The Scoop @ MSCO

Inspirational Insights From Mark Stevens

Small business marketing consulting expert and CEO of MSCO, Mark Stevens has been featured in a multitude of different publications throughout his life. The latest publication in which he was given the opportunity to share his inspirational insights with is HR.com. HR.com is the largest online community for human resources professionals. HR.com features articles, news, webcasts, events, white papers, discussion forums, and more from top level executives in various industries.

Mark was featured in January’s issue of HR.com’s Personal Excellence. His article, Where Inspiration is Born, talks about where inspiration comes from. Besides revealing the truth behind the true origin of inspiration, he also goes on to explain what you can do to set yourself up to uncover remarkable ideas. With these three extremely simple tips from Mark, could you find your next big idea? Mark, as always, seamlessly blends his personal experiences with his professional expertise to deliver yet another knock out article.

Click here to read the article. This link will direct you to the online version of Personal Excellence,  an HR.com publication. While you’re there, scroll through the rest of the issue for more tips and professional insights from other business experts.

For more of Mark’s inspirational insights and to see the original version of this article, check out his personal blog on LinkedIn. With new posts almost every single day, you’re sure to find something that interests you.

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Trends in Web Design Westchester Needs to Know

Web Design Westchester Tips
MSCO has been the company for web design Westchester has counted on since before Google was invented. As times change, so do website conventions. As premier web designers, it’s our job to stay on top of the trends and give our clients a cutting-edge look for their website and internet presence. 

With 2015 now here, let’s take a look at some trends in web design Westchester businesses should know to make the most of their online presence. I’ve asked our top web designers to give their thoughts on what will be the dominant forces in web design and development in the coming year. Here’s some of what they said:

Large Scale Images

Gone are the days of thumbnails and load times. Bold header images are en vogue, says designer Ligia Barao. 

With advancements in graphical displays and broadband access, big, powerful images are the norm for big, powerful brands. MSCO client Teams of Distinction is a good example of this, with a map of their clients as the first thing you see. Then, a carousel takes the user through several different images that add to the sense of strength Teams of Distinction has established. The taglines and calls to action match that, making for a highly polished website design.

It’s a bold choice that looks forward, not backward. Your business should do the same.

Simple Design Choices

Everything from the font to the color scheme to the layout goes into creating a web design Westchester residents will both admire and use. Creative Director Matt Carlsen advises clients that the simplest way to achieve your website goals is often the best.

Don’t add flashy touches and fancy fonts to your website if you want it to look modern. Flat design, simple fonts (especially sans-serif fonts) and easy to find calls to action dominate today’s most popular web designs. 

Some of this is the impact of mobile on web design Westchester may be slow in adopting. But flash intros, PDF menus and pages upon pages of content are simply not the way to do business anymore. Understand what you want to get out of your website and build the simplest, cleanest possible design to get you there. Which brings me to the next point.

Focus on the User Experience

It’s not always about what you want. It’s about what your customer wants. Give it to them in as few steps as possible. That’s more advice from Ligia. 

There’s no reason to overcomplicate things for a customer. In fact, if a user can’t find what they want from your website, they’ll click off of it. This hurts your traffic numbers, which can hurt your search engine visibility and ultimately your business. 

Many times when it comes to advertising or web design Westchester business owners add the things they want to see. I like to call them “Vanity Ads.” It’s just up there to make the business owner feel good, without regard for the customer whatsoever. Things like overly descriptive bios, news front and center on the website and company milestones don’t do a lot for the customer. Yes they build credibility, but you need to give customers what they want too.

Make important information easy to find. Where are you located? What do you sell? How do I get in contact with you? You may even want to consider allowing customers to make purchases right on your website. Easy-to-use plugins like Shopify (which powers the Bestie Bag website) make ecommerce a more attainable web design Westchester companies can use to power their websites.

Mobile First Approach

The PC isn’t the only way to get to the internet anymore. There are so many devices out there customers can use to access your website. It’s important to take into account all of them so that the web design Westchester sees is optimized for the experience.

Matt says good web designs should begin from the smallest format and scale up to the biggest. A new website design starts with the mobile design. This helps a designer focus on essential information first. Once the mobile design is created, layouts are considered and features can be added. As the available area expands, more options for placing different things like web galleries and contact information. The desktop layout isn’t always ideal for mobile, so it’s best to expand up to the largest size from the smallest.

This is a relatively new development in web design Westchester may not know about yet. But with more than half of all web traffic coming from mobile browsers, it’s very important to consider how customers and clients see your website. An outdated web design that’s difficult to read on a phone can cost you business. 

The Web Design Westchester Businesses Need?

No two businesses are going to have the same website needs. Therefore, you need to assess what’s most important for your business. What information do your clients or customers need? Where are they finding you? On mobile? Tablet? Should you include e-commerce functionality? What about remarketing and database collection? There’s a lot to consider, which is why a web design is much more than pretty pictures. It’s a comprehensive strategy to build a business on the internet. Web design is just part of that.

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Mark’s Small Business Consulting Advice for 2015

Mark Stevens has advice for businesses everywhere: Make 2015 the best year ever!

The latest small business consulting from our CEO was published by The Network Journal last week. The article quotes three business experts on what small business owners can do to enjoy success in 2015. Mark shares his unique small business consulting through three of the ten tips:

  • Get It Together – Integrate all the pieces of your marketing machine

  • Eliminated the Duds – Stop selling 10% of the products you’re selling now

  • Plan For and Achieve Growth – Set a minimum target for growth of 25%

Each tip is an MSCO trademark brand of small business consulting from the mind of our best selling CEO. None of it is advice you expect to hear this time of year. All of it will help you if you keep it in mind when building your business next year.

To learn more, you can read the entire article here. Or for expanded tips, advice and ways to grow your business, you can get the book from the man who literally wrote the book on marketing here.

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Our Marketing Company’s Holiday Outing


MSCO Takes to the LanesLast night, the employees of our Westchester marketing company went out and enjoyed a bit of holiday cheer together at
FunFuzion bowling and arcade. Westchester’s biggest indoor amusement park didn’t disappoint our marketing company as we bowled for hours under the blacklights and enjoyed some quality time outside the office. 

Tommy Jay came equipped with his own bowling balls and shirt from his high school bowling team. He put up the high game for the night at 137. Not to be outdone, Ligia Barao and Jon Soniker also put up strong scores giving Tommy a run for his money as MSCO bowling champion. I even broke 100 in one game! Overall, it was a fun team building night for our marketing company.

Me After Bowling a 100 Game

So that was our holiday party. We hope you enjoy yours. From our entire marketing company family, happy holidays and have a  great new year! Before you know it, it will be time to get back to work.

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Why Internet Marketing Consultants Need Content


Inside an Internet Marketing Consultant's HeadMore and more business is being done digitally and an internet marketing consultant can be useful in figuring out how to get a piece of the action. But there are different kinds of internet marketing consultants. There’s the online marketing strategist that focuses on SEO or PPC like Google AdWords, the social media management services guy, the website design specialist and the digital media planner and buyer, just to name a few. But all of these internet marketing consultants should care about content. Why? Because it sells.

How does it sell? That’s more complex. But your internet marketing plan isn’t complete without a comprehensive content strategy. In fact, content has always played an important role in marketing, regardless of channel.

A Brief History of Content Advertising

When you really look at it, content has always been important to advertising. Long ago, ad sponsorships developed out of the desire to attach a brand with a particular piece of content. You can find an example of this model in the game show The Price Is Right. Contestants play games revolving around the price of goods, ranging from baking soda to cars, in hopes of winning something. Do you think those products got there by chance? The brands paid for the opportunity to be part of the content. The content enhances the visibility and personality of their brand. It’s classic content marketing.

Flash forward to the 21st century and marketing goes digital but stays true to its roots. Rather than paying for sponsorships on shows, brands began to develop their own content to attract the attention of the right audience. Brands even built audiences simply because they had content. Ever heard of Facebook? YouTube? Pinterest? These go-to content pages are now major media channels every internet marketing consultant wants to use for their own brand. 

It works especially well for niche audiences. The internet brings communities closer whatever their interest. It also lowers the barrier to entry for many brands, giving them as many options to plug into the online conversation. Why wouldn’t Kraft create a recipe website for foodies? Or American Express create resources for small business owners through Open? 

As internet marketing consultants, we did this exact thing a few years ago for MARS. For the launch of Steel Horse Coffee, MSCO put together a productivity website that offered content that someone most interested in purchasing coffee with flavanols might enjoy. We developed a productivity index. We held productivity awards. We petitioned for a National Productivity Day. All done in the name of content for the brand. Needless to say, the campaign was a success.

An Internet Marketing Consultant Should Start With Content

These days, content is everything in the digital marketing world. In fact, a good way to tell if an internet marketing consultant is up to date in his thinking is to ask whether or not content is valuable. If he says it’s not, he’s ten years behind the times.

The question isn’t whether or not content is important. It’s what content you want to deliver. The first step is to create an editorial calendar with the help of an internet marketing consultant. This will let you lay out everything you want to say to your audience for a set period of time. It takes into account holidays, important dates for your business, sale periods and more. Once you have the general concepts, start writing or creating some of what you want to say. Trust me, once you get started, it just pours out.

Next, you should decide how you want to deliver your content. Depending on your goals, there are a few different methods an internet marketing consultant can consider. 

Blogs

For many, this is the first place that comes to mind regarding content generation. It’s personal. It’s dynamic. It can host all forms of media. If you need a web-based platform for articles, audio or video, this is a great option. 

And the internet marketing doesn’t stop with content creation. Building articles and other features with keywords is great for SEO marketing. Content created in one place can be shared elsewhere, such as on social media. Podcasts hosted on a blog can be distributed through worldwide networks. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to content blogging.

Of course there are some things to keep in mind. There’s the regular maintenance of a content heavy website, including domain and hosting costs. Even if you already have a website, having an ever growing cache of pictures and videos can overload your hosting, requiring you to pay for more storage. Still, if you want to build a community resource, you may want to start with a blog.

Newsletters

What’s old is new again! Email newsletters are easy to set up and maintain. They’re great for highlighting what you do well, sending special offers to customers and sharing important industry information. Depending on what you want to accomplish, email newsletters are a fantastic tool for the internet marketing consultant.

You will need to have a database of customers to which you can send a newsletter, however. (Shame on you if you don’t keep a record of customer emails.) There are also modest costs associated with email sharing platforms, though there are free options as well. Plus email spam has become heavily regulated, so you want to make sure all users opt into the database, which is easy enough but still something an internet marketing consultant has to consider.

Social Media

There’s also the relatively new social media as a content distribution channel. In most cases, social media has few maintenance costs, all the infrastructure you could want and a “built-in” audience. Plus, if your content is good enough, here is where it is most likely to go viral. We’ve seen this with CEO Mark Stevens’ posts on LinkedIn, including his latest about McDonald’s

Social media does have some drawbacks, though. First, you have to build a network and depending on how you do that it can be costly. Talking to the audience you’ve built is sometimes a challenge as well. Social networks differ in the amount of organic reach they provide. For example, Facebook reportedly only grants 1% organic reach on posts. If you have a page with 10,000 likes, each post only reaches 100 of those people. Very tiny. Again, paid reach helps goose those numbers but it may be better to control your own audience with other means like blogging and email.

You’ll probably want to use some combination of all three of these ideas and share content between them, feeding off each platform’s strengths. The important point is to work with an internet marketing consultant that understands how to use content to drive leads and build a brand.

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