We’re all for being a little scared this time of year (gruesome costumes, jump-out-of-your-seat horror movies, haunted houses). But feeling horrified at work? No thanks. That’s why we’re sharing some marketing magic to help you tackle three spooky tasks your brand might have on its plate.
Spell #1: Spine-Tingling SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, might seem difficult to understand at first, and with the constantly-changing algorithms, it’s hard to keep up with what works. But doing SEO right is essential to keep your website performing at its best and make sure it doesn’t end up in the Google graveyard.
Tips to Break the Spell:
- People first, keywords second. Google adjusts its algorithm with human behavior in mind, so write for your audience! Provide straight-forward and engaging content that answers the question your audience is looking for. The algorithm can tell when keywords are forced and when content is just fluff. Use SEO tools like Google Ads and on-site search bars to identify your top seed keywords and put them where they flow naturally so you don’t scare readers (or search bots) away.
- Link to relevant content. Search engine crawlers follow links to pages to find and judge search query content. Linking to relevant external and internal pages adds credibility to your site and helps users dive deeper into topics they might be interested in.
- Write for the featured snippet spot. You know you’ve made it if your page is a featured snippet. A featured snippet is the main highlighted answer that comes up at the top of search result pages. Pages that include bullet points, numbered lists, and infographics have a better chance of landing this desired spot. Although users might not click through to your page from the snippet (because they just got the answer to their question), it does raise your brand awareness.
- Stay up to date with Google algorithm changes. Google likes to keep us on our toes by evolving search results based on new standards for accessibility, speed, spam content, and more. Subscribe to industry forums, like Google’s Search Console Community, and research updates to stay in the know and adjust your website accordingly.
Spell #2: A Witchy Website
For many visitors, your website is your brand’s first impression. It needs to look professional and function without a hitch so it doesn’t scare your target audience away. But does any mention of website work make you want to scream? Have no fear, RM is here to help.
The Magic Potion for a Winning Website:
- Maintain, maintain, maintain! Regular website maintenance needs to be completed to keep your website from feeling haunted, or even scarier, from becoming a security threat to those who visit it. To keep the digital monsters away, do all necessary website security updates. Next, check that pages are loading adequately, forms are operating properly, and plugins are updated. And don’t forget to renew your domain name!
- Keep the content flowing. Keep internet skeletons at bay by posting consistent, ongoing content like blogs and videos. The more keyword-rich content you create and share, the more your site will show up in search for visitors to find. Content creation also helps build credibility in your brand, and it can help fuel your email marketing programs and social media. That’s a win-win-win!
- Consider website add-ons. When your website is operating and looking its best, start researching add-ons you may want to try out. See if a chatbot may be a nice touch, or explore adding ecommerce to your site. These extras can help improve user experience, simplify customer service, and even bring in revenue. We love to hear that!
- Focus on UX. Is your site easy to navigate and find answers? Users won’t spend long on your site if they can’t scan it quickly. Keep headings and paragraphs short and logically organized. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly and loads quickly. Got dead links? Bring them back to life, and fix things like error pages and site redirects.
Spell #3: A Brand-Chilling PR Nightmare
Does your brand have some skeletons in the closet? Did your social media manager transform from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde on your company’s Twitter account? News flash: There is such a thing as bad press and even just a little can ruin a brand’s reputation. Check out our magic tips to combat a PR nightmare.
How to Lay Your Fears to Rest:
- Be prepared. No one can predict when a PR crisis will occur, but that doesn’t mean your brand should Frankenstein a plan together at the last minute. Work with a team of PR professionals—like the experts at Rawle Murdy—to develop a crisis management plan. This can serve as your foundation for actionable steps to take if and when a crisis should occur.
- Be proactive. Don’t let a brand crisis freeze you in your tracks. Try to get ahead of it by taking swift, decisive action. Know that a bad story about your brand is about to hit the news? Prepare a press release in response. Make a statement on your social media channels. Own the narrative by communicating the story you want for your brand.
- Transparency isn’t just for ghosts. The key to crisis communication is always transparency. A crisis is no time to be convoluted, quiet, or confusing. Be clear about what happened and why it happened. If your brand had a role in what led to the crisis, recognize that fact and apologize. Speaking truthfully and earnestly will help the public forgive and forget much quicker.
- Back up your words with your actions. Don’t just say that you’re making changes to address an issue; show it. If your crisis affected or offended a particular group of people, take action to reach out or support that group. Whether it’s supporting a local organization, changing an internal policy, or bringing in outside guidance, show how your brand has learned from the crisis and is working to improve.
Want to learn more from our marketing magicians? Drop us a line!
Top Accessibility Tips in Design
One of the biggest opportunities in design today is adopting practices to make your marketing materials open and accessible, expanding access to as many different disabilities as possible.
Achieving Accessibility in Design
Frequently, making design accessible requires only minor changes. Something as simple as adjusting contrast or increasing font size. Or it’s something you’d want to do anyway, like adding captions to a video. It is no great burden to make design accessible, and in fact, it’s often more than worth the effort.
For instance, with digital video marketing, the ADA recommends adding captions to accommodate deaf people and people with limited hearing. And while adding captions makes videos accessible to people with auditory limitations, it also allows people with full hearing to experience the product while it is muted. If you’ve already written the copy, it’s a simple matter of putting this text in the video or including it as a transcript in the video description. With a little extra work, you’ve made the design accessible to more people, garnering more exposure for your clients.
A Few of Our Favorite Tips
We as an agency are always looking for ways to make our design more inclusive, and wanted to share these techniques and practices we are currently exploring to increase accessibility in everything we do.
Here are a few quick things you can do to increase the accessibility of your design:
Including Transcriptions & Closed Captioning
As previously mentioned, these are helpful for hearing impaired and deaf people, but also helpful for folks watching on mute. This is the classic double whammy. Even if you didn’t take into account the benefit of opening up your design to people with hearing impairments, you’re already increasing your audience by allowing folks the option to watch without sound. Why wouldn’t you do it?
Add Alt Text
Alt text is text hidden in the code of a website that can be read by screen readers. Typically, it is used to describe pictures and videos for blind and vision impaired people. Also, whenever an image fails to load on a page, the alt text will be displayed instead.
Not only does this benefit people with low vision, it also helps with page rankings on search engines by providing more organic opportunities for keywords on your page.
Adjust the Contrast
People with limited vision benefit from design with high contrast between different components. Using distinct contrasting colors for important design elements, especially text, allows for people with vision impairments to more easily read what you’ve written. It’s also a more appealing design!
Be Mindful of Font Choices
We very recently became aware of the fact that certain fonts are better suited for folks with dyslexia. Alarmingly for designers, Comic Sans is one of the best fonts for folks with dyslexia; the fact that every letter is an entirely different shape actually helps their processing centers recognize them as distinct letters, as opposed to the mirror images of other fonts (i.e. for most sans serif fonts, q, b, d, and p are the same shape in 4 different directions)
It’s Not Just Ethically Good, It’s Good Business Too!
We hope you’ll agree that inclusive, accessible design is the right thing to do ethically, and worth doing for its own sake. However, it’s also a good thing to do from a business sense, too.
Consider this: 26% of the US population is disabled, or lives with an impairment that affects their ability to navigate daily life. Inclusive design is critical to reaching these folks who make up a quarter of the population.
So, from a purely numerical viewpoint, accessible design can account for a 30% increase in the audience you are marketing too. What other 5-minute task can claim the same?
Accessible design is the right thing to do, can increase profitability in the long run, and it is an easy philosophy to adopt in design. It is simply a matter of being cognizant of the different ways viewers experience the world.
Need help making your marketing more accessible? Let’s chat!
Dallas Wise competes in long jump at Paralympic team trials. (Photo: Mark Reis) www.teamusa.org
The US is sending 234 paralympians to Tokyo this month to compete in the 2020 Paralympic Games. Among them is Dallas Wise, a sophomore at Coastal Carolina University here in Charleston. Wise will be competing in both the long jump and the high jump in Tokyo this month.