non-cheesy stock images to use in your materials is no joke. The images you use in your brochure, website and sales materials directly reflect on how your company is perceived by customers and sales prospects. Your company image is created by those visuals you choose.

Many companies don’t consider this investment in its visual representation. It comes as an afterthought when building a new website or brochure – and typically without a budget. Fortunately, there are some good low-cost options like iStock available now.  Still, be careful.

We’ve put together a few things to look out for when selecting stock photography.

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The person in the photo is WAY too happy to be doing whatever it is they’re doing. It’s just not right.

 

 

 

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A group pondering off into the distance. Or star-struck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

stock-photos-vince_3219813kForced unnatural stiff poses.

 

 

 

 

 

1425489402-vince-vaughn-appearing-free-cheesy-stock-images-you-can-download-getty-4The barren, white background doesn’t make your site look like Apple’s.

 

 

 

 

We’ve all seen them. So, in the interest of not being “that company”, here are a few recommendations.

  • If you’re thinking of doing any marketing in the future, build up your image library now. Your marketing company/person will love you for it. And please photograph at a high resolution. With a flash if needed.
  • Hire a photographer. A good professional will work with you to help develop a few core images that represent your company’s essence. This small investment can provide photos that you own and can use for years to come.
  • Take natural photos of your staff while working. Natural photos are genuine, and that’s what you want to convey.
  • Don’t be afraid of stock photography, just work with someone who has the expertise to use it correctly. Find images that have some punch or interesting angles. And there’s no need for stock images to be so literal, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box by finding images that convey a concept or mood.
  • Rights exclusive images can also guarantee your photos won’t be seen everywhere. Sometimes these are worth the investment.

Need more cheese?  You can view all 12 Unfinished Business images and their stock photo origins here.

* All images were taken from Getty or iStock

Three Clever Marketing Ideas: Short Lived but Potent

What do you do when winter gives you lemons? You make lemon snow cones, of course. We can all agree this winter was unusual for the lot of us. Fortunately Spring has sprung, and we’re looking forward to sunny days again. As we look back, Marketing Matters would like to pay homage to some very clever marketing ideas cooked up this winter.

1) Ithaca Tourism Bureau

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Mid-February, the Ithaca (NY) Tourism Bureau changed the banner on their website to state: “That’s it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West anyone?” and a link to Key West Tourism Bureau’s website.

The message went on to say: “Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit the Florida Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now.”

The banner was only up for about a day until it had to be removed, as the influx in traffic to the website was crashing the server. Still, this is one of the cleverest spontaneous marketing ideas I saw all year.

2) Subaru

subaru-shovelSubaru, in a spontaneous guerrilla marketing endeavor surprised approximately 500 non-Subaru car owners with free snow shovels in Montreal. The shovels had a small Subaru logo on it with a simple message: “while waiting for your all-wheel drive.”

3) SnowBlows.com

snowmanVisit St. Petersburg/Clearwater tourism bureau took a page out of Ithaca’s book, or perhaps vice versa, by creating a campaign focused on New York and Chicago’s hatred for the snow. Crews around the city built real snowmen in iconic places around New York, holding signs with cute phrases like “Even I’ve had enough,” and “Get me outta here,” tagged with the cryptic WinterBlows.com. The website launched in early Feb and the hashtag #WinterBlows has already reached 500,000 engagements on Twitter and Instagram.