Monday, July 27, 2015

Using Google Analytics To Increase Marketing Awareness

By Kim Tarasiewicz

At Furia Rubel, we build many of our clients' websites and also provide hosting on a dedicated server. Part of our website services involve checking Google Analytics to see how those sites are performing. An analytics program can provide a bird's eye view of how many visitors are using your site each month, among other things. By defining your parameters in detail, you can even see how many visitors go to a certain page each day, month or quarter. When used properly, Google Analytics can provide crucial information on your customers/clients that can be used in the marketing process throughout the year.

Several of the key metrics we look for when compiling data to share with clients are outlined below. Depending on your marketing and advertising needs, different reports may be more or less important to your business. You will need access to your company's analytics account associated with your website to view your reports.

The traffic report shows the number of visitors to your site, this number should increase or at least remain consistent if your site is performing well. When using analytics properly, you should be able to increase the number of visitors to your site by reviewing behavior on your site and making edits to pages as needed. For example, by checking the "Organic Search Traffic page", you will see the number of visitors that used a search engine and which keywords they used to find the site. You can then incorporate additional related keywords into the site which should increase traffic.

The channel report image above provides a perfect overview to HOW visitors arrived at the site. This area can be used to develop or tweak your marketing plan. If your business determines that they want to increase their social media leads to the website, you can review the current social media number which in this case is very low (0.27%) and after running a social media campaign, check back to see if your percentages have increased, hopefully giving your campaign validation.

Referral traffic is important to evaluate as it shows which outside websites are sending website traffic to your company's site. This could be in the form of a news story that is published and shows your website as part of the story. Or it could be a partner company that has a link to your website on their site for referral traffic. It is important to follow-up on these resources, grow your network connections and promote your company to increase visitors.

Reviewing the pages report will show you which pages have the most traffic and have created the most interest. This will give you an idea of what your readers are looking for and allow you to add additional material such as blogs or media stories around that subject, with the goal of increasing traffic to your site. The mobile overview report will show you where your clients are viewing your site. On the mobile report example above, 88.49% of viewers are on a desktop computer, perhaps visiting the site as they work. As your mobile numbers increase, you should consider building a mobile, responsive version to your website to provide those visitors with small-screen optimized content.

If your marketing plan is to target certain geographic areas, you may want to review the location report to see what country or which state your viewers are coming from. This report can be narrowed down by clicking on the country, then the state which will eventually show the local towns visitors are in when viewing your site.

Google Analytics can be customized by day and date, locations, new and returning visitors etc. and can be an ideal tool to use in measuring your marketing tactics. Before your team sits down to create next year's goals and plan, do a little research in analytics and give your team cutting edge information to increase opportunities for a successful year.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Keeping It S.I.P.S.

By Megan Quinn

What do you do for a living?

If you answered by naming your company or your title or your general field, you just missed out on a golden business opportunity – to create interest in what you do and open the door for further interest.

That was the main takeaway from a recent conference, LMA Metro Philadelphia’s Half-Day Educational Conference, presented by the HUB City View. The July 16 conference was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about legal marketing from local and visiting marketing experts and it was interesting to switch over to the marketing side for a day and shift my mind out of the PR gear.

The breakout session 2 program, “Wildfire: Creating Interest in Your Practice With Everyone You Meet,” really struck a chord with me. It was presented by Steve Hughes, president of Missouri-based company Hit Your Stride, LLC. The main theme was, how can we brainstorm new ways to market our profession or help our clients to do the same when networking?

For example, when asked at a cocktail party or event, “What do you do for a living?” it’s easy to just state your profession or company name outright. “I’m a lawyer,” “I work in public relations,” or “I work at Furia Rubel Communications in Doylestown.”

That’s all well and good, but there’s no hint of mystery to it. If we aren’t proactive about coming up with new ways to explain our jobs in a fun, interesting way, does that make us sound disinterested in what we do?

For tax attorneys, Hughes recommends saying this: “I’m Uncle Sam’s biggest nightmare” or “I help add to the national debt.” For estate planning attorneys, try “I work with dead people” or real estate attorneys can say “I play with dirt all day and get paid for it.”

The point is to make our explanations S.I.P.S. (short, intriguing, pithy and simple). If we can succeed in doing this, we can engage our audience in a way that presents opportunities for follow-up questions. Don’t give it all away at once; leave them guessing!

I often have a hard time explaining my job to friends and family, as I wrote about in a previous blog post, so this is a way to explore how we view our clients and their impact on the world. So, what do I do? For my job, I came up with, “I help law firms and banks look human.”

How would you explain your profession to others?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Vacation for Executives, Entrepreneurs and Employees is a Must

By Gina F. Rubel

The furthest thing from most entrepreneurs’ minds is vacation. When launching and growing a business, the primary focus is on executing the business plan and, with any luck, generating profits. The same holds true for executive leaders; most don’t take on senior roles with the thought of vacation in mind. Instead, most executives are focused on their tasks at hand which often include fiscal and human relations oversight, business management and corporate growth.

Keeping these things in mind, it is important to remember that, just like at home with children and their parents, employees often take cues from leadership and emulate the leaders’ behavior (especially if they are trying to climb the corporate ladder).

Vacation options vary based on your areas of business, the reliability of others to handle your work in your absence, and your personal preferences for down time. For some solopreneurs, that may mean taking a week’s vacation and shutting down the office. For others, it means two weeks away from the office and leaving others in charge. There is no steadfast rule; however, down time is important for the overall health of all individuals and certainly for the overall health of a business.

Smart scheduling strategies (such as planning down time during less active months) and efficiently working ahead of time (wrapping up matters and meeting all deadlines that will occur during your vacation time) can help. For solos, if you don’t already have office help, consider hiring a short term call answering service or virtual assistant. In the alternative, set up your voicemail to inform callers that you are unreachable until a certain date and will follow up with them upon your return to the office. And as Murphy’s Law often has it, there is always the possibility of a business or client crisis arising during your absence. In that case, make sure that you have a plan in place, such as a way for you to be reached or someone who can manage the crisis in your absence. Such challenges should not prevent one from taking time off; time off is vital to recharge and avoid burnout, which will sabotage your business and personal success in the long run.

For small offices, the options are wider, and often come down to the way your business functions day to day. Using a team approach to handle client matters helps spread the knowledge and the responsibility, so if one person is out of the office, the rest of the team can pick up the slack. In that way, clients’ needs are always met. An auto reply email is also helpful in managing expectations when you are away from the office and ensuring that clients or customers always have another alternative contact person.

While I do tend to work long hours, as many professionals do, I have become more mindful of the impact that kind of stress has on the rest of my life and on my family. I also know that the Furia Rubel team members are taking their cues from what I do. Before I went on vacation this summer, our Vice President of Public Relations, Sarah Larson, encouraged me NOT to check emails (I laughed) while I was away and gave me this simple and appreciated anecdote:

“Vacation might not sound like a novel stress management tool, but at a time when an estimated 4 in 10 U.S. workers do not take their paid vacation days because of pressure to appear more invested in their work, having a CEO who shows by example that vacation time brings benefit not just to the employee but also to the workplace is important.” (And if you know Sarah, you know that she said it just that way.)

Sarah then sent me a link to a U.S. Travel Association report, which found that “The average American with paid time off (PTO) used 16 of 20.9 vacation days in 2013, down from an average of 20.3 days off from 1976 to 2000.” It added that 169 million days of permanently forfeited U.S. vacation time equated to $52.4 billion in lost benefits.

As one who wants my employees to take advantage of the benefits, I did find this statistic alarming.

As a result, I encourage all business executives to disconnect from work when practical and possible. For me, that means I vanish with my family for two weeks each year, and I'll take sporadic days off throughout the rest of the year when needed.

While away, I do check email daily when I have service, so that I’m not buried when I return to the office. However, I don’t “respond” to emails unless it is an urgent matter that I cannot otherwise delegate. If it is something that can be handled by someone other than me, then I rely on the expertise of our team. I communicate what I need before I leave, everyone has their marching orders, and the members of our well-seasoned marketing and public relations teams don’t contact me during vacation unless there’s a true emergency.

Undistracted vacation with my family allows me to be the mother and wife that I love to be. It allows me to experience the world and to return to work with renewed vigor and passion. I expect the same for every member of our Furia Rubel team. I encourage everyone to take time off from work and have witnessed greater productivity and deeper personal engagement as a result.

If you want to read more about the benefits of encouraging employees to take vacation, then read Inc. magazine’s article: Four Reasons Why You Need to Encourage Employees to Use Vacation.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rainbow Flag: Logo, Symbol or Both?

By Rose Strong


June was Gay Pride month, and how appropriate for the Museum of Modern Art to add the rainbow flag to its collection in the same month that same-sex marriage was legalized across the nation. Rainbows have been everywhere these past couple weeks, along with the hoot and holler of pride after the landmark decision was handed down by the U.S Supreme Court.

Whether you agree or disagree with the SCOTUS decision regarding same-sex marriage, you can’t go through a day right now without seeing a rainbow flag flying on social media, in storefront windows and above some buildings throughout major metropolitan cities. In fact, Facebook set up a filter for profile photos and Instagram and Twitter have had a plethora of brands posting photos with their products and the flag and supportive commentary. In addition, there are the bumper stickers, T-shirts and even landmarks lit up in rainbow colors in the wake of the SCOTUS decision.

In the wake of all the hype, have you ever wondered how the rainbow flag came to symbolize gay pride?

Prior to the rainbow flag, a pink triangle often was used, which was originally a symbol created by the Nazis to indicate one as a sexual deviant or homosexual in concentration camps. (Sadly, even after the Nazi defeat and concentration camp liberation, LGBT people were imprisoned for more than two decades longer because of the laws imposed upon them.) The pink triangle was co-opted by the LGBT movement throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but many argued that the symbol had disturbing implications and understandably wanted to do away with it.

So the triangle was scrapped and replaced by a flag in simple, bright rainbow colors as a symbol of LGBT pride. It was created by Gilbert Baker in 1978. He began the process just before the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, inspired by the increased number of American flags being flown to mark the country’s 200th birthday. Baker, an artist and drag queen, told the Museum of Modern Art in an interview:

“And I thought, a flag is different than any other form of art. It’s not a painting, it’s not just cloth, it is not just a logo—it functions in so many different ways. I thought that we needed that kind of symbol, that we needed as a people something that everyone instantly understands. [The rainbow flag] doesn’t say the word “Gay,” and it doesn’t say “the United States” on the American flag but everyone knows visually what they mean. And that influence really came to me when I decided that we should have a flag, that a flag fit us as a symbol, that we are a people, a tribe if you will. And flags are about proclaiming power, so it’s very appropriate.”

When Baker rationalized it, without knowing, he pretty much did what any branding agency would be doing in the process of developing reasoning behind the creation of a particular logo or brand. In fact, at Furia Rubel Communications, we often develop brands (a.k.a. symbols) for our clients. We brainstorm about what would be the best logo or symbol to capture the attention of the target audience, and we conduct strategic planning, focus groups, surveys and research to shape the image that will best speak about the client or cause that we represent.

Baker made his first flag with about 30 volunteers, after being asked for one by his friend, the late Harvey Milk, a San Francisco Board of Supervisors member and the first openly gay politician in a large U.S. city, who wanted it for a march he was coordinating. The original flag had eight colors: hot pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo and violet. Each color has a specific meaning. In creating the flag for retail purchase, Baker was told the color dye needed to create the hot pink was too expensive, so it was removed.

Other symbols throughout LGBT history have been adopted to educate the public and stir pride in the LGBT population – a population whose individuals often have had self-esteem ripped from them from schoolmates, families and even strangers, over the course of their lives. Today, many of these symbols may be seen at gay pride festivals, in LGBT publications and on social media, but some may be unfamiliar to the general public. Even to gay men and lesbians, some of these symbols require explanation.

Was there a symbol you didn’t know, but were curious about?

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