Archive for April, 2016

A Day in the (Frustrating) Life of Search Engine Marketing Pros

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

marketing firmsWhen you work at one of the only marketing firms in Charleston that also offers comprehensive managed IT services, clients expect you to have some next-level insight into the tech world. And while you can spend years becoming an expert at onsite and offsite search engine optimization, so far no one has been allowed to peek behind the Google curtain, so to speak.

What we mean is that Google updates its search algorithms up to 600 times a year, which doesn’t even include massive updates like Google Penguin. Understandably, Google doesn’t want to make it too easy for black hatters and shady SEM firms to rig their rankings, which means many SEO and SEM marketing firms have been left in the dark to determine with different types of marketing strategies work best. Even the best internet marketing firms Charleston, SC has to offer have trouble predicting Google’s next big move, but over the years we’ve gotten pretty good at it.

So how do you stay ahead of the Google curve, and why does that matter? Over the last few decades, a number of companies have shifted their marketing away from outbound leads (which can have a close rate as low as 1.7%) and towards inbound marketing (which has an average close rate of 14.6%). And since inbound leads are 61% less expensive to generate in the digital age, SEO marketing has become a popular strategy for a variety of companies.

It’s easy to see why. When people are looking for new local businesses, services, or products, they use search engines like Google. And since analytics studies have consistently shown that three out of four users never scroll past the first page of results, lots of businesses are competing to get onto page one.

Over the past six months, perhaps the biggest change in the SEM industry has been news of Google’s latest Penguin update. Penguin updates change the way Google ranks the value of a link, and since building links is most SEM marketing firms main SEO strategy, Penguin updates can have a massive effect on the search world.

In October 2015, Google confidently predicted Penguin would be out by the end of the year. In January 2016, SEM experts were confidently predicting Penguin would be out “within weeks.” Come March, and Gary Illyes of Googleannounced he was so fed up with people asking about Penguin that he wouldn’t make any more updates on the launch date. Now it’s April, and we’re still waiting.

For Charleston marketing firms like ours that offer different types of marketing strategies online, success depends on anticipating these kinds of updates and responding proactively. For Penguin, that meant actively conducting toxic link audits and updating disavow files to get rid of harmful backlinks.

It’s just another day in the life of online marketing firms.

How To Relocate IT Infrastructure During an Office Move

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

business it consultingMost Fortune 500 companies started with a single office or even a couple of folding tables in a dusty garage. For many small businesses, upgrading to a larger space or opening a second location is proof that all that hard work is paying off, that the company is taking a significant step forward.

Moving offices has always been stressful. You have to manage all the logistics of the move itself without interrupting business and leaving customers out in the cold. And today, office relocation has taken on a new degree of difficulty now that most companies rely on complex Information Technology infrastructure. In addition to simple things like setting up new phone lines and broadband access, many companies have their own private servers and IT network, which has to be installed ASAP in the new location.

So how can you move your existing IT infrastructure without taking your business offline in the process? How do you deploy new hardware and software at the same time, while also taking care of the hundred other items on your Moving Day To-Do List?

A Short Guide To IT Relocation Services
Even if you already have your own team of in-house tech geniuses, IT relocation requires very specific experience. So how do you gain IT peace of mind during the big move?

Step 1. Site Visits
If you’re moving to a new office, then, of course, you’ve already checked out the new site top to bottom and inside out. However, our business IT consulting experts always review the blueprints to ensure proper placement of all cabling needs, like:

  • Broadband Internet cables
  • Phone systems
  • Electrical wiring and outlets
  • Wireless access points

Until you have a comprehensive overview of all these systems and more, it will be impossible to come up with a detailed IT relocation plan.

Step 2. Do You Need Professional Help?
If you’re already feeling lost, then don’t hesitate to call on business IT consulting experts. Our Charleston, SC IT consulting firm is often asked to provide IT relocation services, even when a company already has a computer support team of their own. Professional IT relocation services will know exactly how to research your new location and recommend the most optimal solutions for your IT and computer support needs. Then, they can help with the integration and installation of all your company’s onsite technology.

When you move to a new office, you can’t simply pack up your servers and computers in boxes and then turn them back on in the new space. You’ll need to design an entirely new network infrastructure based on the physical layout of the new location. Plus, the best business IT consulting firms can help minimize any network downtime, getting your company back online faster.

Step 3. the Design and Build Process
Once steps one and two are complete, our IT relocation experts use a “design and build” system. As described in step two, the design process involves drawing up a detailed blueprint for your new IT infrastructure needs. However, you’ll also need at least one technician on hand throughout the moving process. Moving almost always comes with unexpected surprises and annoyances, and without onsite technicians available for troubleshooting, all your best-laid plans can go awry.

Step 4. Update Network Security Management
Although we tend to imagine hackers as shadowy cybercriminals operating underground, fully 75-80% of cyber breaches come from within an organization. And businesses can be vulnerable during the relocation process.

Here’s a sobering fact: even the federal government has seen a 680% increase in cyber security breaches in the last six years — and those are just the ones we know about! The private sector is at risk too, with an estimated 57% of companies experiencing staff-related cyber breaches.

When you relocate or upgrade your IT infrastructure, take the opportunity to beef up your network security management. The best business IT consulting experts can also act as network security specialists. They can help tighten up security and put new safeguards in place to protect valuable company and customer data.

Ultimately, successful IT relocation depends on preparation.

Attention Charleston: How To Lower Your Marketing Costs in 2 Simple Steps

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

marketing firmsAre you an entrepreneur, nonprofit, small or new business in the Charleston area? Then we know how important it is for you to keep down your marketing costs. Businesses of all sizes face more pressures and costs than ever in 2016, whether you’re a large company with 1,000 employees or a new startup on the rise.

And in an age when consumers make 100 billion searches online every month, businesses also need to develop marketing strategies in the online world as well. That means that in addition to print, TV, social media and radio advertising, many businesses are now opting for Pay Per Click online ads as well. But since search engines are the number one driver of traffic to content-based sites, and since fully 75% of users never click past the first page of Google search results, most companies require a search engine optimization (SEO) marketing strategy as well.

If all of this sounds like too much for any new business to handle, then you aren’t wrong. So how can businesses cut marketing costs in 2016? Most Charleston marketing firms are looking for ways to get their clients to increase their marketing budget, not the other way around.

Fortunately, the best marketing firms Charleston has to offer understand that for businesses to thrive, they need to find ways to decrease marketing costs, not the other way around.

So how can you cut your new company’s marketing costs without sacrificing the effectiveness of your marketing, branding, and advertising strategies? It’s not as impossible as it sounds…

Step 1: Outsource Marketing To the Best Marketing Firms Charleston SC Has To Offer…
Rather than developing an in-house team of marketing experts, more and more companies are instead outsourcing their marketing to outside specialists. This is a particularly popular approach when it comes to digital marketing.

For services like local SEO and PPC campaigns, outsourcing marketing can be a highly effective way to decrease marketing costs in 2016. Not only will you free up your own time, but you can save the money it would cost to hire your own branding experts.

Step 2: Consolidate Your Vendors…
There’s no shortage of Charleston marketing firms that will be happy to devour your ad budget month after month. However, you can save money by outsourcing to a firm that also provides full service managed IT services.

In 2016, it no longer makes sense to find multiple vendors for web design, managed IT support services, and various types of marketing services like SEO and PPC. Instead, find a local company where you can outsource all of your digital needs under one roof.

Once you do, you can spend the time and money you save making sure your business keeps growing, and growing, and growing.