Lead Generation for Small Business

GETTING NEW CUSTOMERS. If you own a small to medium sized business, and have heard the term “lead generation” but your not sure how it might apply to your business then you have come to the right place to learn the basics.

What Exactly Is Website Lead Generation?

The phrase “lead generation” is a rather loose term in marketing that refers to attracting consumers or business to your company’s services, products or offerings. There are a variety of methods and tools that are used to develop the leads that range from telemarketing, direct response advertising to sophisticated database and computer programs.

Often lead generation is created to develop sales leads through email newsletters, contact forms and so on. Sometimes leads are generated through business to business transactions but it also applies to companies that want to generate connections directly with customers.

Inbound Lead Generation & Outbound Lead Generation:

  • Inbound: This is when a consumer or other business comes to your company. They are initiating the contact. An example of inbound lead generation is when a consumer comes to your website from a Google search and lands on your home page, your blog, or your social media site.
  • Outbound: This is when your firm sends out various marketing messages. This communication can be via email, newsletters, or phone calls.

Lead Generation on a Shoestring

If you have limited time and financial resources, what simple steps can you take to have an effective lead generation strategy?
The practice doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated:

  • Where Do You Want to Go? One important step is to simply think about the concept. How can your business attract new sales leads? What areas can you tap to find potential new customers? What is your competition doing to attract new customers?
  • Current Customers. You already know your current customers, but do you have a process in place to systematically bring in new customers or business? You should be sure to know your prospects: for example, if you manufacture the latest in high-end ski equipment, you should not be targeting elderly golfers in your outbound marketing.
  • Ensure that all types of content – whether it’s your new responsive website design, comapny blog, email newsletter, and social media presence are perfectly coordinated and maintained in a timely and up to date manner! Make it a point to audit your various websites and social media channels every quarter to see that the information stays up to date, and refresh at least parts of it regularly. Try to make forms as short as possible and state clearly just how the prospect’s information will or will not be used. Again, the goal is to draw people in.

Lead generation is important to companies of all sizes. Even though some of the largest corporations have whole teams devoted only to lead generation, it should be a part of any small business owner’s marketing strategy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: With over 20 years experience, ATS Design Group in Syracuse, New York is a team specializing in all aspects of online digital marketing including website design, SEO search engine optimization, and social media marketing as well as print and traditional advertising design. serving clients across upstate New York, throughout New England, and nationwide.


Is Your Website Just a Fancy Business Card?

If you’ve ever been to a Coach store (or an outlet), you might have come across a business card holder. One of our founding members has a stack of business cards he keeps from customers and visitors alike. Business cards are a wonderful tool to represent what you already know about a person, and they can also be a reminder of that person later on.

But consider the “new age” of business relations. We have LinkedIn which is an electronic version of a resume, and Twitter and Instagram are almost acting as a business card. So then what does your website function as? As an experienced web design and digital marketing company, we have found that a website does a few specific things. One, it functions as a credibility factor. Can you prove to me that you’re trustworthy in what you’re selling to me? And two, it functions as an overview of that credibility.

Content Marketing: The Way Forward

In creating your credibility, the biggest asset you can have is a repository of information that you’ve created. Specifically in this case, a blog. Take a second and step back to think as a consumer or commercial potential client. You’ve heard of this company from a colleague or found it through a web search, so you visit the website. If the only thing to be found on the website is a brief walk-through of your services, but no supporting information to show that you can actually do and are knowledgeable about what you’re offering, you’re going to lose the client.

Likewise, on a smaller scale, what happens if you have great content but it’s nowhere to be found? It will be a similar outcome unless you show the potential client this is what I know. What that means for us as Syracuse web designers is that when we create a website, we center it around the content, not the other way around. To design a website that looks great and then fill it in with content is the same as presenting a business card to someone without attempting to build a relationship. Your business card, or in this case, your website, simply becomes a piece of paper or a nice-looking screen.

Content That Is Helpful

So there you have it. If 90% of consumers find custom content relevant and actually useful to them, the logical following would be you need to create custom, relevant, and useful content. Our goal in working to create your website is to help you by creating content and building the website around that. When we’re finished, you won’t have a business card, you’ll have a relationship-building tool.

Successful Website Design for Business

Every so often a company realizes they need to completely redesign their website. The push for a company to do this is to create a more attractive look to their website in hopes it will lead to additional revenue.

While the look of a website is often how we initially judge a website, you have to remember that a website is not art. There are several different skills put to use that range from copy writing and typography, layout, coding, and photography all fused together to create a user experience that not only creates an impression of you, your business and your credibility, but a successful website design is one that is intuitive to navigate and makes it easy for visitors to find and access the content they are looking for.

Your website is the public face of your business. There are a number of factors that you need to be aware of when designing a successful website such as usability and SEO (search engine optimization), navigational considerations that need to be factored into the design. Understanding your market, clientele, potential users, and competitive environment is a large project management task that should kick off your design and building process to ensure your site matches what potential customers and users are looking for.

Website Design for Business

With the recent roll out of Google mobile-friendly mandate (Mobilegeddon), business websites need to be mobile friendly with clean, simple, engaging, usable design and layout. Finding the right balance when it comes to the various design elements of a website so that the emphasis is on the user experience while at the same time conveying your brand message and search visibility is the biggest challenge for successful website design.

Website Usability

Inbound traffic is key to a marketer’s goal and SEO plays a large part of that activity. It is important to also balance your SEO strategy with your web design layout with actually usability. What happens once users hit your site depends on if they stay or hit be back button.

SEO: Making Sure You Can Be Found

This is where marketing and your website development team really need to come together. While not the most important process in the past, it is now moving more to the forefront as drawing potential customers to your website is an important task if you want to increase your visibility.

Website Content – What are Visitors Really Looking For?

Content is a core element to everything that we do from both a design and marketing perspective. All good design should be focused around quality content that is informative for the user. The key to great content is to provide advice that is relevant and usable by your customers. If your website focus is entertainment, then create that experience. You can use a lot of color and imagery to create that experience. On the other hand, if your website that is more focused on information consumption such as aa blog or is creating in an online magazine format, then the focus clearly needs to be on fast load times, readability (especially on small devices such as smartphones) and clean, concise usability. Consider using a minimalist user interface which does not distract users from the content they have come to your website to consume.content.

Take the time to make your site appealing to your visitors as well as projecting a credible brand and you are in a winning position all around.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Albee is the digital marketing director of ATS Design Group in Syracuse, New York. Paul and his team specialize in all aspects of online digital marketing including website design, SEO search engine optimization, social media marketing as well as print and advertising design. Headquartered in the heart of upstate New York, ATS Design Group serves clients across upstate New York and nationwide.

Blogging for Business: Why It’s Important

Business Blogging and It’s Importance to Your Website.

Syracuse NY WordPress Website Design CompanyI get asked all the time “Why does my company’s website need a blog?” Here’s the executive summary:

Every time you create a blog article or post, it’s another opportunity for you to yell at Google and say “Notice me!”  And when you get noticed by Google, that’s a good thing, right?  So it’s a new and fresh opportunity to show up in a Google search index and get noticed when somebody is search for what it is that you’re talking about… presumably something related to the products and services your company offers.

Let’s face it, your website is the first and most important asset in your digital marketing arsenal. It’s been a well-accepted truth that among the hundreds of factors Google thinks about when it’s ranking your website for search results, one of those indicators that you’re worth looking at is the number of pages on your website.  The average website only has a fixed number of pages.  Blogging (assuming you have a website design platform like WordPress that supports on-site blogging) is a great, easy and relatively painless way to increase those page counts.

Regular blogging is another way to tell Google that your website is active and that it should pay attention to it on a frequent basis to see what topics (search phrases) they are likely to find there.

Giving thoughtful consideration to your Blog article title, and doing a little judicious cross-linking to other pages on your website to help guide visitors to what you want them to see, and it all adds up to more opportunity for your website to show up in search engine results and bring traffic to your website from organic search results.

There are obviously some serious SEO benefits to blogging as well, but that’s a topic for another time.

Find out how to improve your blog to attract and retain customers.

via Get More Readers to Your Business Blog — WordPress.com News

SEO Considerations in Website Redesign

Syracuse website design company

Whether you’ve decided to redesign your current website or create a new website, it’s essential for SEO to be done on your website. Below are some of the most important optimization elements to make sure are being complete on your website.

During a website redesign, it is possible that your web page address, known as URLs, may change (even if you aren’t moving to a new domain). If not handled properly, this can result in a loss of individual page rankings, culminating in a loss of overall site visibility in search engines.

It is important that any pages that need to be redirected from an old address to a new one with a permanent 301 redirects are done. Often webmasters will skip implementing redirects for pages with minimal traffic. Having a menu or hyperlinks to pages that are not able to be found is not only frustrating to potential visitors but also to Google, and that can hurt your sites position and visibility in search results.

Ideally, you should contact your webmaster hosting each link pointing to your site and request for them to update the URL. If this is not attainable due to the number of links or webmaster inaccessibility, preserve your link juice by establishing 301 redirects that point old URLs to new ones.

A successful website design has many parts that need to be accounted for many of them you can check yourself to make sure they are done, and if not done you need to inform who does your SEO.

Crucial SEO Elements For a Website Redesign

Below is a list of the crucial elements that need to be done to your website:

  • Missing page titles
  • Duplicate page titles
  • Page titles over 55 characters
  • Missing H1 tags
  • Duplicate H1 tags
  • Missing meta descriptions
  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Meta descriptions over 150 characters
  • Broken internal/external links
  • Image alt text
  • XML sitemap
  • Duplicate content
  • Pages indexed by Google
  • Site speed and performance
  • URL structure

All these parts assist in Google and other search engines properly being able to see what is on your site and index it correctly. When all these things are done properly then Google’s website crawlers stand a much better chance of ranking your site higher than if your site is full of errors. Just browsing through your site page by page, you can often see what SEO was done or not. Giving your website this needed attention will help assure that your website if given the best possible chance to get ranked high enough in search engines for your customers to find you.

Commercial Photograpy: Getting Started

When you’re just starting out as a graphic designer, starting to build or expand your own web development marketing agency, or going into business for yourself as a freelance photographer and hoping to make your mark on the world by helping people through doing something you are enormously passionate about, there is a temptation to go out spend thousands of dollars on the best equipment you can buy with your credit card.

Clearly one of the most important lessons of balance in any new start-up business is that income must exceed expenses.  Unless you’ve got a lot of money put away or a very generous uncle or parents, for the first couple of years in business (and perhaps longer), every penny counts as you’re getting your feet on the ground, establishing your reputation and developing a strong, reliable client base.

Not Everyone Needs a Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Let’s take a step back and get a little perspective on the business aspects (as well as personal aspects) of purchasing cameras and photography equipment, whether you’re doing it for your new start-up or for serious pleasure. Hit the link below to read a great take on all this via “Not Everyone Needs a Leica.”

“If you’re just starting out, remember that every photographer was, at one point, just a person holding a magical box about which they knew absolutely nothing.” For budding photographers, a reminder that expensive gear will never replace passion and creativity.

via Not Everyone Needs a Leica — Discover

“To learn, we have to be social”: Talking Twitter and Teaching with Tressie McMillan Cottom


Professor of Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Blogger. Writer at Slate, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Dissent, and more. Faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard. Prolific tweeter. Black. Feminist. Brilliant.

Tressie McMillan Cottom writes about issues of race, class, economic inequality, and gender in a way that is deep and blunt, frustrated and hopeful, and above all, smart and challenging. I talked with her about Twitter and social change, the increasing role of the digital in our lives, and why stories will always be important.

tressie cottom headshot 2015 Browse Tressie’s archives at Slate, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and Dissent.

Follow Tressie on Twitter @tressiemcphd.

You’re a Twitter regular, commenting on current events, your work, your mom, the laughable expectations of people on House Hunters, and more. Does tweeting bleed back into your writing?

In many ways Twitter is…

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