Alphagraphics blog

Archive: November 2016

On-Page and Off-Page SEO: Separating Two Sides of the Same Coin

Many small businesses are already familiar with the beast of burden that is SEO. You’ve been told time and again by marketing gurus and other professionals that SEO is critical to business success in the Internet Age. Telling you again doesn’t make it any less true, however breaking it down and simplifying it might make it a little more understandable for the common business owner! On a macro level, the overall concept of SEO can be split into two distinct, yet equally critical focuses: on-page and off-page SEO. Understanding both sides of this same coin offers great insight into some of the core tenants of SEO and how they all come together to boost your business’ success. On-page SEO Think of on-page SEO like looking at the outside world through the windows of your home—you’re inside, and everything else is outside. Everything involved with on-page SEO is done right at home: on your website. Some examples include:
  • Optimizing your website’s text to contain relevant keywords that people might be searching for in search engines.
  • Having markups in your website’s code that tells search engine bots how to behave when they’re on your website.
  • Managing meta-data so that external websites pulling information are met with properly formatted, accurate datasets.
On-page SEO is all about building your website and all of the information on it to make it as easy as possible for people to use it and for search engines to find the answers they’re looking for. Having good on-page SEO means creating a beacon on the World Wide Web that sends a signal to search engines that your website is open and ready for business, and that you’re intent on helping your customers find what they need, be it information, products or access to a guru. Off-page SEO Everything not done on your website, yet still done for your website, is considered off-page SEO. It’s like landscaping your property: you might not be doing any work to your house, but you’re still working to increase its value! Some examples of off-page SEO include:
  • Sending out a press release about your business, with links back to your website.
  • Guest blogging on an industry website, to share your brand’s expertise.
  • Re-selling products on Amazon or hosting videos on YouTube.
Off-page SEO is all about helping your website rank higher and become an authority for its core focus. The more places online that are saying your name, giving you credit, linking back to you, etc., the more clout you’ll develop and the bigger your reputation will become. With great off-page SEO, you’ll be weaving a web across the Internet that helps create paths back to you. Whether you’re building sales funnels or establishing a repository for information, off-page SEO is a critical focus that broadens your reach online. Putting the two together On-page and off-page SEO, as mentioned above, are two sides of the same coin: you can’t have one without the other. Building focus for both on-page and off-page also means building leverage for your brand in two different ways that have crossover appeal. For example, your on-page SEO efforts to boost conversions may actually draw in new customers, while your off-page efforts in building a brand name might actually help bring focus to a specific product you offer. When you put the two together, you’re putting together the pieces of the puzzle to digital success. Making your website easier to find and easier to use means building a presence on the Internet that’s sustainable and defining. Even if you don’t quite understand the nuances of SEO, it’s important to understand the concepts. Talk to an AlphaGraphics professional today if you need SEO help—both on-page and off-page—and learn more about what steps you could be taking towards success online. Read article →

5 Ways Good Customer Service is a Game-Changer for Your Brand

It’s something that’s been drilled into your head since your very first job: “always treat the customer with the utmost respect.” Offering quality customer service is a core tenant of most business’, and for good reason. The difference between good customer service and poor customer service can mean the difference between a sale and a lost conversion. And, more importantly, it can make or break your brand’s reputation. Just how important is the idea of good customer service? Let’s take a look at 5 game-changing scenarios where customer service plays an integral role in how your brand succeeds or fails: 1. Reputation:  Customer service is so important in terms of brand reputation that there are entire digital platforms dedicated to it! From Yelp reviews to Google recommendations, there’s no shortage of metric for evaluating customer service. Not coincidentally, this is also where new and prospective followers of your brand are going to look first. If your customer service is praised, it’s a good chance you’ll gain a positive reputation. 2. Trustworthiness:  People trust those who are nice to them. If you foster a quality relationship with your customers by providing exceptional service, they’ll trust you in other ways—including for recommendations or advice. This opens the door for healthy sales, repeat customers, meaningful interactions and sustainable business. No one is going to do business with someone they can’t trust! 3. Value:  Showcasing a high level of customer service means building the value of your brand and any products it offers. If your products are priced higher than a competitor, for example, you need to instill value in your offerings to help people equate your higher price to a great value to them. Superior customer service is a premier way to do this. If your competitors are cheaper but don’t follow your lead for customer service, their product is going to be diminished by comparison. 4. Brand advocacy:  Have you ever heard the phrase, “…and they’ll tell two more?” It’s in reference to having a positive experience with something. It holds true for great customer service, as well. If your customers receive superior treatment when interacting with your brand, they’ll tell people. When those people have that same experience, they’ll tell people. The domino effect keeps on toppling and, as each person tells two people, your brand advocates grow exponentially. 5. Employee accountability:  Encouraging your staff to offer “above and beyond” customer service creates a level of accountability within your business and helps each team member thrive. If an employee goes the extra mile, recognize their efforts and help them own that interaction. If someone is slacking or not putting in the effort, work with them one on one to help them feel more invested in their interactions. Building a culture of superior customer service means having a team that enjoys doing what they do. Exceptional customer service shows itself in many ways. It could be taking a few extra minutes to help a customer resolve their unique problem. It might mean greeting a regular client with a smile and a friendly conversation. Or, it could mean rising to the occasion to provide a solution that earns the business of an upset customer. Whatever form it takes, however, great customer service equates to all of the above benefits and beyond. Read article →

Variable Data Printing Can Improve Ask Letter Effectiveness

Fall is the gateway to winter and, by extension, the heralding force before the holiday season. If you’re part of a charitable organization, you know all too well the potential that the season of giving has when it comes to collecting donations. It’s no coincidence that fall is the prime time of year when many not-for-profit causes send out ask letters and donation solicitations! Asking for money is never easy and, in fact, for charitable organizations who solicit donations, it’s often an uphill battle to collect for your cause. Too many attempts can be off-putting, too few attempts can leave people forgetting about your efforts, and an improperly-worded ask letter can leave people soured on giving. To be truly effective in bringing in donations, you need to find a silver bullet: a single letter that inspires people to donate and feel good about doing so. A personal touch Variable data is the first step towards creating a donation solicitation that’s truly effective. Nothing will send your letter to the circular file faster than a generic tone or a “fill in the blank” quality that makes the recipient feel like you’re just after their money. Personalizing core elements of your ask letter can immediately set the tone of your plea for donations:
  • Variable printing the name of each recipient lets them know that you recognize them. “Dear sir/ma’am” or “to whom it may concern” will never be as attention-grabbing or meaningful as “Dear Mr. Smith” or “Hi, John.”
  • Use past information to generate a unique ask. Something simple such as “last year you donated $50 to our cause” or “will you match last year’s pledge of $100 this year” will let them know you remember and appreciate their past generosity.
  • Pair accomplishments with a recipient’s donation for maximum effectiveness. “We enjoyed seeing you at the Jones Park BBQ in July” or “your contribution made the South Shore Movie Night a huge success” are ways to connect further with potential pledges.
The more information you have, the more you can make it work to the fullest by incorporating it into your ask letter. Variable data printing makes it possible to customize a basic ask letter in such a way that by the time you send it out, each copy has its own personalized touch that makes it unique to the recipient. Unique identifiers It’s important to use variable data to bring your ask letter full circle. This means not only customizing a letter for each recipient, but also creating a way to reap more information and see your return on each mailing. For example:
  • Use variable data printing to print unique donation QR codes on letters. When recipients scan codes to donate, you’ll be able to track who’s donating, how much they’re pledging, how many days after the mailing they donate and more.
  • Print return envelopes for check donations that already have the recipient’s address, your address and prepaid postage on them. In doing so, you’ve removed all barriers from the donation, while also ensuring you can track who’s sending a donation back, how much, which addresses are incorrect/not up to date, etc.
Variable data printing has immense potential to raise the bar for your organization’s next ask letter or donation solicitation. Instead of sending out a basic, uniform letter and hoping for the best, consult with AlphaGraphics today to turn each letter into a unique and meaningful appeal. Read article →
November 01 / 2016