Category: Blog – Tech

Future Bright - How To Demonstrate Laser Focus

How To Copywrite Like A Pro And Show That You Are Laser Focused On Solutions

How To Demonstrate Laser Focus
And Show That You Have
The BEST Solution To
A Customer’s
Problem.

Visual Space

It happens fast. Less than a second. In a micro-second, your customer’s eyes land on your website and send a message to their brain, which then decides how it feels about you before even a single word is read. The famous copywriter Joseph Sugarman says that when trying to gain a new customer, first you need to create the right environment. You need to give your visitor the visual space they need to focus on your product, whether that is in an actual physical space, or purely online. After you have introduced yourself visually, if your potential customer feels good and they like what they see, the next part is easy. Well, o.k., I fibbed, it does take a bit of work, but not as much effort as it took to dream of, invent and refine your product! Don’t stop until you have completed this final important step of your product’s life span. As the creator of your product, you will need to write your own sales copy, until you don’t. Now, let’s start talking about how to write effective copy.

Once your visual cues have established who you are, you need a headline and copy that helps the visitor feel like you are speaking directly to them like I am doing right now. I am writing to you in my own voice, rather than a salesy voice, because I want you to know and feel that I am absolutely focused on getting copywriting skills into your toolbox because frankly, without the right copy, your brilliant idea is in danger of remaining just that…an idea. You know in your heart that what stands between you and the wild success of your idea is a very small collection of skillfully written words. You badly want to know what those words are. You want that lightbulb to go off and for those words to emerge, to experience a mind shift that takes you away from the same old copywriting ideas you have had to something new and exciting and fresh! What you will learn here, and as you continue your copywriting journey, is that even well-known successful copywriters agree that discovering those words requires a process every.single.time. The words that launch you into success will rarely just appear in your mind. You need to develop the skill of taking yourself to that mind shift! It is exhilarating, gives you passion about your idea all over again, and produces the best work! After going through that process, you will emerge with nearly perfect copy, but you will likely still need to further fine-tune it in real time with A/B/C/D testing until you get just the right combination of words. The most important step in this process of finding the right words to use is identifying one important thing about your product.

What special aspect of your product sets it apart from all others?

It isn’t a feature, or a detail, it is something almost like magic…an intangible aspect that makes your customer not just want the product, but want to get it from you, and you alone, and immediately.  A purchase is an emotional decision backed up by logic, Sugarman says.  Once you have discovered the “magic”, and have brought it to your customer’s attention, then you can start talking about the next very important step (justifying with logic). But first you need to go through a creative and sometimes agonizing process of finding that magic.

It Is There Somewhere

“The first job of an ad agency is to look at your product in every imaginable way:  frontwards, backwards, sideways, upside down, inside out.  Because somewhere, right there in the product itself, lies the drama that will sell it to people who want it.” ~Sugarman

If your audience has made it this far in your presentation, they are likely very curious, and something about you has resonated with them. If the environment that you created didn’t suit them and they have left, it is possible that they are not your ideal customer. It is also possible that your copy just needs reworking. I am running a heat map on this page. I can’t identify individual users, but I get a visual report that shows me how many visitors like you are reading just part of the article, or are scrolling down to the bottom where there is free access to some of the tools I use. By the time you are reading this, I have tweaked this copy many times in an effort to refine it and encourage you to read the entire article because it is full of information that will help you even in the last paragraph. You may have to try different wording to see if you get a better response. Of course most web pages you write will have just a few phrases with a simple call to action, and will not be a longer informative article like this one is. With the right wording, your ideal customer will recognize that you see certain things in the same way that they do, are offering something that is meaningful to them, and will want to continue on to learn more.

Your Unbeatable Solution

It is a bit of a no-no to talk about yourself in your copy, but I want to illustrate for you the thinking that led to what I feel is Future Bright’s magic so that it can inspire your own discovery. Please forgive me for a moment as I turn your attention to Future Bright. There are literally tens of thousands of web design and development shops around the world. Each has its own specialty and style. They all produce the same thing…websites. What is different about us?

My style of service includes empowerment, beauty, and function. I have always had the goal of making sure that my clients feel more confident about their web presence than they ever have before, and that they have at least a surface understanding of how the amazing, gorgeous lead generating system that we have built for them works so that it becomes an engine for their sales. I want them to feel like it is easy.

We don’t just build websites, we build the entire social structure around the website. We put in place beautiful social media profiles and ads that lead visitors to our client’s website, where the visitor becomes engrossed in their brand, opts-in to continue learning more, and then makes a purchase or reaches out to begin the relationship. If the customer needs time to think about it and leaves without an engagement, no worries, we can remind them to come back later with targeted ads that appear on their social feeds. We build robust lead generating systems that incorporate touchpoints from across the entire social media and web based landscape.

Websites are often pretty but not very functional, or functional but not very pretty. Because I have a Master of Science degree in Tech Management, and an undergraduate degree that combines fine arts, computer science, and business, what we can offer our clients that other shops can’t is both beauty and function. We create absolutely gorgeous websites that have powerful systems behind them. That combination is our magic, what Sugarman calls the “drama”, our superpower.  As Sugarman says, you need to look at your product or service from every direction and identify what is truly unique about it. This helps you further identify who your target audience is, so that you can write directly to them.
O.k. now, on to discuss that next important thing! Logical reasoning.

Justify With Logic

Once your customer is confident that you are laser focused on solving their problem because you created an environment that put them at ease and have shown the magic of your product or service, they may really want to do business with you but still need to justify the purchase in their mind with some logical reasoning. What are logical reasons to buy your product or offering?

Natural Objections

It helps to know at this point the objections a customer might have to buying your product and to make some assurances. Our brains are constantly telling us “no”. It could be cost, or timing, or they need to talk it over with their partner. Maybe they are afraid they will break your product as they are walking out the door. These are all completely valid concerns. Addressing those objections will further reassure them that you have carefully considered their needs with a great deal of integrity.

For example: our prices are not cheap. You can find many designers and developers who charge less. You can also find those who charge a lot more. Some of our clients are sensitive to cost. To balance cost with design and features, we offer custom packages for our clients. This fits my core belief that the future is bright, like my business name states (Future Bright), even if you are just taking baby steps.

Other clients are concerned about the handling of their visual brand and the complexities of managing a digital presence…they want their brand to look amazing, and they also want to offer their customers the best possible experience. When you are using the most current features on your web presence, you are showing that the experience of your customer matters to you. That you value being up to date, and are paying attention to modern trends. Managing a complex digital marketing system can feel overwhelming. When you look at our portfolio you see our style: clean, modern, engaged. We want our work to show that our clients absolutely love what they do and are creative problem solvers. We talk a lot with our clients about the systems behind the beauty, and we absolutely make it incredibly simple. A simpler system will result in clearer messaging, and lots of time (expense) saved.

Having an eye for style plus the experience (two decades) to look backwards and plan forwards with digital gives us a huge advantage. We reassure our clients that hiring us now will save them a great deal of expense and lost time in the long-run. We can move quickly through to a finish, and the designs we create last for years because the imagery can easily be changed as visual styles change. It is a good investment. Working with us means that our customer will save time, save money, and their brand will look amazing, so they will as a result feel amazing, happy, and confident, which can have a positive affect on all other areas of your life.

When you have addressed the objections of your audience and put reassurances in place, you have now paved the way for them to make the logical arguments with themselves to change their inner no to a “yes”. Now, how do you put all of this together for your own digital presence? Or put it all into one powerful headline?

Time Has Measurable Value

Most people believe that given the time and tools, they could learn how to create or do anything, and that is absolutely true. The world is full of products that could be made by anyone given the right circumstance. But time is fixed. We can’t squeeze another minute from a day, or month from a year, and no one has a garage big enough to hold all of the tools needed to make all of the gadgets they desire.

I made this for you!

Every single product or service has a message from its creator, “I made this for you so you can do other things that you enjoy or need to focus on”. The same is definitely true for building a digital brand and presence. It is also true of what you are doing for your own customers.

You can certainly take the information I have shared with you here and flush out a journey for your customer that includes visual space, your magic, logical reasoning and assurances.  You can read Joseph Sugarman and as many books on the subject as you can find. In fact, I highly recommend reading multiple books about copywriting, as each author will have a different style and perspective. One will resonate with your own voice. That is what I did, because I wanted to master words to go along with the beauty and tech that we build. I like Sugarman because he and I are similar people, with very diverse interests and skills. His voice is optimistic, he believes his customers are intelligent, and he gets excited about new ideas and technology. Rather than using trickery and manipulation to get a sale, he enjoys empowering his audience with the information they need to make an informed decision. I like to give you enough information to go off and do something yourself if you are so inclined.

You already know from reading above that I am systems oriented, so you probably can imagine that I have to come up with a system or method for writing copy. I tore through all of the copywriting books and marketing books and courses I could get my hands on, and have put together a process for writing great copy. I would love to share it with you.

Get Help! And Books!

If you would like to put your copywriting woes behind you, getting started is really easy!
It requires a bit of training, a process, and practice. Many people have been in the place where you are right now, realizing that you need to learn to write sales copy. I certainly was! It helps to have someone show you where to start, even if it is just baby steps.

Get My Tools!

It was very challenging to shorten this article, because there is so much more information to give you. Very importantly is creating that process that works for you. I have a worksheet that I created for myself that I print out and use for each article or campaign that I write for myself or a client. That worksheet represents thousands of dollars in training and courses, and dozens of hours of reading and testing. When you are ready, I would very much like to share that worksheet with you. First I would like to learn a bit more about you and your product or service! It costs absolutely nothing to click the button below and fill out a form to tell me about your business and product and copywriting journey. In exchange, I will send you links to three books that you MUST own and refer to continuously, plus a fun headline writing tool. I will be reading each submission carefully and responding with my thoughts. Your response will help me help you and other businesses in your shoes. Your responses are extremely valuable. I look forward very much to hearing from you, and sending you what you need to get started on your successful copywriting journey!

Future Bright - Wendy Louise Nog

-Wendy Louise Nog, Founder

Content Marketing Strategy In The North Bay

Content Marketing Strategy – 5 Keyword Tricks For Content Marketing Bliss!

Content Marketing Inspired By Search Engine Optimization In The North Bay

~by Millicent Skiles

Having a strong Content Marketing Strategy in Marin or the North Bay is just as important as if you have a national brand and audience. Content Marketing is now critical to establishing a vibrant digital presence for your business. A beautiful website is a powerful tool, but providing quality content is what drives traffic to it.

Used strategically, content paves the way to a sale by creating and distributing relevant and interesting messages that attract a target audience. This content usually takes the form of text, imagery, audio, or video and can be found on websites, blogs, and social-sharing platforms.

Tucked inside this content are keywords commonly used by people when they search a particular subject. And that’s where Content SEO (search engine optimization) comes into play. Technical SEO is important, but this year your content will be in the spotlight!  You need to optimize your content for search engines because that means you are optimizing your content for people. When you are looking for Search Engine Optimization in the North Bay or Bay Area, be sure that your provider has an accompanying process for Content Marketing.

Future Bright

Algorithms Are A Reflection Of What People Are Searching For

Understanding how keywords are used provides valuable market research into the minds of customers. What are they looking for specifically? What keywords are they using?  

Search engines like Google or Bing use algorithms to rank web pages based on the keywords people use the most. These evolve constantly, so it pays to check them regularly. It is, after all, people’s search behavior that defines these algorithms.  Google looks at your content and your business location to match you with people doing searches nearby.

Two Types Of Keywords

There are two types of keywords to consider when developing a Content Management Strategy. 

Short Tail Keywords

Short-tail keywords contain no more than three words and tend to be broad, such as “baby food.” 

Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are combinations of four or more words that people might use to narrow the focus of their search, like “baby food recipes for 8-month-old vegan.” 

A good Content Management Strategy pays attention to both short- and long-tail keywords. Tailoring content to what people want is more likely to be read – and shared – and this will rank it higher in future searches.

Five Tricks For Finding Good Keywords

So, if keywords are so important to a Content Marketing Strategy, where do you find them? Here are five places to start: 

  1. Wikipedia ~ If you type “baby food” into Wikipedia’s search bar and scroll down to the table of contents, you’ll see a list of topics that include “picky eater” and “nutritional needs.” These topics are recognized by industry experts as highly important and can be mined for keywords. Be sure to check out the “see also” section, which provides a wealth of other related topics to explore.
  2. Keyword Search Suggestions ~ Conduct a search on Google, Bing, or YouTube and you’ll notice a drop-down menu suggesting popular search-phrase combinations. Type in “baby food,” for example, and “baby food recipes” and “baby food delivery” pop up. This tells you what’s important to people. While you’re there, take note of web pages that earned the highest rank. Study the first 100 words of this content to learn the keywords they’re using.
  3. Reviews of Products and Services ~ Customer reviews do more than make you look good (or bad.) As readers discuss a product, they will include specific keywords. Take note of this. While you’re at it, check out the reviews on your competitor’s website. This is an especially good way to find long-tail keywords, which can help identify niche audiences. Including these reviews on your social-media platforms can also improve your ranking, as Google recognizes social sharing.
  4. Google Keyword Planner (advanced) ~ Google’s free Keyword Planner is meant to drive Google’s ad sales, but it is highly worth investigating. This tool refreshes daily and can introduce new keywords related to your business. It ranks the effectiveness of keywords (low, medium and high) according to competitive ad placement, which can give clues to what customers are attracted to.
  5. Keyword Planning Tools – Free And Paid ~  There is a wide range of available tools that will help you identify keywords including short and long-tail.

By this point, you probably have a hefty list of keywords, and this is a good starting point. But as SEO expert Neil Patel points out, “There is no such thing as SEO without content. You need words, articles, substance, keywords, verbiage.”

How To Turn Keywords Into Content

This is where the art of SEO informs your Content Marketing Strategy. While you want to sprinkle essential keywords throughout your content, the trick is to do so naturally, without resembling a sales pitch. 

Good, relevant content engages, informs, and even entertains customers. Quality content earns a customer’s trust and establishes you as an authority. And that, in turn, encourages customers to do business with you.  In our keyword research for this article, we learned through discussions on Reddit (another great source for finding relevant keywords) on the topic of Content Marketing that people are searching for a process for developing good content.  For this reason, we have created a free checklist to help you get started.

Elsie Green Table

This Article Is An Example Of Long Tail Keyword Use

If you do a Google search for “Content Marketing Strategy” you will likely see 4-5 ads (they are paying $27 per click), and the top listings may be Hubspot, SEMRush, Neil Patel, and other top content providers.  We can’t compete with that.  But if you do a search for “Content Marketing Strategy In Marin” there is very little competition.  This works well since most of our clients are in or around Marin County, and we love supporting our local businesses!  It can take two weeks for Google to start showing your content in search results, so while you wait for them to catch up, you should be promoting your content on all of your other platforms.

When crafting content, strive to include your keyword(s) within the first 100 words. This will give it more weight in the algorithms. To ensure you’re sufficiently hitting the keywords, run your content through an online service that will scan text and create a word cloud highlighting your most frequently used keywords.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the keyword and SEO strategy, just remember that your customers want to hear a real voice. Be authentic, be real, and remember that your customer is a human being, not an algorithm.

Millicent Skiles - Content Marketing Specialist

Millicent Skiles
Content Writer & Editor

415-235-1205

millicentskiles.com

Future Bright Wendy & Stephanie

What Is The Purpose Of Facebook Business Manager

The Purpose Of Facebook Business Manager And How To Use It

What Is The Purpose Of Facebook Business Manager

Are you going crazy trying to figure out the difference between Facebook Business Manager and Facebook Business Suite?

The purpose of Business Manager is to act as a CONTAINER for Facebook assets and manage users for the container.  It is possible to give users access to a Business Manager container without first “friending” them.

What Are Assets?

First let’s define assets.  A Facebook asset, for the purpose of this article, and using Facebook terminology, is one of the following:

  1. A Business Page
  2. An Instagram Account
  3. An Ad Manager Account

Three Ways To Give Users Access To Facebook Assets

Method 1

Individual Access

User access is given to assets one at a time.  No Business Manager Accounts.

Facebook Business Manager Method 1
Method 2

Agency/Large Portfolio

Assets for all brands are placed in one large Business Manager Account.

Facebook Business Manager Method 2
Method 3

Brand Managers

Business Manager accounts are created for each individual brand.

Facebook Business Manager Method 3

What Business Owners Should Do – Use Method 3

If you are an individual business owner, plan to be very active on Facebook and Instagram, and will have someone on your team or an external vendor assisting you with your Facebook and/or Instagram, you will want to create a Facebook Business Manager account.  You will need to create your own Business Manager account.  Your vendor should not do that for you.  Once created, give your vendor access to your Business Manager account.  It will be one of several managed by your vendor, as illustrated in Method 3.  You will place your Facebook Business Page, Instagram Account, and Ad Manager inside of that Business Manager container.  In most cases, if you are a small business, it is important to not allow anyone to put your assets in their Business Manager account, as you will not be able to get your assets back without the vendor releasing it.

What Agencies Should Do – Use Method 2 or 3

Typically an agency has clients with a wide range of technical expertise and ability.  Because a client needs to set up their own Business Manager account, you will need to decide if it is possible to walk them through that, or if it makes more sense to just take their assets under your wing.  You also may have contracts in place that relieve any concern for the client if you take on their assets.  Each client situation will be unique, and you may end up with a mixture of all three methods.

Facebook Business Suite – Yet Another View

Facebook Business Suite is yet another way to view assets that you have been given admin or editorial access to.  Instead assets being grouped by business, you view them by Business Page.   It is a much more visual interface, and it may have been created to assist with gaining an overview that includes Instagram activity.  Facebook may unexpectedly start forwarding you to Facebook Business Suite when you try to go to Facebook Business manager.

Facebook Business Manager Home Screen

Facebook Business Suite Home Screen

How To Switch Between
Facebook Business Manager & Facebook Business Suite

If you need to switch from one to the other, below is a screenshot showing how to do that.

Switch From Facebook Business Manager To Business Suite

App Grid > Mange Business:  Business Suite

Switch From Business Manager To Business Suite

Switch From Facebook Business Suite To Facebook Business Manager

Give Feedback > Switch To Business Manager

Facebook Creator Studio

Facebook Creator Studio allows you to view assets by Business Page, and then upload and schedule posts and ads.  You can also view engagement stats.

Future Bright How To Start An Online Business

Start Selling Online – Fast and Low Cost – Wendy’s Recommendations

Start Selling Online Fast

Time Needed:  3-5 hours – tasks can be completed at any time of day.

This page will tell you exactly how to quickly start an online business. On April 8, 2020, the New York Times wrote an article titled, Tiny E-Merchants May Be Huge For Local Economies.  Small e-commerce businesses pull cash into local economies, and may be key to the recovery that can begin now when you start or move your business online.  Your idea, product, or service is CRITICAL to your local economy’s repair, so go for it!  You should do the steps in this exact order.

Instructions:  Follow the below steps, and record your account and other information in the document provided below by clicking on the red button “Get The Checklist”.  If you are unable to print, record your information in a notebook following the format in the document.  Take a photograph of your pages in case you lose the notebook.

Dear You,

I believe that the world needs your ideas, and that the small businesses that emerge from solutions like yours will rebuild our economy.

All my love,

Wendy Louise Nog, Founder
Future Bright Digital
wendy@futurebrightdigital.com
415-275-0970

Recommended Mobile Apps:

WordSwag – adds text to images

iMovie – can crop video & add sound

MixCaptions – adds captions to video

Recommended Tools:

Zoom – Video Conferencing

THE STEPS

1. Choose A Business Name, Register A Domain Name – $20

  • GoDaddy – do not purchase anything else no matter how hard they try to sell it to you

2. Create All Three Core Payment Accounts – Free to set up

Note:  If you do not have a Tax ID for your business, use your personal social security number and bank account until you do.  Set up is free. They will take a 2-3% chunk of each sale.

3.  Products & Prices – Identify just a few – start small

  • Product Name
  • Problem Product Solves
  • Product Description
  • How To use
  • Price

4.  Write your Content:  Images & Text

Don’t spend more than an hour working on this content.  You can always change it later.

  • Images:  A logo is good to have but can come later
  • Images:  Select a main image to use on social media profiles
  • Images:  Select one or more images for each product.  Start with just a few products.
  • Identify Keywords & Phrases:  What will people be searching for when they find you?*
  • Paragraph About Your Business:  Describe Your Products Generally In One Paragraph:  What problem do they solve and how your products make people feel.
  • Paragraph About You:  What inspired you to create this product?   Tell your story in one or two paragraphs

5.  Create A MailChimp Account – Free up to 2000 subscribers

Mailchimp will be used to collect email addresses of people who want to hear from you.  You will be able to send out newsletters, special offers, and more!

6.  Create the following Social Profiles – Free

7. Create An Online Store (Website)

Be sure to add links to your social media profiles and connect your MailChimp account to the platform.

  • Shopify – for manufactured products like bags, clothing – $30/month
  • Etsy – For items made by hand by you – about $.20 per product listing
  • Square – Not Pretty But Functional Website – Free
  • BentoBox – For food & restaurants – $79-$150 – Call Future Bright For Deal
  • Wix Store – sell anything – $30/month
  • Teachable – Online Courses – $29/month
  • Affiliate (sell other people’s products)  Free WordPress.com site*
  • DO NOT use GoDaddy website builder

*To create an affiliate site, you sign up with affiliate programs, and then put links that are made for you onto your website.  You do not need to take payment, the businesses who provide the links for you will handle all transactions.

You Can Start Selling!

8.  Promote your product(s)

  • Share to your personal Facebook/Instagram pages – Free
  • Share on Facebook/Instagram business pages – Free
  • Facebook Ads – Can spend $20+
  • Google Ads – Wide range from $20-$10,000/month

Note:  Manage Your Reviews

Testimonials and reviews are an important part of the customer journey.  It is important that you respond to reviews, and encourage ongoing dialog between yourself and your customers. The below platforms are the main hosts of reviews used by customers:

  • Yelp
  • Google My Business

**Information About Keywords & Phrases

Your content should be written with this in mind:  searches people make on search engines generally fall into three main categories:  Informational (just looking for info), Navigational (trying to find a specific entity or place), Transactional (ready to buy).  To boost your ranking, you should identify key phrases used in those three categories where your business could appear, and then incorporate them into your content.

Example Business:  Ceramic Baking Dish Maker

Informational Search:  “Best apples to use in apple pie”

Navigational Search:  “Baking Tools Store Nearby”

Transactional Search:  “Apple Pie Pan”

Wendy Plan For Pandemic

Plan for enduring the COVID-19 Pandemic

A plan and a timeline.

If you are like me, you need a plan.  I felt so confused and uncertain about even how each day would end until I sat down and marked out a timeline for the virus to run its course.  There are many unknowns, but there are enough knowns to create a general outline.  I recorded a video explaining that plan, and a printable document for you to hang on your wall, share with your children, and use as a guide during this very disorienting time.

Print The Timeline

Probable timeline for the covid-19 pandemic

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND OTHERS

Each day new information emerges about this virus.  It is now believed to be airborne, and also that you can be a carrier and have no idea or symptoms.   It is critical that you wear a protective covering over your nose and mouth.  This may protect you from getting sick, but most importantly, if you are sick and do not know it, will protect others.

  • wear some sort of face covering/ mask at all times when out, to prevent yourself from touching your face, and at home if someone is sick,
  • sanitize and wash your hands obsessively and multiple times while out, after touching anything, anyone and before entering your home, and while you are at home because soap destroys a virus,
  • sanitize objects that you bring into your home, and
  • stay six feet away from everyone outside of your home.
  • watch my video on how to shop safely.

Source:  Dr. David Price, a critical care pulmonologist caring for COVID-19 patients -Weill Cornell Hospital.  He explains how not to get sick, what to do if you are sick, and how to protect yourself and family if a house member is sick.  Watch The Video.

RESOURCES:

U . S. Government COVID – 19 Response Plan
Spread and Seasonality for COVID-19
CDC – Cases in the US
Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team Report

HuffPost – When Will Life Return to Normal? The Answer From Europe Is Emerging

We Will Rise

How To Not Get Sick – And What To Do If You Are

Theme Song

Predicted Infection Rate In The US

Corona Virus Chart
Chart Source: Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team – New York Times
Fabrique De Lices

The 2020 TEDx New Year Community Gathering

Fabrique Delices – French Artisanal CHARCUTERIE  fabriquedelices.com/

Our favorite table – duck prosciutto?  Yes, totally insane…ly delicious!

A festival of solutions!

As it is each year, there was an incredibly wide range of businesses showcasing their products and services.  It is just amazing to me how creative the human mind is, and to see the investment of time and energy that people put into their passions.  Participating businesses ranged from mini-homes to zero waste school products. This was a showcase of solutions.  Here are a few of my favorite booths!

Future Bright - Wendy Louise Nog
Wendy Louise Nog - Future Bright Founder, Digital Strategist

No Chocolate?!?

After recovering from the initial shock of learning that there was not a table that had chocolate,  we headed for the wine counter to order a glass of wine, and we began to explore the tables at the 2020 TedX Marin New Year Community Gathering.  We look for cool logos, delicious foods, and interesting products or services.

Wisdom Supply Co. – Zero Waste School Supplies

The emotional response that I had to this company struck me, and the phrase that kept going through my head is “we need to give kids these solutions.  They want these solutions.  They need them.”  I have three kids in school, and they are all learning about the utter wasteland humans have made of the planet.  They are motivated to do something!  Plastics became available for every-day use just since WWII, and in one generation’s time they have spread to the entire planet’s ecosystem, now overtaking the mass of fish in the oceans.  The Baby Boomer and Gen X generation have experienced complete domination of plastics in every facet of life.  We need to give the next generation an alternative.  They want an alternative!  Wisdom Supply Co. has developed a line of products that are either compostable, recyclable, or refillable.  I absolutely love their logo, and it emulates simplicity. To learn more about these products and find out how you can get them into your schools, visit them at www.wisdomsupplyco.com/.

Herbologie Teas and Nutraceuticals

There is something about the aroma of fresh ginger and turmeric that draws you in.  It’s as though you instinctively know that your body will be nourished by these ancient roots.  Herbologie Teas and Nutraceuticals are created by Monika Kathuria Tournis, who hosted the table.  She knows her stuff, and has been working with plants for 20+ years.  We love her logo!  To learn more about Herbologie you can visit their website at:  www.herbologieteas.com/

BACKYARD BUNGALOWS

Housing in the North Bay, and the Bay Area in general is needed badly.  With the loss of homes due to the fires adding to the shortage of housing, and an aging population that wants to stay put, building contractors are providing unique and creative solutions.  Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) are a way to increase the value of your home, and can provide rental income.  One company, Backyard Bungalows, is building these tiny homes and small structures to be modern and beautiful!  The Backyard Bungalows table was hosted by Melanie Cheng, who graciously explained what they do.  The company was founded by Barry Price, who moved from building large homes, to specializing in backyard bungalows in Marin County and the North Bay.  You can learn more and see their really beautiful portfolio of bungalows by visiting them at www.backyard-bungalows.net/  or call them directly at 415-971-3710.

My Favorite Packaging – Cult Cracker

Other Logos Of Note

Golden Touchpoints - 16 Most Important Touchpoints For Sales

The Golden Touchpoints – 5 Most Important Touchpoints In The Customer Journey

21

TOUCHPOINTS
FOR A SALE!

Golden Touchpoints - 16 Most Important Touchpoints For Sales

21 Touchpoints Now Needed Before A Sale!

How Can It Be Possible To Manage Them All?

Before diving into this subject let me take some weight off of your shoulders with one word:  automation.  If you are responsible for bringing in business, your day-to-day marketing tasks should be limited to just the few touchpoints that ONLY YOU can do.  Everything else should be automated or delegated.  O.k., let’s go!

I heard recently that it now can take 21 touchpoints in the customer journey before a purchase.  This is due to the incredible speed of information turnover that we are exposed to every day through social media.  When I heard this number it seemed astonishing and impossible to achieve so  I sat down to create a list.  The list grew to 43 common touchpoints!  And there are certainly more.

Of these 43 however, not all are created equal.   The touchpoints every business must have in place and kept current whether you want to or not are in the chart below.   Most of these touchpoints can be automated, preset, or delegated.  The touchpoints highlighted by the blue blob are the Golden Touchpoints – those that you should handle yourself, or delegate only to someone very close to the voice of your business.  The Golden Touchpoints may vary slightly by organization, and we help businesses identify theirs so that they stop wasting time and money focusing on touchpoints that should just be handed to someone else.

Future Bright - Wendy Louise Nog
Wendy Louise Nog - Future Bright Founder, Digital Strategist

How They Work

Here is a quick summary of how these Golden Touchpoints work together.

  1. Your physical presence and marketing materials are distributed
  2. Content & stories are shared throughout your entire digital presence.
  3. Online Profiles lead the audience back to your website or product page.
  4. Your audience connects with you via call, email, chat, Contact Form, or Opt-In.
  5. Nurture those potential customers through calls, emails, providing value.
  6. They say yes!  You have a new customer!
  7. Follow a delivery/service process designed to care for your new customer.
  8. Give your customer an opportunity to review you.
  9. Respond to their review and feedback.
  10. Stay in contact with them and continue to provide value.
  11. Repeat!
The Golden Touchpoints
You may have many of these in place already.  You need to ensure not only that each item is carefully crafted, but also that they are all working together and speaking in the same voice.  This can be done through automation and the implementation of tools that will keep these touchpoints running while you practice your craft.  Implementing automation and also delegating tasks will give you time to tend to the most important touchpoints that only you can address such as  in-person calls and attending meetings, and events.

When you add to the number of touchpoints in your sales efforts, and stay consistent with your voice and brand at every point, you will experience a loyal customer base and increased engagement.

We want to be a part of your success.  We are offering a “Golden Touchpoints” Ultimate Package in which we ensure these important elements are in place and working on a monthly basis.  You can sign up for a two-hour consultation, or a full day intensive workshop.  Click here to learn more!

Sales Touchpoint Automation Tools & Partners

  • CRM such as Simplero, Salesforce, GitHub
  • Email Marketing Tools such as MailChimp
  • Online Payments Processing/Invoicing
  • Website Maintenance Partner
  • Reviews Management Partner
  • Social Content Management Partner
  • Content Creator Partner (Copywriter)

Full List Of Common Touchpoints

Golden Touchpoint
1 Advertising ePublication Ad
2 Advertising X Facebook Ad
3 Advertising X Google Ad
4 Advertising Online Membership Ad
5 Call X Phone Call
6 Collateral Brochure
7 Collateral Bulletin Board / Roadside
8 Collateral Business Card
9 Collateral Car/Bus Sign
10 Collateral Printed Bag
11 Collateral Printed Pen
12 Email X Auto Responder
13 Email X eNewsletter
14 Email X Personalized Email
15 Email Video Voicemail
16 Event Booth at an event
17 Event Event Attended
18 Event Speak at an event
19 Event Sponsoring Event/Team, etc.
20 Mail Mailer
21 Meeting Group Meeting/MeetUp
22 Meeting One-To-One Meeting
23 People Face To Face Meeting
24 People
Friend/Family Recommendation
25 People X Referral/Testimonial From Client
26 Publication Local Paper/Magazine Ad
27 Search Results “Best Of” Article Appearance
28 Search X Search Engine Results
29 Social X Facebook Post
30 Social Influencer Mention
31 Social Instagram Image
32 Social X LinkedIn Share/Post
33 Social X Online Review
34 Store Drive By Storefront
35 Store
Visit Store/See product on shelf
36 Video X Video Somewhere
37 Website Website Home Page
38 Website Website Portfolio
39 Website X Website Product Page
40 Website Website Survey
41 Website X Website Opt-In Form
42 Website X Website Contact Form
43 Website Website Chat
How To Make Your WordPress Website Insanely Fast

How To Make Your WordPress Website Load Insanely Fast

Updated Winter 2019

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Website Is Slow

  1.  Images are too large
  2.  Code is not compressed
  3.  Code, Javascript or plug-in errors
  4.  Site is not cached
  5.  Server is slow

Other less obvious reasons:

  • Your domain has an https redirect
  • Another site on your shared server is being attacked
  • Too many elements on your site are trying to load at the same time
  • PHP version does not match the WordPress, Theme, or plug-in version
How To Make A Wordpress Site Insanely Fast

Website Speed Tests:

Following are the site speed tests that we use.  Test results will vary vastly depending upon how busy your server is, and many other factors.  Try at different times during the day to learn more about what your visitors experience.  We try to keep a site fully rendering in under 2 seconds.  Under one second is the magic number!

Pingdom:
tools.pingdom.com/

Google:
developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Dot Com Tools:
www.dotcom-tools.com/website-speed-test.aspx

GT Metrix:

gtmetrix.com/

How To Make Your WordPress Website Insanely Fast

  1. Reduce Your Image Sizes
  2. Asset Optimization through GZIP, compression, &  minify (theme, images, scripts, and files)
  3. Implement Browser Caching
  4. Configure Your Hosting & Server Optimally
  5. Utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  6. Use Cloudflare

The Details

Following are more details about the above items.  It can take 5-8 hours to implement all of these, including testing, so consider that in your cost estimates so that you can weigh cost/benefits.  It is especially important to move carefully if you are working on a live site.

Select A Good Theme – Or Build Your Own

We primarily use a WordPress theme called Patti.  We have chosen Patti because it is simple, clean, and has beautiful 20/40/60 spacing.  We specialize in creating visually stunning websites, so we needed a starting theme that felt free, airy, modern, and that is highly flexible.  We found all of these in Patti, which also allows you to use custom short-codes.  We speed test the demo version of every theme we consider.  The demo must load in under 2 seconds.  Every theme has its pros and cons.  Because we use lots of huge images, if our score on Google’s Page Speed Insights is in the green, we are happy!

Server Optimization – Your Host Provider Can Perform These Tasks

  • Choose a host that is known for being fast.
  • Have your host “Set my PHP Max Input Vars to 1540”
  • Ensure that Gzip is enabled on your server
  • If Needed, host your website on a dedicated Server (is more expensive, around $100/month)

Asset Optimization & Browser Caching Plugins

Font Optimization

If you are using Google or other custom fonts, your site can render a default font first, and then the custom or Google font.  Use the CSS below.  Note of caution:  the user will observe the transition, so if design is important to you, this may not be an option.  You can find other options at:  FONT OPTIMIZATION

/**draw text then swaps when font loads**/
body{ font-display: swap;}

WordPress Plugins

We utilize the following plugins to achieve asset optimization and caching.  I will not go over all of the settings because you will need to play around with the options based upon your particular site.  If you are working on a live site, continuously check the site to ensure that any features you have implemented have not broken your site.  Specifically, minifying CSS and Javascript can cause issues.  If your site is not WordPress, look for added widgets or features, or what ever your platform offers, for the below functionality.

WPMU – Smush

  • Compresses Images
  • Reduces all images to a maximum size that you set.  No accidental 6MB file sizes!

WPMU Hummingbird Pro

  • Analyzer
  • Weekly Report Email
  • Caching
  • Gzip
  • Asset Compressing(minify – may break your theme, use carefully)
  • Tools:  WPMU Dev CDN for JavaScript and CSS files

WP Disable – Optimization.io

  • Heartbeat at 60 or above (https://www.siteground.com/tutorials/wordpress/limit-heartbeat/)
  • Removes Bloat
  • Database Clean-Up
  • Offload Google Analytics (not always done)

Swift Performance Lite

  • Speed Booster
  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content (doesn’t always work)
  • Leverage browser caching
  • CDN Optional

WP Rocket Can take your site from 40 to 80 just by activating it.

  • A powerful, paid alternative to Swift (my other favorite), Super & W3 Total
  • Easy Activation
  • Minification
  • Caching
  • Image Load As Needed
  • Caches your site

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Many of the above plugins include CDN’s.  They also offer storing CSS and scripts off site.  We do not use those, only because it becomes challenging to keep track of everything that is going on with a site.  We simply use one CDN for the entire site.  A CDN creates copies of your site throughout the world.  Your site is then served to a user from the location that is closest to them.  Because the site is a completely cached copy, delivery can be very fast.  If you have having speed issues due to your SSL Certificate (in speed tests your domain name takes a long time to load), a CDN may resolve this issue.

There are many CDN’s to choose from.  We utilize Cloudflare.

Website Hosting Service

As hosting providers grow, their servers tend to slow.  We now steer clients away from BlueHost and GoDaddy.   If you are not in need of an enterprise-level hosting platform, there are several providers that we can recommend.

  1.  Site Ground – in our testing, an identical page loaded in 945 ms on Site Ground, and 1.6 on WPEngine.
  2. WPEngine – We started out with our agency account at BlueHost, but left due to down-time, then moved to a local partner who managed our servers at MediaTemple, but again left because of down-time issues and speed.  We are now settled in at WP Engine because of all that they offer.  We like having a managed wordpress account because the back-ups, PHP updates and WordPress updates are all taken care of. This is a big time saver, and a cost saver definitely for the client. WP Engine also caches each website, has free SSL certificates, and also a CDN.

 CONCLUSION

Sometimes finding that one thing that is slowing a site down feels like searching for a needle in a haystack.  If you go through the above list and implement them all, and you are still having issues, it may be worthwhile to hire fresh eyes to take a look.  Sometimes someone who isn’t familiar with your site can spot things that you overlook because you have looked at your site a million times.  I hope that you find this list beneficial.  Of course every website is different, and you may use only some of these options.  I wish you speed!

–Wendy Louise Nog, MSTM, Founder of Future Bright

WIN ARTISAN CHOCOLATE!

How SEO and Social Media Work Together

What’s More Important? SEO or Social Media?

Social Media brings instant, short-term traffic.  SEO is more long-term and will establish your position in search rankings for the long-term.

It takes weeks, even months, for SEO adjustments to your website to be reflected in search results.  Social Media on the other hand can be used to immediately drive traffic to your website.  Once a visitor arrives at your site, if you have an engaging interface that encourages visitors to explore additional pages, they will click through your website.  This engagement demonstrates to Google that your content is relevant to a particular type of visitor and search.  Google takes note and boosts your ranking for those types of searches and visitors.  For this reason, it is important to consider social media and SEO as working together.

Fact:  Social Media can bring instant traffic, but if you stop posting, traffic stops.  SEO takes longer to increase traffic but also sustains traffic longer.

What Is A Better Investment:
Social Media or SEO?

New Business:  If you are a new business with limited funds and you need to generate revenue in order to move forward, use Social Media to drive traffic to your site for sales.  Using that revenue, then invest in an SEO strategy that works with your Social Media profiles for long-term growth.

Established Business:  If you are a more established business, invest in a full assessment of your web presence.  Use SEO best practices on your existing website and social media platforms.  Utilize social media campaigns to drive traffic back to your site, and then monitor engagement, making changes to your site content as needed over time.

Our Method

Our method typically entails first ensuring that a website is using all of the best practices for SEO such as using key words, key phrases, meta tags and image alt tags, fast site speed & SSL.  Put simply, we get your house ready for visitors.  Then we use Social Media to drive traffic to your site, which, as mentioned above, is faster than getting SEO results.  We use heat maps & analytics to see how visitors interact with your site, and then modify the site content, organization and layout for achieving your engagement goals.  By the time this has been executed, which takes a couple of months, Google will have started to reflect modifications to your site, and your pages may begin to appear in searches that you have targeted.

Over time, we then use Google Search Console to even more closely fine tune your site for search results based on what searches your site is appearing in, and how you rank in those searches.  As an example, by looking at Search Console, we could see that Future Bright was appearing in searches for SEO professionals in our home town of Mill Valley.  We created a landing page specifically for that search, optimized it, and now that page is beginning to appear for that same search, and visitors who click on the site will see a page created especially for them.  You can view the page here.

After about six months have passed, a clear picture emerges of which social media platforms are most suitable for your business, what search terms are being used to find your business, and what type of content is most engaging.  Using that information, you can continue to create content with confidence, and with the tools that are in place, monitor the success of that content, and adjust as your audience interest shifts.

Conclusion:

First ensure that your site is using best practices for SEO and also has Google Analytics and a Facebook pixel installed.  Then use Social Media to drive traffic to your site.  Monitor engagement on your site with a heat map, and adjust for user experience.  Utilize Google Search Console to learn how you are doing with searches for your keywords, and adjust or add new content based on those results.

How SEO and Social Media Work Together

How To Make Social Media & SEO Work Together

  1. Install Analytics Tracking Onto Your Website
  2. Create social media profiles on relevant platforms
  3. Identify key words to use in your content
  4. Write content on your website
  5. Share your content on your social media platforms to drive traffic back to your website
  6. Use good layout and internal links (UX) to encourage visitors to look at multiple pages & convert
  7. Read your analytics reporting to learn what is/not working
  8. Adjust, refine, repeat
Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast.

How to get photos from your iPhone to your WordPress website FAST!

Save hours and even days of delay coordinating with your developer or waiting until you can get to your computer.  If you take photos on your iPhone that you would like to have appear on your WordPress Website or blog, follow the below steps:

Future Bright - Restaurant Websites

How to add photos to your Media Gallery from your iPhone FAST!

  1. Install the WordPress App on your phone, and log in to your website
  2. Select “Media Gallery”, and then the plus sign to “Choose From My Device”.
  3. Select the images that you want to upload.
  4. Click “Add” at the bottom right of the screen.

Important Tip:  You should have a plugin on your site like “Smush” that reduces image sizes as they are uploaded to within 2000×2000 pixels or another size that you designate.

Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast
Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website or blog fast

How to add photos to a New Blog Post FAST!

  1.  Install the WordPress App on your phone, and log in to your website.
  2. Tap the large + symbol at the bottom center of the screen to create a new post.
  3. Give your post a Title
  4. Tap on the body of the post, which will activate the small + symbol on the left of the tools bar
  5. Tap the plus symbol
  6. Select the images that you want to upload.
  7. Click “Insert”

Important Tip:  You should have a plugin on your site like “Smush” that reduces image sizes as they are uploaded to within 2000×2000 pixels or another size that you designate.

Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast.
Future Bright - how to get images from your iphone to your website fast

Do you often take photographs that you later want to be posted to your blog or website?  Perhaps you have a food blog, or an events blog, or you attend a lot of networking events and want to get photos up on your site!