Web

Technology always finds a way to evolve, simplifying our lives and giving us more opportunities to grow our businesses.

For commercial and residential real estate companies, it has never been more crucial to keep up with the times. Keeping up with latest trends means customer retention and more potential buyers. It’s time to crack down on real estate marketing.

Here are some quick tips to help you keep up and continue to grow.

  • Get Mobile-Optimized (as soon as possible). An astounding number of people have traded in their old desktops for the latest smart phones and tablets. A study done on Facebook showed that by 2017, 51% of people were using their cell phones for all of their online transactions. So make sure your website is mobile-optimized, and create an app if you haven’t already.

 

  • Get Involved. A study in Adweek predicted that people spend over five years of their lives on social media. Five years! People are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every single day, and it’s a part of their routines. As a real estate agent or agency, social media is one of your best friends. Brand yourself. Mingle with the online world. It will bring in clients and it will make you more personable.

 

  • Get Private! With everything that is bought and sold online, people are becoming more and more conscious of their privacy. The Washington Post Conducted a study in 2014 that said 7 out of 10 business practices do things that put people’s personal and financial data at risk. You can avoid this by protecting your clients with updated software and making sure your site is secure. Look to hosting companies for help if you need it.

February has been cold, but thankfully with the right relationships you can fight that bitter chill still hanging around! The Westmark Group is proud of the relationships it has formed working with businesses, and we’d love to introduce you to one of those businesses as they provide the fuel and equipment needed to keep your home comfortable!

With our February feature we’re going to introduce you to OSI Comfort Specialists. The company was originally founded in 1936 in Rockaway Beach by Mr. Levi. This was during the Great Depression, a time when neighbors helped neighbors out as best they could. It was during this time Mr. Levi was known to carry oil in snowdrifts to his customers homes. The business was in the blood and as time passed Mr. Levi’s son, Irving, joined him in the business. This continued with Irving’s sons Martin, Richard and Alan joining the businesses as well. When Richard’s son, Michael, joined OSI he became the 4th generation of family to become part of the business.

OSI Comfort Specialists success is based on 70+ years of experience, the high standards they set, investing in expertise and hiring the right personnel for the company. Their vision and understanding of new technologies allows their customers to have the best advantages for their home comfort needs. From utilizing the most modern equipment and the best maintenance practices their customers can consume less fuel while enjoying the most comfortable homes. Along with equipping your home with the right equipment OSI Comfort Specialists will also maintain it, deliver your fuel automatically, guard you from unchecked costs while also providing price protection and service plans.

The OSI Comfort Specialist team is comprised of technicians who are courteous, knowledgeable, thorough and neat. They are highly trained and install equipment to meet the standards set forth by the manufacturer ensuring optimal performance. Your home comfort needs will be greatly exceeded when using OSI Comfort Specialists.

We are grateful for the relationship we have formed working with OSI comfort Specialists over the past few years. The dedication to their customers and the high standards they set in the business are bar none. It is a pleasure to work with them and watch their amazing business continually grow! Be sure to check out their website to learn more about OSI Comfort Specialists, especially if you are looking for home comfort services and energy products!

January is off to an amazing start, and a major part of that is because of the amazing businesses and people we get work with! The Westmark Group is proud of its relationships formed with these businesses. We would love to introduce you to one of those businesses and share who they are with you!

For our January feature, we’re going to introduce you to Bregman Veterinary Group. Originally starting out in the 1970’s in Coney Island, it was there that Dr. Jack Bregman opened his first small animal practice. You could say practicing veterinary medicine runs in the family blood as sons Eric and Allan eventually followed in their father’s footsteps. Through their hard work, passion and dedication to providing the best care possible, they have built a foundation of great relationships with pet owners and their furry patients. Over the years this passion for care has grown to two animal hospitals in New York, two in Florida and two nuclear facilities.

With their growth, Dr. Jack Bregman has moved on to practice at their Florida locations while  Dr. Eric and Dr. Allan are still here in New York. Dr. Eric Bregman is a certified Radiation Officer and is licensed to administer radioactive iodine to treat feline hyperthyroidism. He is currently the Alternate Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association representing NYS and is active in the New York City Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Allan Bregman is a Category II USDA Accredited Veterinarian and is well versed in performing and documenting International Health Certificates. Dr. Allan serves as the treasurer of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. In addition Jack, Eric and Allan are all USDA Category II veterinarians.

We are honored by the relationship we have formed working with Bregman Veterinary Group over the years. The dedication to their clients and love they have for providing unprecedented care for animals has made it a pleasure to watch their practice grow into what it is today! Be sure to check out their website to learn more about Bregman Veterinary Group, especially if you are looking for a veterinarian!

linking

Link building has always been a crucial component of SEO. Now, with Google’s latest Penguin update, it’s more important than ever to build valuable, strong links, lest your website be penalized in search engine rankings.

When it comes to internal link building, it’s easy. Simply build several high-quality, well-written landing pages and blog posts which all pertain to your industry. Once you have posted all your content, link everything you’ve written to everything else, whenever you see a reasonable opportunity to do so.

External links are equally simple: just embed outbound links within your content which lead to high-ranking external websites, and reap the SEO rewards.

But inbound links are another story entirely. Inbound links are earned when another website links back to yours. They are much harder to achieve because, while you are in total control over your own website, you have no control over what someone else decides to post. However, there are many strategies which you can use to acquire inbound links. Here are just a few.

List your site in a trustworthy directory

There are many online directories that provide no real value to users, and Google excludes all of them from its search results. However, there are a few online directories that Google still values. These directories offer an excellent place to post a link to your website and provide useful information about your company to consumers.

Give a testimonial

Spamming websites with useless testimonials and posting links back to your own site will only get you penalized by Google. However, there’s nothing risky about leaving a valuable, coherent review about a product or service you have used on a site related to your business. This usually works because two parties benefit: the contact receives a new testimonial, and you receive an inbound link. As you will learn as you read through this list, inbound link building is all about scratching someone’s back so that he or she will scratch yours.

Just ask

Think of your friends, relatives, partners, and clients with a blog or website. Ask them to post a link to one of your blog posts or landing pages. Be sure to ask for an in-content link, rather than a link in the sidebar or footer. Be warned, however, that if the link comes from a website that is irrelevant to yours, it will have little positive impact on your rankings and may even trigger a Google penalty.

Write a (good) guest post

Many sites and blogs are more than happy to accept and publish free content; if the organization maintains a regular blog schedule, that’s one less piece of content they have to pay for. However, as with the rest of this list, don’t cut corners. The post should be relevant to the website, professional, and interesting. Additionally, the subject should not be your company and how great it is.

Recover your dead backlinks

Maybe your site was relaunched, and not all content was successfully moved. Or maybe another webmaster posted a link to your site that was misspelled. Whatever the reason, there may be many broken links to your website across the internet that return 404 errors. In this case, tools like LinkJuice can help you identify and fix the broken links.

Turn mentions into backlinks

If someone wrote about your brand or product, but neglected to link back to your website, simply reach out and ask the webmaster to do so. Most webmasters will be happy to help, as they themselves understand the SEO struggle.

Build a Successful Linking Strategy with Westmark Group

There are literally hundreds of additional ways to build inbound links, but we simply don’t have the space to discuss them all. If you have any more questions about link building or SEO in general, don’t hesitate to reach out and touch us—we’re always happy to be a resource for new business owners.

penguinblog

For months, SEO experts have suspected that something fishy was going on in Google-land. Now, after months of playing coy, Google has finally rolled out its latest algorithm update, which the SEO community has dubbed “Penguin 4.0.” If your marketing strategy includes any kind of Search Engine Optimization, it’s vital for you to understand how the update will affect your search engine rankings, your conversions, and ultimately, your sales.

Back to Basics: What is Penguin?

If you’re new to the world of search engines and SEO in general, allow us to back up. In the days of old—2011 and prior—the internet was a frustrating place. Sites could, and did, achieve higher search rankings by using scummy tactics like populating entire pages with links or churning out useless, poorly-written content.

Google’s first major algorithm update, Panda, changed all that. It dramatically overhauled the way Google evaluated search quality, penalizing sites that posted spammy content and rewarding those that offered rich, valuable content. A year later, Google unrolled Penguin, which aimed to do the same as Panda, only with links. Suddenly, sites with low-quality links were penalized, and sites with strong inbound link profiles were rewarded.

Since then, Penguin has seen a few minor updates—but Penguin 2.0 and 3.0 were nowhere near as significant as the 4.0 version. Below are three of the biggest changes.

Penguin 4.0’s Top 3 Updates

Here’s what’s different in the SEO world now that Penguin 4.0 is here.

  1. Constant refreshing. Before, if a website uploaded spammy or manipulative links, it could be weeks or months until the faux-pas was caught by Penguin’s crawlers. Now, Penguin is refreshing itself constantly, meaning that guilty sites will be caught and penalized almost immediately. On the flip side, those who are attempting to remove a Penguin-imposed penalty won’t have to wait until the next refresh to restore their rankings and seek a second chance.
  1. No more full-domain penalties. Previously, Google used spam indicators to flag entire websites as worthy of penalty. For example, if a webmaster built a low-quality link pointing to a landing page, the entire domain’s rankings would tank across the board. Now, individual pages will be penalized, and the website as a whole will remain safe.
  1. Full incorporation into Google’s core algorithm. This latest update integrates Penguin into dozens of other separate algorithms that all function together to evaluate a site’s value. This integration will doubtlessly make Penguin more smooth and efficient.

So, What’s it to Me?

Ultimately, Penguin 4.0 means two very important things:

  • Black Hat SEO users will be caught and punished more quickly.
  • Black Hat SEO users will be forgiven more easily.

Now, hopefully, your marketing company isn’t using any Black Hat SEO tactics in the first place. In that case, you don’t have anything to worry about. Google wants you to play by the rules—so play by the rules, and you’ll have nothing to fear.

Mainly, the new update offers an impetus to check your link building practices. Are your links leading to high-authority sites that will lend you valuable credibility? Are you using appropriate anchor text and embedding your links in well-written, well-researched content? Will your target audience find your links useful? This update will help SEO experts analyze their current practices and take their optimization techniques to the next level.

In other words, SEO experts simply have all the more reason to take time and care when building websites, aiming to tell their brands’ stories via data-driven content, research, and industry knowledge. Another plus? This huge change in the SEO world means that the demand for quality link building services will only increase in upcoming years—great news for marketing companies and their clients. If you do make an SEO mistake, real-time updates mean you will be able to quickly fix the violation. Eventually, Black Hat SEO techniques will slowly become obsolete, which is exactly what Google wants in the first place.

phone with coffee
A study from Lithium Technologies illustrates the dissatisfaction customers have when they interact with brands via social media, and specifically when they reach out to ask a question or stress their concern with a product.

It’s one thing to unlike a company’s Facebook page or unfollow a brand on Twitter, but it’s a whole other issue when the consumer decides to express their discontent by posting negative reviews or going off on a Twitter rant.

Timing is of utmost importance. Customers generally become distressed when they feel they are not valued by the brand and the time between when the outreach is initiated to when they are responded to, increases. According to the study, more than half of unsatisfied customers will take negative actions to show their dissatisfaction in you, the company. This is the last thing you want, as a company owner. Your attention automatically refocuses to remedying the situation and performing crisis communication to the displeased customer. Essentially, if not handled swiftly, this form of discontent can quickly erupt into a PR disaster for a brand.

However, there is an upside to handling the complaint or overall interaction in a timely manner. Not only will the customer have a favorable attitude of your brand, they are more likely to purchase additional products from your company. Most of all, when customers have a positive experience with you, or when you have resolved an issue for them, they are that more likely to recommend you to their friends and spread the word about how a complaint or negative experience was handled appropriately, resulting in a favorable mindset of the brand.

Involvement on Twitter and Facebook are merely instantaneous and take only a couple of seconds to have an everlasting impact. This is a two-way street. If we act speedily and with purpose we have the ability as marketers to transform the social customer service experience for brand as a whole.

facebook login iphone

Nearly a year ago Facebook introduced slideshows, allowing advertisers to seamlessly compile a collection of images into a video. Video consumption online whether it be through a desktop or mobile device, continues to increase daily. After a year of understanding and experimenting with this unique feature from Facebook, advertisers have suggested changes and improvements that could be introduced to make the entire process more effective. Facebook is now introducing several new features that will allow advertisers to more easily display products and market their ideas.

Stock Images:

Facebook has long had a stock image database free to us through ad manager, but now this feature has been added to the slideshow tab. Advertisers can now pick from a gallery of thousands of pictures and simply place them into the slideshow ads they are creating.

Add-ons:

Adding text and music to slideshow ads is now possible through this update! There are a number of templates to pick from, each with a different theme. Furthermore, you can now choose from a sound library to add music to your slideshow. Facebook says that soon you will be able to pick music from your personal audio library too!

What If You Already Have a Video?

If you already have a video that you’d like to convert into a slideshow ad, you can easily convert it by uploading the actual video into the slideshow tool. The technology will do the rest by taking the image stills from the video and turning them into your slideshow ad. Creating a slideshow ad by using already created content is beneficial to those who have a lot of content within their video but do not necessarily want to show the entire file. Marketers can be selective and pick the content they have a priority on advertising.

As a digital marketing agency we are excited for the new features being added to the slideshow ad function within Facebook. Our hope is that advertising on Facebook will continue to evolve and change with the times, making it more effective to advertise and tell our clients stories!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

snapchat logo

If you know anything about about Snapchat, you probably operate the app with the assumption that nothing is truly private. Somewhere, in their watchtower, Snapchat staff are most likely able to grab any information they wish with little to no effort. While they may not be able to see your actual snaps to friends, they can get just about any other data they wish, and starting soon, they’ll be using this data to target the user and bring in significant advertising revenue.

By understanding what accounts you follow, Snapchat has the ability to better target you with ads related to these accounts. Even more invasive, Snapchat can design ads to target you based on the discovery stories you frequent. For instance, if you follow beauty brands, you will begin to see ads for makeup. If you follow a number of basketball players or frequent the ESPN discovery page, you will start to see sports ads.

Advertising via Snapchat is becoming more regular. In July the app created their first application programming interface, or API, which assists advertisers in the buying process of ad space and eventually allows them to analyze their ads privately as a company.

While these changes might sound a little nosy, we think it’s better to have some control over what ads you view within the app. If you’re going so far as to follow and watch specific accounts and stories, it’s nice to know Snapchat isn’t wasting your time (and theirs) showing you ads that you have no interest in. For advertisers, this allows the opportunity for them to collect data. If Advertisers know who is watching specific channels causing their ads to be played for certain users, they can find out more details about these consumers such as their age and gender.

Tell us what you think in the comments below!

pay per clicks, marketing, keyboard, apple products

If you have recently developed a website, chances are you are in the process of attracting people to said website. It is probably not as easy as you thought it would be, and at times it could be frustrating. That’s where Pay Per Click advertising, or PPC comes in to play.

PPC is a great way to get people to your site by getting the website to show more prominently as a search result. The further up in the search results your website appears, the more views your page will receive and ultimately the more leads and customers you will be able to generate. All of these increases will allow for a more successful business in the long run. Keep reading to find out beginner tips regarding PPC so that you can have the most impactful results on your website.

PPC 101:

  • PPC advertising is a form of digital advertising
  • PPC Account Managers will bid on keywords that will be used when you search for related info that pertains to their website
  • The goal is to get your website at the top of search engine results

Now What?

Once you have your targeting figured out, you need to figure out where you’d like to place the actual ads. PPC Campaign Managers primarily suggest Google as this is the most used search engine.

Cost:

If you are truly serious about your website and overall business (and we assume you are), then you know there is a price that comes with really promoting your business at the top of a search or generating leads to your website. Cost Per Click, or CPC, is what you will end up paying every time a person clicks on the PPC advertisement. It is wise to create a budget in this scenario, and the manager of your campaign understands enough of lead generation to know what is suitable for your specific business. The money you allocate to your campaign can be transitioned into a number of options. You can elect to allocate money to various keywords or allocate the budget over a time amount that has an end date.

At The Westmark Group we pride ourselves in our skill and talent when it comes to PPC advertising. If you are interested in learning more about PPC or our other services, please get in touch!