The Retail Store Bust Could Be Your Boom

As consumer shopping preferences turn towards the convenience of shopping online, many retail store chains are shutting down or consolidating their efforts into many less stores. Consumers prefer to shop with their devices – phones and tablets – and computers, instead of sitting in traffic, wasting time looking for parking spots, and walking miles and miles inside of shopping malls.

The Fingers vs. Feet revolution has begun, and it’s changing the landscape of retail shopping drastically. Which could be a serious good thing for your online e-commerce website. Or for that start up business you’ve been thinking about. Time to make a plan and put it into action.

The list of retailers who are either on the brink of bankruptcy and considering shutting down, who have already shut down, or who are streamlining their efforts to keep their noses above water (they hope) is major. Many have been around for years. It is the price they are paying for not being vigilant and observing the trends and shifts in consumer shopping.

Payless Shoes, J.C. Penney, Macy’s, Sears, K-Mart, The Limited, Crocs, CVS, Sports Authority, Womrath’s Book Store, and Bebe are just a partial list of casualties.

Consumers lead busy lives. The convenience of shopping on their devices at any time of the day or night and the deals they receive far outweigh the traditional shop til you drop shopping methods of the mall. Free shipping, online discounts built into the shopping cart, coupons, deals of the day, free returns and more are very attractive.

If you currently have an online e-commerce store or are considering starting an e-commerce business online, this could be a golden time for you. Yes, there is a great deal of examination, planning, implementing strategies, and good old fashioned work involved. But when you find your sweet spot, the rewards are priceless.

We work one on one with businesses throughout Bergen, Morris and Sussex County New Jersey, with all aspects of business planning, implementation, marketing, website design, seo and more. As a soup to nuts marketing agency, we’ll guide you down the path and away from the costly mistakes towards success.

Not sure how your company, product, brand or service should be effectively marketed? Do you need to set YOUR business apart from the competition?

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

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Are You a Brand or a Product?

For marketing to be as effective as humanly possible, one of the most important things a good reputable marketing agency needs to know in order to promote your company properly is: Are you a product, or a brand?

There are marketing agencies out there that promise the same thing to every client……… they will put everyone on page one of Google. They will make your company come up first for your geographical location. Etc. etc.

First of all no marketing agency has the power to manipulate placement on Google, and second of all there are no guarantees in life.

For a marketing agency to do an honest good job by you, they need to know and understand your business, your needs, your goals for the company as well as where you want to be, what your niche is, and much more. This is accomplished only by an in depth interview with you, your company and your team. And followed up with by interaction on a regular basis, so processes and campaigns can be evaluated for what is working and what is not.

Moving on to the product or brand discussion, proper marketing for this is done differently depending on which way you choose to have your company represented. The dividing line is quite simple. If you offer a product that is entirely exclusive to you, hand crafted, hand made, custom made, you need to get that out there as a BRAND. This registers “exclusive” and “unique” with the buying public, the consumer. Yes, down the road there may be copy cats, but there is only one real genuine brand of that item, and that’s yours. Copycats can be dealt with legally.

If you offer a product that is also sold by others, that is mass produced, and that is not unique and original, then you need to have that marketed as a product line or lines.

If you offer a service, instead of a product, you are a BRAND. Yes, attorneys, insurance agents, caterers, home improvement, etc.

If you treat your service as a product, massed in with the rest of the pack that offers similar services, you do yourself a huge dis-service.

Why?

For all businesses that offer services, a smart marketing angle is to set yourself apart by offering several “niche” services, either actual niche services or niche services within a geographical area. A reputable marketing agency will know how to market that for maximum benefit to your company or practice.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Own a Start Up? 7 Tips for Taking the Next Step

So you own a start up business. You came up with a great product or service and have had some success with it. You even have a website and a great domain name.

What are the next steps to taking your business to the next level?

  • Establishing Your Brand
  • Deciding which segment of the market to target
  • Retail, wholesale or both – what are your realistic capabilities?
  • Product or service production and refinement
  • Selling on multiple venues – what is appropriate for you?
  • Refining your presentation from a personal approach to a professional approach
  • Setting realistic goals for the future

Setting Realistic Goals For the Future ~

This is listed last however it is something that you will find is constantly evolving over time. It is also a point that you need to keep in the back of your head at all times. As your business evolves and grows, suffers setbacks, changes direction, starts growing again, you’ll find that your realistic future goals will need to be adjusted as well in order to keep your business on a healthy path way to success.

Establishing Your Brand ~ Brand Recognition

Your eventual “brand” that you establish is what sets you apart from all other companies and businesses that might be offering / selling the same or similar services or products that you do. It makes you identifiable visually to the consumer and makes you stand out from the pack.

Your brand is the visual message you send out to all who see it. Careful planning needs to be given to the visual, the colors used, the headline, and the tagline. Color psychology plays a big part in your branding as does your message.

Your branding will be used on business cards, brochures, company letterhead, social media, signs, and more. That’s huge.

Deciding Which Segment of the Market To Target ~

If you offer a product, who is your target market? Retail, consumer, wholesale? Sell directly to consumers via your website? Open a retail brick and mortar store? Sell wholesale to distributors and retail businesses, essentially becoming a supplier?

If you offer a service, the same question applies. Will you offer your services from your home office, going out to meet with clients? Will you open an office on Main Street so the clients can walk in and come to you? Does your pricing structure lend itself well to offering service packages, bundling services?

You can always open yourself up to more options as time goes on. Starting out, this is a critical decision. Make the wrong decision and the life of your business hangs in the balance.

Retail, Wholesale or Both – What Are Your Realistic Capabilities?

This step ties in directly to the one above, your target market. It also addresses a key point. If you offer products, are you in a position to offer them wholesale? Can you keep up with supply and demand? A business that cannot keep up with supply and demand gets a bad reputation and often closes down.

If you offer services, there is a supply and demand issue there as well. Can you keep up with regular on demand services for your clients as well as those carefully crafted packages and bundled services? How many clients can you realistically deliver to in a day? In a week? On time and high quality services are of premium importance.

Product or Service Production and Refinement ~

Over time, as you become more successful, you will see products or services that will need to be refined as the business evolves and customer needs evolve. Some products or services will need to be deleted from the lineup. And new offerings are always a possibility based on customer need and demand.

This important point will become the bridge by which your business crosses over to either becoming more successful or staying stagnant and eventually dying. Don’t turn a blind eye to this. It’s part of the heartbeat of your business. A regular review of products and service offerings is your best bet.

Selling on Multiple Venues – What is Appropriate For You?

We are assuming you already have a website. Again, products or services makes no difference, multiple venues will open up doors for your business. The big question is, which venues are right for what you offer?

This is a critical step and not to be taken lightly. Just throwing your products or services to the wind will do more damage than good. This usually happens when a business is motivated strictly by making as much money as possible quickly (dare we say it – becoming money hungry) instead of carefully crafting a brand, a reputation that can be trusted and doing their due diligence – research.

Research, vetting and making a plan is so very important when expanding out to multiple venues. This needs to be manageable, and cost effective and in line with your business plans and goals.

Which will it be for your business? eBay? Amazon? Etsy? Your own e-commerce website? A combination of some or all?

Refining Your Presentation From a Personal Approach To a Professional Approach ~

This is the “grow up” phase you must learn if your start up is going to take off successfully. It’s time to stop thinking of it in a personal sense, as “me”, and think of it and treat it in a professional sense, always as “we” and “our”. You are a company now, out to make your impressions on the world and attract new clients, customers and businesses. Start acting like a company and not as a personal endeavor you hope people will like.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Don’t Under Estimate the Power of Expert SEO

Why is SEO so important? Visibility, search engine visibility. This is key. Let us explain what expert SEO can do for you.

A website can be built and can be beautiful. But without carefully crafted content, and equally carefully crafted organic SEO, that beautiful website is going to just sit and become another piece of fluff on the Internet.

The whole point is for that beautiful website to bring you phone calls, leads and sales. And, if you have a brick and mortar store, to bring you the foot traffic and sales as well. Expert, best practice SEO and a strong digital marketing plan will do just that.

Maureen McCullough LLC is YOUR Bergen County NJ SEO Company. As your SEO Expert, using only the best organic SEO techniques, we produce results that generate leads and sales.

Our agency takes a personal interest in each client we work with, meeting with you personally, listening to what you have to say, and crafting and implementing a personalized plan of success for your company.

SEO is the first step in a multi point organic digital marketing strategy designed for business success.

SEO is always the first step, and the most important step that your business will ever take to gain search engine visibility, and generate phone calls and sales. If you cannot be found in the search engines, your business will not gain the success it needs to be sustainable.

You can spend thousands of dollars on online advertising, and still come up way short, with little or no gain or sales. Why waste your hard earned money? That makes no sense whatsoever.

Expert, quality SEO is your best tool to use to get your website the search engine visibility it needs. And in the big picture, quality SEO is much more affordable than expensive advertising campaigns.

We work with many small businesses across the United States, even though our home base is here in New Jersey serving Bergen, Morris and Sussex County. And with each small business we work with, the core values and results remain the same.

Maureen McCullough LLC implements the following strong SEO Digital Marketing concepts:

  • A thorough website analysis and complimentary competitor analysis
  • An evaluation of your brand or service by which we begin creating your strategy for success
  • An analysis of your current online marketing efforts, if any
  • A thorough evaluation of your current keyword usage within your website content
  • Recommended improvements are then suggested for every page of your website
  • Substantial recommendation and tweaks are usually suggested for your home page
  • A comprehensive digital marketing campaign is discussed, covering blogging, social media and more
  • Email marketing may also be an option depending on your type of business
  • Brand recognition is implemented, with transparency across all of your online venues
  • Reputation management is analyzed based upon your online reviews
  • Geo targeting and audience segment targeting is implemented

Why are there no search engine ranking guarantees?

There are no search engine ranking guarantees, and any reputable SEO company you work with will tell you the same thing. Anyone who tells you anything else is not reputable and should never be used.

Simply put: no reputable SEO company can guarantee search engine rankings because none of us control the search engines. It’s that simple. You cannot ethically guarantee something over which you have no control, bottom line.

We work with your company and your budget to design a digital marketing SEO strategy that will best serve you. We keep you as involved as you want to be with analytics, and the rest of the program.

How long does it take to begin seeing results?

Again, no magic pills are involved! No waving of the magic wand takes place! You *may* see some results as early on as 2 weeks. A much more honest and realistic expectation is 6-8 weeks.

Over the long term, your comprehensive SEO and digital marketing program may completely replace any need to spend big bucks on expensive advertising! That money saved is can be put to much better use.

Search engine usage has replaced the phone book. Over 90% of all internet querying is done by potential customers and clients. Each one could be a lead for you. Why not let excellent SEO help you take advantage of the unlimited potential waiting for you?

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

Attorney, Lawyer and Law Office Marketing

In a world where there seems to be an attorney or law office on every other corner, more and more small practice attorneys and solo practice attorneys are having a harder time marketing their business and getting the phone to ring.

Even when the economy is doing well, there is just so much competition and the market is so flooded with lawyers it’s hard to put your law office in the “A Cut Above The Rest” level.

Many attorneys then resort to paying for search engine position and paying for directory listings that advertise other lawyers on the same page as your listing. Or get involved with attorney marketing companies that charge exorbitant fees. And still your phone does not ring.

What to do?

If your law practice is located in Bergen, Morris or Sussex County New Jersey, our marketing agency can help. Maureen McCullough LLC represents many attorneys throughout Northern New Jersey, with website design, marketing and search engine optimization (SEO), niche marketing, and geo targeted marketing.

Our agency specializes in unique ways to bring your business to the forefront using organic search engine optimization methods, without costly advertising or Adwords expense.

When you work with our agency, for one reasonable affordable monthly fee you receive ongoing support focused on getting you the clients you need at a price you can afford:

  • Business coaching that helps you define your target audience
  • Website content review, website analysis and audit plus suggestions for improvement
  • Organic search engine optimization that gets results
  • Organic geo targeted marketing
  • Organic niche market targeted search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing that is niche market and geo targeted
  • Saving you thousands of dollars each year in advertising and pay for placement

Every attorney is different, each law practice is different, and each niche market and target audience is different. That’s because YOUR law practice is unique, and even though the market is flooded, we help you stand out from the crowd to the people who need you most – your potential clients.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

The Personal Touch or An Account Manager?

When your small business needs a website designer, a marketing agency or an SEO professional, what sort of company do you feel most comfortable with?

Is your comfort zone with a larger agency, with several specialists on staff who come up with a team solution for your needs, who give you an account manager? Are you dazzled by award winning agencies that have handled Fortune 500 clients?

Or is your comfort zone with a smaller agency, where you have access to the owner or lead developer, and where the “team” consists of you, and the owner, and a very customized solution? Are you more impressed by agencies with 100% positive feedback from clients?

Different strokes for different folks, different personality types, different sized businesses, and different business needs.

Many companies hire on with the larger agencies who have handled larger, Fortune 500 clients because they feel if a Fortune 500 company is handled well by the larger agency, then their business needs will be handled just as well and they will receive a cutting edge solution also.

Many smaller companies simply cannot afford the higher price ticket of the larger agency, want a very customized website design solution and prefer the more personal touch of the smaller agency.

Larger website design and marketing agencies have personnel overhead, retail office overhead, and therefore charge much higher agency rates than the smaller agency, because they have to in order to pay the salaries, the rent, and of course make a good profit.

Smaller website design and marketing agencies tend to work out of their home office, have much smaller personnel requirements, and tend to give personal service and care, because they can, and they choose to. Many smaller agencies value the client / web designer relationship, and prefer the long term relationship, rather than the one off big ticket project approach.

Larger to mid size companies may prefer the larger agency because it works in a similar fashion to how they work. The larger team based approach seems to work for both.

Smaller companies are usually more comfortable with the intentionally scaled down approach of the smaller website design and marketing agency because that too, is again, relatable to how both businesses are run.

As a small business owner you have to evaluate what will work best for you, your business, and your comfort level. Factors to be taken into consideration are:

  • Agency skill level
  • Agency specialization niches
  • Website development and website design cost levels
  • Marketing cost levels
  • Does the agency have a soup to nuts approach to work with the client
  • Do you want an agency that is on the same page with your business goals and needs
  • Do you want an agency that works with big names – is the prestige important
  • Project turn around time
  • How well an agency really understands your business
  • Does the agency demonstrate a desire for a close business relationship and your trust
  • Is the agency willing to let you contact clients to get first hand input of their comfort level with them

What’s your comfort level and what do you need? Will your chosen agency give you that feeling of being well taken care of?

Do you need help to get your business found? We are a local boutique website design and SEO agency specializing in businesses who need more traffic and sales.

Call or text us at 201.753.1677.

The Blog. Still One of Your Most Powerful Tools

Anyone who is running a presence online today, be it e-commerce or a business website, knows how difficult it is to first achieve and then maintain a strong presence on the internet.

With major search engines, one in particular who shall remain un-named in this article, it is difficult but never impossible to get and maintain an organic presence. It is difficult because search engines today are not about helping small businesses grow and thrive, as they were in days past.

Today, best and better placement is given to companies who pay for placement. That is no secret. And, for the small business who does not have a $10,000 advertising budget, makes life a wee bit difficult. And makes these businesses work harder to achieve their goal of good to decent placement in search engine results.

Another obstacle standing in the way is the use of search engine filters when displaying search results. What these search engines are doing is deciding to display only so many results for any given search term, dependent on what they consider to be “relevant”. They are omitting results that they consider to be too similar.

Which means, for the small business owner, they can submit a sitemap with 1000 url’s, be they products or pages, and the search engine will only choose to index just so many because the search engine decides what is too similar and filters the rest of the results out. So if you are selling ABC widgets and they have similar names because each widget is custom made, in reality very few of those are getting indexed.

What to do?

Fight back fire with fire. Make good use of your blogs. Yes, have more than one. Feature different product lines in each blog. This ends up working to your benefit because you will then have multiple sites linking back to your website or store, each blog will have it’s own set of tags that are independent of each other, and your search engine visibility is thus multiplied.

Post from your blogs to social media as well, not from your website. Why? You will be using subtle marketing tactics by attracting different segments of readers and eventual shoppers at your store or prospective clients to your business website. Different people are drawn to different things.

You will end up creating segmented, targeted traffic to particular blogs that have the information or products those targeted audiences are interested in. With interesting, visual posts, when they are ready to buy or touch base with you, it’s a much less stressful “sell” than one blog loaded with stuff or information that may actually turn potential customers away.

Content is still King; and the blog still reigns supreme even after all these years. A little extra blogging effort goes a long way and saves you valuable advertising pay per click dollars.

Do you need help to get your business found? Our agency specializes in websites that are under performing, not bringing in the foot traffic to your brick and mortar location or not bringing the website traffic you need to not only survive and prosper.

Call or text us at 201.753.1677.

 

If Your Business Isn’t On the Internet, Nobody’s Looking in the Phone Book

A group of small business owners had a discussion about how times and technology have changed. Back in the day, many small business owners relied solely on word of mouth (which is still valid) and the phone book. The Yellow Pages, the local phone book, etc. Now, if your business isn’t utilizing the Internet for everything it is worth, you will suffer.

Why?

Because no one is looking in the phone book. No one uses them anymore. All the information one needs is available at your fingertips via your smart phone, iPhone, tablet, and iPad. It is absolutely essential, without a doubt, for your small business to make the most of its presence on the Internet.

There are many tools for the small business owner to use to give them the visibility they need to make their business successful. Some are obvious, some a little less. Some are used incorrectly and may have detrimental results. Some are not used at all and therefore could be costing you potential customers and search engine visibility.

Here’s the list:

  • A well constructed, easy to navigate website
  • If the aforementioned website is not yet mobile responsive, that would be a priority to convert it
  • A Facebook business page
  • A Twitter page
  • An Instagram business page
  • A business profile on Pinterest
  • A business profile on Google+
  • If you sell products, an e-commerce website would be a priority
  • A blog about your business
  • Consistent branding across all of your venues
  • An app – iPhone or Android – that lets customers and prospects interact with you, your products, and your services

Not everything listed above is appropriate for all business types. If your business is product based, then all apply. If your business is service based, the visual profiles of Instagram and Pinterest “may not” apply unless they could be used as creative marketing with images that can promote your business. Creative content writing, organic SEO (search engine optimization), consistent branding across all online venues and your printed promotional materials and correct use of Open Graph tags and Twitter Cards will all help your website get the visibility it needs to make your business become a serious contender on the Internet.

Maureen McCullough LLC is your Bergen County New Jersey website design, SEO and marketing agency. We care about your business and want you to succeed. Give us a call today at 201.753.1677 for a free 20 minute consultation.

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