The Basic Principles of Effective Website Design

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One of the more important considerations for a brand is their online presence. A critical element of this is good web design. Good web design can elevate you above or drop you below your competition. Design matters, because it is a reflection of your brand and how you do business. Ultimately it helps determine how your clients and potential customers perceive you verses all your competitors.

This is especially important when it comes to web design. Websites are effectively the new storefront and often the first point of contact for a business online. With over 97% of consumers searching online for local goods and services a businesses online impression is critical. Make a poor impression, and you could lose a potential customer. Make a good one, you can gain a new customer. Make a great impression, and you can will capture and keep a customer for life.

It begins with website design, how you present your written text and visual content, and the experience you provide your users. So, let’s cover what you should know about good website design!

Have a defined purpose

Does your website have a clear purpose? Is that purpose immediately apparent to the visitor when they land on your sites home page? Or are they confused about what the point of the page is, or what type business the site is about?

Does your website quickly make it clear to the visitor the value that they can get from your products or services? Most online searchers have an extremely short attention span, especially if they are searching on a mobile devise. Are the benefits of what you have to offer immediately clear? Or is your page merely a list of products or services, and a jumble of features and specifications. If your website visitors don’t quickly see that your site is what they are looking for and the benefit you can offer them they will quickly bounce away.

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Make it easy to scan your pages

When visitors come to your site they are most likely going to scan the page rather than read everything on it. For example, when visitors are looking for specific content or to complete a certain task, they will quickly scan a website’s pages until they discover what they are looking for. As the website owner it is your responsibility to help them with that by insuring good visual hierarchy. Visual hierarchy is the arrangement or presentation of elements in order of importance ━ where their eyes should focus first, second, etc.


Practical tips:

  • Avoid large blocks of text. Organize your content into groups to make it easier to digest visually. Breaking up blocks of text by headers or bullet points.

  • Put more weight on important elements. Make important elements such as call-to-action buttons or contact forms focal points so guests see them immediately. You can emphasize elements by using different font sizes or colors.

  • Consider our natural scanning patterns. People in the Western world read left to right, top to bottom. A website should go with this pattern to avoid confusion for your visitors. Well-designed websites lay out their content in a “F” reading shape or “Z” visual pattern.

Take content seriously

Textual content is just as important as the design of your website. More than 80% of the content on the internet is still written language. Even if your site were award winning design, it’s merely an empty shell without great content; a good website has both good design and great content. The design of the site should aid and complement the content.

Insure that the content is relevant. Visitors come to your site to find information or solve problems that they have. You need to speak to their needs, wants, and issues. Do not focus on you or your business. Focus on them. Speak to their needs and questions.

Avoid jargon. The information on your website should be as plain and simple as possible for comprehension. Best practice is to write for all levels of readers by choosing words that are simple, clear and that avoid industry or insider jargon that may not be understood by everyone.

A Good Call-to-Action

Identify the ONE THING you want someone to do on each page of your site. If you have properly identified the prospects needs, desires, pain point, and you have offered the best solution for them, you need to give the user a way to get the benefits you’re offering. This is called a call-to-action.

For example, if you want visitors to get in touch with you, you could provide a link that says:  Contact us now, click here!

If you want them to download a free eBook or file, you could say:  Don’t miss out, download our special eBook on the best sites to visit in Rome, It’s free!

If you want them to subscribe to a newsletter by filling out a short form, you could say:  Yes! I want to get proven ways to make money from home by subscribing to your free newsletter!

These are just a few examples. The point is to compel them to take action now. If they put it off, it will not happen!

Minimize the number of choices

The number of choices consumers are presented with will affect their decisions; the more choices they have, the less action they are likely to take. When you present your prospect with too many options, you make them think too much. To increase chances for action, it is important to minimize the number of choices.

Engage users to scroll

Scrolling draws users deeper into your pages and makes them invest more time in the experience. This increases the chance that the user will convert ━ take action. buy something, sign up for a newsletter, or contact you. Content at the top of the page is very important. It creates the important first impression and expectation of quality and positive results for visitors. People will scroll, but only if what’s above the fold is promising enough.


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Simple and Obvious Website Navigation

The best way to ensure your visitors get around your website easily is to place a navigation menu with links to the main sections of your site at the top of each page. If you site is for a local business you will want to also have a contact phone number prominent at the top of each page. You’ll want to make it obvious to your prospect that all links are clickable. Be sure that these clickable links are visually different from the regular text content on the rest of the site.

  • Keep top-level navigation for main navigation options. Limit your top-level navigation links to a maximum of seven choices, most users cannot interact effectively with more choices than that. If you need more, create sub-navigation with clear categorization. Notice that even Amazon can get you to almost any product you need within about three clicks.

  • Use clear labels for navigation options. Use familiar words for menu options to help users understand them better.

  • Reduce the clicks required for users to get to a destination. Design your navigation in a way that gets visitors where they want to go with the least number of clicks possible. When designing a website, remember the three click rule we outlined above, which says that your viewers should never be more than three clicks away from what they are looking for.

  • Include navigation options in the footer of your site. A footer is a place where visitors expect to find navigation options and contact information.

An About Us Page

The “About Us” Page is often overlooked. It is however an opportunity to really set yourself apart from the competition. This is a good place to get creative and tell your story in a very compelling way. A good About Us page is personal and informative. It will contain striking visuals and great inside information. Check out this link for some creative examples of About Us pages:


Undoubtedly, the best ways to market your business, products, and services is to let your satisfied customers do it for you. Make it a practice to ask your clients – customers for testimonials or feedback, and prominently feature positive experiences and quotes on each page of your website. A best practice is to collect “keyword” rich testimonials specific to particular products or services that you offer and then feature these testimonials on the appropriate page of your website. Make sure to include a compelling call to action on the page. Don’t leave your visitor wondering what to do next.  Along with testimonials for your website, don’t forget to collect online reviews.  Reviews from Google, Yelp, and Facebook can not only build your online trust but they are extremely important in building trust when searchers find you online.

A Contact Page

This should be redundant to be sure. Every page of your site should have a contact section. Never the less, be sure to give your users a way to get in touch with you! Ideally, you’ll have a contact form that a prospect can quickly fill-in and send for feedback purposes. You can also provide links to social media accounts as well. However, do not make these links prominent on the page. You do not want potential customers clicking away from the page without filling out the contact form or clicking on your call to action.

A Blog

A blog is a great way to market your business and keep your clients up-to-date on special offers, events, personnel changes, community events, etc. You can use it to create content relevant to your industry that’s useful to your clients. This is productive for them and builds authority for your site in the search engines. Use your blog to start discussions, and you can use it to get valuable feedback as well. This will provide ideas for future content and builds a sense of community between you and your clients. Done correctly, posting regular, well-written, and useful blog content can do wonders for engaging the people who matter most to you (and therefore, your business).

Final Critical Elements

  • Fast Loading— No one wants to wait for your site to load. In the age where most users are on mobile devises this is ever more important. Insure your site has prompt loading times for all users on all devices. You can use Pingdom or Pagespeed Insights by Google to check your website speed and get insights on how you can improve.

  • Mobile Ready— Virtually everyone uses smart devices today. Create an engaging, mobile-friendly website that your audience can access quickly and displays correctly.

  • Tracking Enabled— Analytics matter – it’s critical to determine that your website is actually effective and bringing in traffic. Your website should include functionality to gauge key indicators such as traffic, goals, and conversions.

  • SEO Savvy— Don’t underestimate the power of optimizing your website for both browsers and humans. Provide compelling, readable content for your site visitors. For the search engines, make sure your content is keyword rich. Be sure to include all necessary on-page SEO tags and elements, including schema and XML sitemaps.

  • Conversion OptimizedSynergy between visual and content elements. Address the wants, needs, questions and skepticism of your prospects then offer compelling reasons to act now to enjoy the benefits of your solution. Implement these design elements and move prospects through your site and direct them to schedule an appointment, request a product demonstration, or even make a purchase.

  • Email MarketingAbsolutely. Email marketing can be an effective and cost effective way to sell products or services, remind customers that they are due for a visit or highlight special offers. A website’s email capture forms should sync with the your business’ email marketing system for seamless access and function.

  • Social MediaDon’t miss an opportunity to leverage the power of social media. Be sure to integrate relevant social media platforms within your site. Allowing customers to access social media pages from your website instantly broadens a brand’s reach and will help increase visibility and traffic.

  • Strong SecurityBoth site security from hackers and spamming and security for information collected from site visitors. Website security cannot be an after-thought.

Simple and Inexpensive Digital Marketing Options

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Digital marketing is a digital strategy to promote a business and increase brand awareness and business development. Digital marketing uses various forms of electronic media such as; the internet, mobile, sms, email, social media, video and much more. Digital marketing has distinct advantages over many other marketing methods such as:

  • The ability to more specifically target an audience for a particular message or product.

  • The ease in which a campaign can be suspended, modified, and A-B tested.

  • The ability to make multiple “touches” with a prospect through a variety of mediums.

In this brief article we will review several of the options for a digital marketing plan.


Probably the starting place for most businesses is to have a website for internet exposure. When planning for a website it is important to consider the specific products or services that a business wants to be known for. Each specific (product type) or service should be featured on a separate page of the website. Keyword research should be done for each product/service to identify the primary words and phrases that consumers use to find that service/product online. The content and images on that service page should be optimized around those words and phrases.

A website is not an online sales brochure. A business wants to inform visitors and build confidence and rapport through the messaging on the site. A website service/product page should answer questions, anticipate objections and address them, and build confidence in the prospect. This confidence building can be through client testimonials, product warranties, free trials, etc. An informed consumer is much more likely to reach out to a business and seek more information or to do business.

A business website should have a clear call to action on every page. Ask your visitor to make a commitment. This may be to fill out a form, make a call, or leave their contact information so the business can reach out to them. However it is done, an astute business does not want visitors to their site leaving the site and disappearing never to be found again.

Google My Business (GMB)

Google seeks to have a free online listing for every local business. It is in the best interest of a local business to optimize their Google My Business listing. Optimizing the listing is fairly simple – give Google everything they are asking for. Fill out all the information as completely as possible. That would include plenty of photo’s, business hours, accurate business name, address, and phone number. The hardest part is figuring out the many and various business categories. It is very time consuming but well worth the effort to insure that Google properly identifies your business and all the things that you do.

Online Reviews

One very important aspect of digital marketing that is commonly overlooked by local businesses is their online reviews. Numerous consumer studies prove that people absolutely read and respond to the reviews that they read online. It is critical for a local business to gather positive reviews on several different platforms and to carefully monitor their online reputation. It makes no sense to spend money advertising only to have consumers check you out online and be dissuaded by poor reviews.

Social Media

It is a fact that today every business needs a solid social media presence. Most consumers and even B2B consumers use social media to research and gather information on a particular business. Regular posting on key social media platforms can build an audience and improve engagement with customers and clients. An added benefit is building a core audience can help enormously should a business decide to advertise on one or more social platforms. Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin can be very profitable platforms for advertising if a company identifies the proper audience that they wish to reach. Many of these social media outlets have a “look-alike” audience feature. If a business can identify their core audience the media platform can build out a broader matching audience to advertise to.

Email Marketing

Another cost effective digital marketing method that is largely overlooked by most local businesses is email marketing. Staying in touch with existing clients that know, like and trust you is the most cost effective advertising that a business can do. Sending out regular emails to inform and stay connected to existing customers is just good business sense. When done properly it is a great way to build a “tribe”, a core group of loyal customers that will engage with your business, is interested in special offers, and will actively promote your business in the community. Producing a creative newsletter that offers real value in the content that it provides will tend to keep customers opening your emails. Offering special deals that are truly a good deal will keep them interested and bring them back time and again.

SMS Marketing

To introduce SMS marketing it helps to be familiar with the information presented above about email marketing. SMS or text marketing is the same general idea but much more abbreviated. People tend to check their text messages regularly. Texting must be right to the point. To keep their attention the offer must be laser targeted to their interest. In certain niches SMS marketing can be extremely profitable. Many local businesses write it off because they don’t take the time to consider what makes a killer offer to their clientele and when/how it can best benefit their business. For example, a premium ice cream shop that is always slow on Thursdays between 3:00-5:00. Run a special on the top three product offerings you have. Text the offer out to your best list and encourage them to bring a friend for an additional special. Think out of the box and you can fill in the gaps in your business, move slow product, close out dead stock, etc. All much cheaper than radio or print adverstising.

Video Marketing

Let’s begin by understanding that YouTube is the number two search engine in the world by volume. Most local businesses do not think to have an active YouTube channel. However, video is a great way to introduce a product, answer customer questions, introduce a business, feature a business’ facility, staff, services, customer testimonials, etc. People engage and respond much more to video than to printed text. An added benefit is that a video can be reused across several online channels. It can be embedded on a website, posted to Facebook and other social media, and a solid YouTube channel can gain a following all its’ own. We live in the “selfie” era. Video does not have to be an expensive full on media production. A good phone will have a camera that is sufficient for most day to day video. Sound quality is very important and admittedly may take planning and special equipment but the overall investment in incredibly low and a great value in building customer awareness, trust, and response.

Final Thoughts

The interesting thing about each of the options featured above is that they are free or very low cost to a local business. Most of your competitors are not using these methods effectively or at all. The potential return on investment if properly implemented is huge. All it takes is a plan, execution, and persistence. Things may not go smoothly at first but none of the options listed above are anything like rocket science. A little thought, a little practice and large returns are available to the business that implements one or more of the ideas listed above.

For help in your Digital Marketing call us.  417-385-3537

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Four Steps to the Top of Google Local Maps

Google Maps Pack Gold Mine for local business

If you want to improve your chances of ranking in Google Maps, (3-Pack), there are four areas you need to get right. This will improve your website and your GMB listing.

First lets cover the WHY of being found in the top three of the Maps listing. When consumers are searching online there are normally just a few key words or phrases that they will use to find the business or service that they are searching for. Each of the most common keywords or keyword phrases will have their own search engine results page. The maps listing appears in the top section of the page just under any paid ads that may be listed. This is prime real estate for a local business. Especially considering that more people are on mobile phones and scrolling these days. Being found at the top of the page and having your Google reviews prominently listed for the potential customer to see is a local businesses best shot at being noticed in the crowd of competitors. Also, if the consumer is on a mobile phone they can press the phone icon next to your listing and immediately call your business.

Those businesses listed at the top of the search in the Maps have more credibility to most consumers and get the lion’s share of the clicks on page one.

So now you know that as a local business you absolutely want to be in the Maps listing. How do you get there?

1. First is to realize that Google is very keen on proximity. A searcher across the street from your business is much more likely to find you in the 3 pack than a searcher using the exact same search phrase on the other side of town. There are a few ways to overcome this but most are beyond the scope of this article and more effort than most businesses will want to attempt. The point would be that you want to be the best and the strongest listing in your immediate service area to insure that you do in fact make the Maps listing in a several mile radius of your business.

2. It goes without saying that your Google My Business must filled out completely and accurately. This includes details such as business hours and holidays. This is for Google but more than that it is for potential customers looking for information on your business. When completing your GMB listing there are a couple of tricks of the trade to include.

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  • You will want to have lots of images on your GMB page. That means much more than you have now! Before you upload the images right click on the image, go to the bottom of the pop up and select “Properties”. In the next pop up click on “Details” on the tabs at the top. Fill in the “Title” with your keywords and keyword phrases even loosely related to what the photo is about. In the “Subject” fill in more keywords and terms closely associated with your business services. “Rating” give yourself 5 stars. “Tags”, “Comments” are more places to include information about your business and services. The “Authors” area is a great place to include your business NAP, name, (address and phone). The search engine bots will read all this information and associate it with your business and services.

  • While working on your photo’s you will want to geo-tag each one. That is to put your latitude and longitude in each photo. For a local business this verifies your location to the search engines. Travel over to Geolmgr here. Enter your business address in the upper section the software will grab the Lat/Long for your location. Next drag the images into the image box on the right side. Click on the blue “Write EXIF Tags” button then download the images back in a separate file that you label as completed images. From this file you can upload to your GMB listing. Each image will have information that ties your keywords and your business location to your GMB.

3. When you first filled out your GMB listing you selected a primary business category. Now is the time to edit that section in your listing and add as many secondary categories as apply. A great tool to help you with this task is Travel to the bottom of the page and click the check box “Show results in a table”, then the blue “Fetch”. On the results page scroll down and find a huge list of categories. This is hard to grind through but it is worth the time. When you find a category that relates to your business click on “Related Categories” on the right hand side. This will give you more ideas of possible categories. You will want to include as many categories as possible in your GMB listing. It is important however that each category that you select is a service that your truly provide. Each category that you select should have a well constructed web page or landing page that informs and assists visitors to your website, and tells Google that you really have meaningful content and are in that business. This exercise gets your business listed in as many Maps Packs as possible for your services.

4. Lastly, if you are a single location business, the footer of each page of your website should have a google maps embed of your business location and/or service area. The footer should also have your business NAP, (name, address, phone). There are other items you may choose to put in the footer such as social icons, business hours, etc. but for the best chance of scoring points with Google the map embed and NAP are helpful.

5. Bonus item I’ll add is schema for your website. Schema is a structured data mark up that ensures the search engines have accurately understood the information on your site. All the details are beyond the scope of this article, but most businesses have an individual or a company that can help them with their website. As a business owner you simply need to insure that proper Schema is included on your website.

For questions or for assistance in getting your business into the Local Maps Pack for your primary search terms, or for any digital marketing requirements contact Gideon Marketing.

Gideon Marketing

4200 McClelland Blvd

Joplin, MO 64804


The Basics of Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing is promoting your company or your companies goods and services online or through mobile data channels. Like traditional marketing when done correctly it involves much testing and documentation to find what is truly working. Unlike traditional marketing digital marketing generally is much easier to track and easier to change and modify “on the fly” in reaction to feedback and tracking results.

Digital Marketing tends to be focused on a narrowly targeted audience more so than traditional marketing channels which tended to broadcast a message repeatedly over a broad audience.

Primary types of digital marketing are: Owned outlets such as a company’s website, Facebook page or other social media channels; paid ads such as Google Adwords or Facebook paid advertising; and earned media outlets such as a blog following, Facebook followers and other social media accounts. Obviously the digital owned and earned categories can overlap.

One of the first things a company must establish is the specific objective of their digital efforts. In a typical B2B (business to business) campaign the objective may be to generate high quality leads for a professional sales force to follow up with. In B2C (business to consumer) the main objective may be increased brand reach, build an email list of quality prospects, or a customer call to a brick and mortar location.

Some types of digital marketing can be quite inexpensive to begin with. For example an email campaign or publishing extremely engaging content on a blog post that gains an audience and is shared around the internet. Other options can start rather inexpensively and then be tweaked and optimized before scaling up into higher budgets. These options make digital marketing a much lower barrier to entry than traditional marketing. All of this is to say that small and medium sized companies have a much better chance at success and for that reason alone every business needs to have a well defined digital marketing plan and budget.

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Why Should a Business Focus on Their Online Presence?

It is a well established fact that the internet has changed the world. Today the printed Yellow Pages are not much more than a paper weight, (pun intended). Newspaper and magazine subscriptions are down significantly across the country. Network TV viewership is declining year over year. All of these “old-world” media outlets are succumbing to the digital “new reality.” The vast majority of people search online to find the local goods and services that they require. If a business wants to grow it must be found online, and it must have multiple outlets online.

Therefore, it is a simple fact that a business must have a digital strategy to grow their customer base, brand, and sales.

                                                                                           It Starts With a Plan

Just like traditional marketing a business must have a specific plan for their digital marketing. Marketing is a strategy that a business implements to reach out to their ideal prospects to inform them and get them to know, like and trust the business. Strategy is the big picture plan. Tactics are the HOW of execution of the plan.

The marketing plan does not need to be dozens of pages of complex technical jargon, charts and formula’s. In fact it can be quite simple. Read The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib. You need to laser focus on:

  1. Who. Your target audience in advertising can’t be “everyone that walks in the door”. Each campaign needs to be laser focused on a specific target. Pick you “ideal” customer. Focus your message on exactly that person. Are they male/female? How old? What income? What habits? What likes and dislikes. What are the major one or two problems that cause them anxiety. What are their fears, what keeps them up at night? Just as important. Who do you NOT want. What type of customer is your largest problem, most hassle and least profitable. Your advertising needs to weed them out as well.

  2. What. What can you uniquely do for them. You need to establish what your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is. What separates you from the crowd of competitors that are shouting for their attention. You must communicate clearly and succinctly what you can do for them to solve the problem identified above. Sometimes this stage of the relationship involves How. Don’t assume that the customer automatically understands how your solution will solve their issue. Do not leave them the least bit hazy as to how you will fix their issue.

  3. Why. Why they should choose you. Offer proof of your claims. Social proof, (other happy customers), a guarantee, seek to literally make an offer that they can’t refuse and that has no apparent downside for them.

The entire focus of your advertising is to let your prospects know, like and trust you. There are many was to accomplish this in digital marketing. Publishing lots of interesting and informative content serves to make you the expert in the field. Information that is free and useful builds trust. Your company could utilize blog posts, publish an ebook , create an engaging infographic or host a webinar.

                        It Takes A Touch, (or Five)

Marketing can be compared to dating. It takes time and multiple interactions to build the know, like and trust. A business relationship is a relationship after all. Your marketing campaigns need to focus on the process. This is sometimes described as an inverted funnel. At the top of the funnel are the “raw” prospects that may encounter you via your advertising. As you engage more with them, inform them and help them with your content they begin to trust you. Those that are interested in your business or your offer move farther down the funnel, while some prospects will drop out. Your campaign needs to focus on building the relationship with those moving through your funnel, and how to interact and continue to reach out to those that have not responded and moved further down the funnel. Those that “drop out” may not be gone forever. After all, how many guys hit it off perfectly with their wife right from the beginning. It is expected that the relationship may take time and work.

Another advantage to digital marketing is the ease of which a business can establish multiple touch points with potential customers. Once they have entered your funnel and identified themselves it is possible to reach out to them via Facebook, email, text message, Google Ads or other social media outlets. Sales experts tell us that it takes between 5-7 touches before most prospects become customers. Your digital marketing plan should include multiple touches to prospects as well as re-targeting prospects that have not moved along in your funnel.

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Your Website:

For most companies the best starting place to a digital marketing plan is to establish a website. It is extremely important to insure that your website is mobile friendly, loads fast and that all the elements of the site load properly on all types of mobile devices.

It is a simple matter to find companies that will build a website. However, most website builders are not capable of writing the content. They don’t know your business, your Unique Selling Proposition, and frankly are not copy writers. You need your website to compel prospects to investigate your business further. You need content that engages them, answers their questions and concerns and builds rapport. If you are not confident in your own writing skills your website is one place that an investment in a very competent copy writer is an excellent investment.


You will need to research the major keywords and keyword phrases that prospects will use to search for your goods or services. This may not be as hard as many make it out to be. Begin with your own experience. What words and phrases would you use for your business and services and your location. Type these into a Google search. As the pages come up notice how well the businesses displayed match what you were searching for. Notice as you begin to type your search Google will offer some search suggestions. Write these down. Go to the bottom of the search page and also write down the phrases that google gives as search suggestions. Do this for every keyword and keyword phrase that you can think of, then search the best of the Google search suggestions that you wrote down. Again, on all the searches go to the bottom of the page and find the best of the suggestions.

Digital Marketing Joplin MO

Website Content:

When you are writing (or having written) your website pages make sure that the best of the best of the keywords and keyword phrases are included in your content. This is how Google and the other search engines determine what your page is about and when you should appear in a customer search.

Website Tracking:

Much of the ins and outs of building a website are beyond the scope of this article. However, do make sure that Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Facebook pixels are set up and working on your site. These tools will provide you with a means to analyze traffic to your site down to individual pages and will allow you to track visitors to your site so they can be re-targeted as we mentioned above in the discussion of funnels.

Most website owners fail to use the data that Google provides FREE. With Google Analytics and Google Search Console you can track all the traffic to each page of your website. You can discover where the traffic came from, (did they find you through your listing on Yelp or your Google My Business listing or general search). If from general search what keywords are working best for you? What pages on your site do they visit? How much time do visitors spend on each page? Time on site and “bounce” rate are measures that Google will use to evaluate the quality of your web pages and it will effect your ranking in Google. But more important, these types of data will let you know what your visitors think of your site and your content.

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                                               Getting to know the Terminology of Digital Marketing:

Every business or niche has it’s own language and key terms associated with it. Let’s review a few of the key terms used in digital marketing.

  • Bounce Rate: A measure of the total number of visitors to your page or to an online ad and how many stay long enough to digest the content verses the number that immediately click away. A high bounce rate is a definite red flag for your funnel or content. This measure lends its self to A-B testing. That is testing one factor vs another. For example, image A verses image B, or Headline A vs Headline B. A caution here is to only test one variable at a time and make sure you have enough impressions for each variable before you conclude which is the clear winner.

  • Call to Action: The response that you desire your page visitor to take. It could be to fill out a contact form, pick up the phone and call, click on a “Buy” button. One reason that most websites convert very poorly is that they do not have a clear and compelling call to action. Much thought and testing should go in to your call to action for every page or advertisement that you put online.

  • Conversion rate: The ratio of visitors to your page vs the number that respond to your call to action and buy, fill out a contact form, call or otherwise move further along in your funnel.

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your web pages for higher “ranking” in the search engines. Most websites that are found on page 2+ in the search results get almost no traffic from their web presence. For this reason many businesses elect to insure that their websites are optimized for the search engines, Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

  • Content Marketing: Is the process of utilizing good and engaging content to enhance brand awareness, customer trust or traffic growth. It can take the form of blog posts, ebooks, infographics or videos.

  • Organic Results: Is to rank in the search engine result page (SERP) below the paid ads. The search engines will feature the paid ads at the top of page-1 and if there are enough bidders ads will also appear at the bottom of page-1 as well. After the paid ads Google will have the 3-Pack or Map which features 3 local businesses for the major search queries. This Map 3- Pack is the absolute best listing for a local business to have. It appears on page one “above the fold” and features the businesses Google reviews. The businesses listed in the top 3 receive the highest click through rates on page one.

  • PPC or Pay Per Click: The term refers to paid advertising on the SERP’s. A business will bid on a keyword or keyword phrase with buyer intent, such as “plumber in Tempe Az”. The winning bids will instantly be featured at the top of the search results page where they are the first impression for the searcher. If the searcher clicks on their listing they will be directed to the businesses website or landing page where the business has an opportunity to convert the click into a customer. The advertiser will only pay the search engine if someone clicks on their listing.

gideon marketing show me the money

Social Media Marketing:

An astute business knows they want to be found everywhere that their potential clients are found. Today that means having a presence on social media. Every business need not be found on every social media outlet, but it is critical to find out where your customers spend time and be certain to be found there. A rough generalization of a few of the most popular social media platforms follows:

Facebook is one of the largest with billions of users. Hundreds of million people sign on to the platform each day. A general age range would be 25-55 years old. Facebook has an incredible data base of their users. A business that wishes to advertise on Facebook has a much better opportunity to narrow in on a very focused audience with Facebook’s user data. However, the advertiser must bear in mind that people do not go to Facebook to shop. They are looking for entertainment and social interaction. Your advertising must fit right in with the flow to be effective. A hard core sales pitch will not be effective.

Twitter has about a 20% market exposure online. Users tend to be younger than Facebook. More in the 18-29 age range. Communication on Twitter is brief and abbreviated. Ad costs run a little high so getting the hang of Twitter as an ad platform takes expertise.

LinkenIn is more effective as a B2B platform, but it is clearly the best option in that category. It is designed for an older more business professional. Having said that, it host about 1-billion users. In the B2B space it is well worth learning how to use effectively.

Pinterest is a very visual platform which has a higher female demographic. If a business has a product or service that lends its self to those factors Pinterest is a viable advertising platform.

Local 3 Pack

Video Marketing;

Most businesses have not even begun to tap into the power of video marketing. YouTube is the number two search engine by volume, in the world. People respond to visual stimulus much more than the written word. Video is becoming more and more popular on all of the social media platforms. In short video is the best untapped resource for local businesses to engage with their best prospects.

Video is perfect for short clips that fit in well with the flow of social media sites. A business owner can highlight a special service, show off their business location, or provide an “explainer” video to help customers understand the benefits of their product.

Videos that connect with an audience will be “liked” and “shared” across the internet. That kind of free exposure is the dream of every business owner. Video’s do not always have to be large, professional productions. Many video clips shot with a cell phone have gone viral on the internet. The real key is producing content that connects with your target audience.

Email Marketing:

Another untapped resource for many local businesses in today’s digital marketing landscape is email marketing. Building an email list of satisfied prior customers and then keeping quality content and compelling offers in front of that established audience is just good business. Email marketing can be quite inexpensive and very effective. It is however, important for the business owner to keep value in mind. It is not prudent to just continually pitch to that audience. That is the quickest route to a mass unsubscribe. The business needs to provide true value and engaging content that keeps their client list opening and responding to the emails.

The Bottom Line:

The bottom line is that virtually every business can benefit and grow with a solid digital marketing plan. The marketing plan does not need to be overly complex but it does need to be well thought out and implemented. Digital marketing today offers a wide spectrum of platforms to reach out and engage with prospects. The wise business will work through multiple channels to reach their targeted audience and build rapport.

Digital marketing lends its self to a small or medium size business on a budget. Some of the opportunities are free to begin with. Paid advertising online has excellent opportunities to track performance and makes it easy to test and modify a campaign early on before serious money is consumed.

SEO vs PPC Which To Choose?

Gideon Marketing Joplin MO. Digital Marketing Agency

Have you ever noticed how often when you ask a seemingly simple question the answer comes back, “that depends”. Well so it is with the question “should I focus on Search Engine Optimization for more traffic or Google Adwords or other paid ads”. The answer to that seemingly simple question depends on several factors that we will explore in this article.

1. Do You Have a Working Marketing Plan For Your Business?

A marketing plan does not have to be a book sized document that is complicated and never used once it is written. It can be (and should be) simple, direct and functional. It can be as little as a single page. See The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib. Your marketing plan clarifies who your target audience is, what you have to offer them, why what you have to offer is their best choice, and how you will reach them with a laser focused offer that they can’t refuse. Once you are very clear on the who, what, why and how it becomes much easier to execute a plan.

2. What Are Your Short and Long Term Goals?

It is a well known fact that the internet is the leading source for finding goods and services for consumers and businesses today. You simply must have a solid presents on the web. Google is the leading search engine but Bing and Yahoo account for about 19% of the traffic and are not to be ignored. Since almost every business has a website and is vying for the top spot in the search results, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is necessary in almost every niche and market going forward.

But SEO takes time to develop and get results, 3-6 months at least. Longer term, solid SEO is very important to a business since about 80% of the search traffic does go to “organic” listings, (that is non-paid). Building a solid online presence for your business is no different than any other asset that you build or create to grow your business.

Having said that, if you need leads immediately and are on a budget that is an either or scenario then paid ads would be your best solution. However, launching into paid ads without knowing with a fairly high degree of certainty what you are doing is a recipe for destroying that budget with nothing to show for it. Paid ads are not particularly difficult to set up but they are very difficult to make profitable for the novice. If you are just starting with paid ads make sure you have the budget to get expert help.

3. The Best First Step

Almost certainly the best first step for a business is to complete their Google My Business listing. Their first goal if they are a local business is to be in the top three of the Google 3 Pack or Maps Pack that appears at the top of the search results page. Along with this, every business needs to continually accumulate great online reviews. Have an active program to collect reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and any other review site important to the niche that you operate in. At this time it is quicker to get into the 3 pack than to SEO your way to the top of page one in the organic listings. For that reason focusing on the 3 Pack is a short cut to page one.

4. Don’t Ignore Social Media

Social media sites are free to set up and posting on these high domain authority sites on a regular basis with links back to your website is a good practice to build consumer awareness, backlinks and traffic to your website and to your offers.

5. Final thoughts

The beauty of a working Marketing Plan is that you can focus your message and the medium to reach a targeted audience at an acceptable price. Having a time-frame in place helps map out an operation plan. Proper SEO is a means to a page one ranking in the search results, but on the way to that result getting in the top three of the Local 3 Pack and running an optimized Google Adwords campaign can do much to drive traffic and leads to your business. With the power of the internet most businesses will want to have maximum exposure and be found everywhere that their customers are online.

Gideon Marketing is here to help. We can assist you with your marketing plan and we can help you implement that plan to get maximum return on investment.

Call Gideon Marketing 417-385-3537

Gideon Marketing

4200 McClelland Blvd

Joplin, MO 64804


Why A Google My Business Listing Is So Important

According to the most recent data available about 23% of local businesses have not claimed their Google My Business (GMB) listing. The GMB is a free listing offered by Google. It provides consumers valuable information about a local business that they may be interested in, and it gives Google important information about a business that Google can then use to provide better and more complete search results.

It is important for a business to not only claim their listing but to take the time to completely fill out all the information that Google requests. This is not only for Google’s benefit but will serve potential customers looking for your goods or services. It will certainly help increase traffic to your website and potentially to your business. Finally, it will give your business a better shot at showing up in the top spots in the all important Google Local 3 Pack.


For a local business being in the top 3 of the Maps Pack or Three Pack gives the business prime exposure on page one of the search results, “above the fold” and prominently displaying the business’ google reviews.

The 3 pack gets the bulk of clicks on page one of the search page so a top listing here can be more valuable than a page one listing in the organic results that are displayed under the Maps Pack.

Here a few tips often overlooked by a local business when completing their Google My Business listing.


1. Be absolutely sure that your name, address and telephone number (NAP) in your GMB matches exactly the information on your website and all across the internet. That would include any listing you might have on Yelp, Yellow Pages or any other directory on the web.

2. Add as many Business Categories from Google’s list as your services allow. More descriptions are better as long as you really do fill the function. 

3. Google allows you to write a brief description ( up to 750 characters) of your business. Use all of this space to write out a complete and thoughtful description of what you do and the services that you provide. Include several keywords in this description.

4. Upload loads of images. Pictures tell a great story. Potential customers will engage with your photo’s so have lots of them. Display your place of business, staff, on the job photo’s, product photos, before/after photos, tell your company story through your images.

5. You can also upload video. This is even better. These video’s don’t have to be professionally done. Just good quality video that tells a compelling story about your business, your passion for what you do and results that you provide.

6. Make sure your business hours are listed, are correct and are updated for holidays. You don’t want a customer finding you using your GMB listing and visiting your business only to find you closed.

7. Actively seek to collect reviews from satisfied customers. This will do wonders for your professional image. Most consumers are influenced by reviews that they read. Always – always respond to the reviews that you receive. Especially the negative reviews. Remember other potential customers will be reading the reviews so respond positively, honestly and professionally. A negative review can be turned into a positive with the right response.

8. Google allows you to post to your GMB at no charge. This is a good place to promote product, special sales or special events, and to fill out content to inform and engage your customers. This is a great feature if used correctly.

Gideon Marketing can assist you in completing your GMB listing. One of the services that we provide is to post regularly to our clients GMB. This increases exposure to their customers and to Google. We specialize in getting our clients into the local Google Three Pack for their key search terms. This gets their phone ringing and their cash register ringing.

Call Gideon Marketing today. Let us ramp up your results. 417-385-3537

How to Get More (and better) Online Reviews:

How to Get More (and better) Online Reviews:

It is a fact that the vast majority of consumers go online to find the local goods and services that they need. It is more important than ever for a local service business or brick and mortar location to have a very visible online presence. But once a potential customer has found you online you literally have just seconds to capture their attention. If your prospect has true buyer intent one of the things that they will be looking for is your reviews. A buyer wants to know if you are the right choice for them and if you are likely to be the best solution to their problem.

Your Online Reputation is More Important Than Ever

Numerous consumer surveys have proven that 85%+ of consumers read online reviews. Of that group up to 91% trust online reviews as much as a personal referral. As a business owner if you consider that 97% of consumers use the internet to find local goods and services that they require and 85% or more read and react to online reviews it is critical for a business to closely monitor and cultivate their online reputation.

Make It Simple To Leave a Good Review

Before prospects even land on your website make sure your business is found and has positive reviews on all the major review sites. For most businesses that would include Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Some niches have sites more specific to their specific business that must be covered. Have clickable icons on your website to Facebook, Yelp, and Google review links. Encourage your customers or clients to leave you a review. Make sure that you regularly monitor your reviews online.

Make it as simple as possible for your clients to leave a review. Remember many have never “done” an online review. There are software options available that can make the process very simple. However you choose to collect reviews consider the process from your customers point of view and remove every obstacle.

Optimize your website for mobile traffic. More online searches are done on portable devices than on desktop and the gap is widening.

Have A Process

Your business should have a standard process for collecting reviews. Always ask customers about their experience and their level of satisfaction. When they express contentment ask for a review. Have a process that is simple and straight forward for the customer to leave the review.

It is prudent to have a short discussion with the customer about the review. It is much more productive for your Google ratings and for other potential clients if reviews are specific to certain products or services. Reviews with “keywords” help Google consider you more credible.

Always Respond To Every Review – Especially Negative Reviews

It is just common courtesy to respond to a review. Other potential customers will think more favorably of your professionalism as they see that you read and respond to each review. It is especially important to respond to negative reviews. We all understand that no one and no business is perfect. Sometimes things don’t go well. Respond professionally and thoughtfully. Acknowledge the complaint. If possible offer a solution or compensation, not excuses.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that businesses responding to negative reviews resulted in better overall ratings. Understand that behind that negative experience is an opportunity to build a stronger customer focused business and stronger customer relationships.

Focus on Building Your Online Reputation – Leverage That Reputation

Make it a professional goal to have your business collect more and better reviews than anyone else in your market. Dominate with your online reputation and you will definitely reap the rewards. Build that reputation then leverage it at every turn. Encourage prospects to research your 5 star reviews. Use you domination in print ads, radio or any other advertising that you do. Consumers researching your business will want to know that you have the best reputation in town for taking care of your customers or clients.