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Something we always say here at enCOMPASS is that the best online assets in the world are meaningless if nobody sees them. You may have a perfect website, for instance—functional, interactive, aesthetically pleasing, and great for capturing leads and educating customers. If you don’t do anything to drive traffic to the website, though, then what good is the site actually doing you?

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There’s an old saying in marketing: Everyone is not your audience. In other words, you don’t want to spend money trying to get your product or brand in front of every single human on the face of the planet; that would likely be quite wasteful and unnecessary. What you want to do is to get the product or brand in front of the people that will have interest—your target consumer.

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One of the cardinal rules of marketing is that business owners must meet consumers wherever their attention lies. In today’s marketplace, that means the Internet. Consumers’ attention is largely focused online, which is why business websites are built—and why businesses of all sizes must understand this fundamental shift in consumer attention simply in order to stay afloat. What’s more, business owners must understand that design, functionality, and performance are all necessary to ensure the website makes a strong first impression with consumers.

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Ideally, your business website is a guidebook for customers, leading them through the sales funnel and providing education and insight at each step of their journey. For this to happen, of course, you need more than just a website that looks good or ranks well on Google. You need a website that’s not only visible, but actually substantive—providing informative content to the consumer.

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You may be familiar with the old philosophical brainteaser: If a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around, does it make a sound? Along similar lines, it’s important for marketing professionals and business owners to ponder: If you build the best website and write the most amazing content in the world, but nobody knows it exists, does it actually do any good for your business?

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It’s becoming harder and harder to find anyone who isn’t active on at least one social network—and like it or not, that has implications for your business. Companies need to go where their customers are, and more and more that means setting up shop on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any number of other social platforms. Social media presence was long a competitive advantage for business owners, but these days it is more or less a necessity.

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Marketing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor—and frankly, anyone who tries to sell you on a uniform, blanket approach is probably someone you should be wary of. But if it’s not one-size-fits-all, it’s also not a la carte. You cannot simply pick and choose the marketing components you like best and expect them to have a meaningful impact. At the same time, you cannot use different tools inharmoniously and anticipate them to all have maximum effect. No, successful marketing is integrative. It looks different from one business to the next, but it always involves various moving pieces, made to work together toward the same goal.

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Did you know that Google’s internal algorithms change hundreds of times each year? Search engines are not static, and so your search engine strategies can’t be, either.

That’s not to overstate the dynamic nature of search engine optimization (SEO). In many ways, the foundations of search are pretty solid. Google always wants to provide its client (i.e., the search engine user) with a great product (i.e., relevant search results). If you keep that in mind—producing content that’s high-quality, value-adding, and topical—you’re well on your way to SEO success.

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Are all of your marketing efforts at odds with one another—or do they work together, seamlessly, machine-like, toward a common goal?

For far too many business owners, the answer is somewhere closer to the former than to the latter. That’s because it’s easy enough to have a website built, to throw up the occasional Facebook post, perhaps even to send out a company newsletter every so often. But developing a robust marketing blueprint—one that encompasses your website, your social media, paid ad campaigns, search engine optimization, and all the rest—is ultimately more time-intensive, painstaking, and difficult work.

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In recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about the role of data and analytics within the marketing world. That can sound a little daunting, a little technical—but here’s what it all boils down to: When you spend money to send marketing content out into the world, you need some way of assessing whether or not it’s working. You need some way to measure your ROI. Only then can you make revisions and course corrections as necessary, ensuring your marketing efforts are lean and efficient.

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