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Can We Talk?  HQZ Blogs Offer Business & Operational Information To Help Our Clients

Pat Dwight

Pat Dwight

Ever had someone write a negative review or article about your company? It doesn’t feel very good. Hope it never happens to you, but if it does, you gotta get proactive in a hurry. Deal with negative article head-on rather than take a “wait to see what happens” attitude. There is no other way.

Negative Search Result Contents Impact the Brand:

  • Sales — Potential customers looking for information about your business will leave
  • Business Partnerships — Existing or future business relationships could suffer
  • Funding — Lenders may limit capital gain access or raise rates if they suspect your business is at risk
  • Employee Retention — Employee turnover and hiring costs increase if your brand reputation tanks
  • Market Capitalization — A company’s stock price may fall as investors flee for safer investments

Crisis Recovery Plans Explore/Define:

  • Internal/external stakeholders
  • Primary spokespeople for each communication channel
  • Communication infrastructure and redundancies
  • Decision-making chain of command
  • Access to emergency funds
  • Holding statements
  • Contingency plans

Digital Marketing Boosts Brand Reputation

To fix your brand’s negative content following a crisis then recover … understand how your search engine is involved. For example, Google’s algorithms use hundreds of ranking signals to determine the most relevant web pages for each search query. One such signal is topical relevance.

  • Through repetition, search engines then use topical relevance to draw connections between concepts (even if previously unrelated). So, Google may favor content about a corporate crisis if excessive articles recently published connect your brand with the event.
  • One solution is paid content — sponsored posts and earned media such as PR — to generate positive articles about your brand. Starbucks recently used this strategy to shift their brand’s narrative from racial bias training to banning plastic straws.

Reputation Management with No SEO Fails

SEO is labor-intensive and costly, but reputation management doesn’t work without a search engine optimization component. Publishing great content is only part of the strategy; you also must apply SEO best practices to rebuild your search landscape.

Optimize Your Social Profile and Post Regularly

Social networks rank very well for branded search queries. To be effective Google must receive properly coded and ‘active’ signals. Your profiles should include contact information, addresses, as well as a description highlighting your company’s name. Link it back to your website’s homepage, blog page, and other trusted sites.

Promote Your Best Online Content

Determine which favorable company mentions you want ranked on Google’s first page, then share these articles with your social channels to increase visibility and build backlinks to them. When appropriate include your brand name in the article’s title to help improve rankings.

SEO and digital marketing are the drivers of effective reputation management. Taking a proactive approach to brand protection allows you to attract potential customers and stave off negative or damaging news.

Pat Dwight
HQZ Experts

For more information, contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

Online marketing strategies have really changed in the past five years. Did you even know that Google makes changes to its algorithm over 500 times a year and each of those changes has an

impact on where your business appears in search results? I sure did not.

Remembering when Google discovered “top” websites in organic searches and found old friends, checked out Wikipedia or served as a lazy man’s spellcheck. And now, when it is more important than ever for your website to get found, it is paramount that you make “key” website search terms that rank your business higher which in turn will get your business found!

Tactics to Increase Your Web Visibility:

  • Focus on Getting Reviews on the Top 3 Directories: Google, Yelp and Facebook. Even though fake reviews are a growing problem, they remain a leading trust-builder and key factor in consumer research. Remember to respond to both negative and positive reviews; many consumers watch for those responses to determine whether to do business with your company or not. 
  • Optimize A Google-My-Business (GMB) Profile. While your website is ever important, visiting your website will be the first action taken after reading reviews. Take heed of the little in-search-website that Google provides - your GMB profile answers many of the questions your customers or potential customers ask:
  • Are you still operating during shelter-in-place orders?
  • What is your phone number?
  • What are your business hours?
  • What services do you provide?
  • What areas do you serve?

Google examines your GMB profile first when a searcher looks for your business or clicks on your business in maps… a good reason to make it a valuable resource your business is a good find. Currently it is a free tool that helps your business attract and win customers.

  • Engage Customers on Social Media – Consider Facebook Ads. More people are engaging brands on their favorite social media platforms and using platforms like Facebook to search for local businesses. This is especially true right now as more people are at home ‘glued’ to their computers. So, this is a great time to post engaging content and interact with customers on your business social media pages ... engage, inform, and get to know them. Service businesses doing this are winning via Facebook Ads. And, doing so will be important when Google twilights the third-party cookies that drive targeted ads on its platform. 
  • Focus on SEO, Not Rankings. Everyone wants their website to rank No. 1 and they tend to panic when Google inserts yet another result before organic results. Not to worry – just ensure that your website is optimized, mobile-friendly, engaging/interesting, and informative. Do not obsess over rankings. Searchers are savvy to ads; they know that even if a website or ad is first, it may not be the best choice.
  • Operate Where Customers Are. If your prospects and customers are on Facebook and Instagram (strongly likely), make sure you are active on those platforms, answering questions, replying to messages, and providing helpful information. The point is that your reputation is more than just what your website says about you. And your customers have expectations that you will respond in a timely manner, engage with them, and provide feedback … so think about your online presence holistically. 

Suggestions to Explore: Review all your “messaging” right now - check for tone and relevance. As we have all witnessed in the past four months, a sudden world-changing event can destroy the sales pitch that worked so well back then. Remember, your world has changed, but so has those prospects and customers. Consider their frame of mind today vs. what it was two months ago then implement realistic messages that are both appropriate and will benefit THEM.  

No, you are not the master of the universe, but you can focus on the things within your control. Doing so will keep you in the game today and be out in front of what is in store for tomorrow.   

For more information, contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

Sadly, doing a ‘good thing’ by enforcing mandatory work-from-home policies has opened new doors for hackers. As many U.S. companies tell their employees to stay at home to fight the COVID-19 epidemic, home workers are vulnerable of becoming the weak link in the computer security chain.

Now that thousands of our workforce has shifted to ‘telework’ … the hack-attacks have escalated. Employers and newly remote employees should be prepared for a jump in fraudulent emails about COVID-19. Uploading unproven links in random, unknown emails has exploited flaws in popular software such as Adobe Flash and browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge.

Sad but true - cybercriminals have weaponized some vital software - Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map where it now is filled with malicious software,

Home Networks have become a serious challenge/threat for two high-level security challenges brought about by remote work.

  • When working within a “security team” you lose control of the environment in which the users work ... for instance, have they secured their own home Wi-Fi?”
  • IT team members MUST gain access to resources required to do their job. This means that your [new company’s] network perimeter must now include your employee's home -or- the coffee shops where they work. Some security programs are ready for this, but some just will not be.

Just be aware that home smart devices - many of which are built without security - are a key point of vulnerability for remote workers. In addition, people working from home are easily distracted, since they are used to working in the office, and likely causes mixing work with personal email and web browsing … and thereby potentially increases the risk of clicking on malware links.

Ways Employers Make “Working at Home” More Secure for Their Company

  • Implement a multifactor authentication requirement for privileged users accessing the most sensitive/critical access to Internet-facing services. Multifactor authentication is a security measure requiring a user must provide two or more pieces of ID data (factors) to gain access to a device. This second security measure provides a password as well as a temporary passcode too.
  • Ensure that the employee understand how to check common modem and router settings to confirm optimum security settings; recommend updating home Wi-Fi passwords.
  • Employees must be watchful of receiving increased emails claiming to be from “senior staff” requesting bank transfers or gift card purchases that are illegitimate.
  • Understand that self-isolation can cause normally rational people “to let their guard down” and believe scams. The Secret Service warned Americans about “phishing” - a widely-used scam where emails appear to be from a reputable company, such as a major bank or tech company, seeking victims to hand over sensitive personal information (usernames, passwords and credit card information). Cybercriminals are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by sending emails appearing to be from legitimate medical and or health organizations. Some examples of this:
    • Victims got a fraudulent email from a fake medical organization with attachments purporting to have important information about COVID-19. By clicking the attachment, malware automatically infected their system or prompted the victim to enter their email login credentials, to complete the task.
    • Hackers and cybercriminals are all taking advantage of the Coronavirus outbreak; especially when there is a public health crisis or catastrophe in which people are desperate to find more information.
    • Another scheme uses social media to dupe victims into donating to bogus charitable causes. “Criminals are exploiting the charitable spirit of individuals,” according to the advisory.
    • A tragic fraud to watch for is “non-delivery scams” where, frauds pose as a “company” selling medical supplies used to prevent or protect against the COVID-19 … demanding payment or deposits up front but never deliver the products.

Since working from home may become more widely popular for many companies … even when isolation is not as critical, employers will be required to ensure that their employees have all the tools needed to do their jobs as well as have the necessary tools to keep company communications (voice and electronic) secure from cyber creeps.

Choosing to work with a virtual team can save jobs in this uncharted environment.

Be prepared and good luck.

We can assist your business connect with your customers during these challenging times.

Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

Remote Employees’ Survival Tips

Looks as if the immense upheaval our culture and businesses have experienced may be the new norm … at least for a while. The crisis presented by Covid-19 has businesses urging, and mandating, that employees work from home. Approximately 25% of the workforce was already working at home by choice, but the new policies leave many employees — and their managers — working from a home office and separated for the first time. If you and your employees have never worked remotely 100% of the time, doing so requires big adjustments.

Shifting to a fully remote team requires creating and implementing the right practices. From the employee’s perspective, the new working remotely ‘normal’ requires rethinking and adjustment to remain productive and tamping down their stress level.

When working remotely, implementing effective guidelines is critical for success.

  • Designate a Workspace: It is easier to stay focused if you designate a specific area in your home to get work done. This ‘office’ should provide you with both quiet and privacy.
  • Comfortable Environment: Have the right equipment to remain efficient and productive. You must include a desk, telephone, printer, an ergonomic chair, office supplies and a desk lamp. Basics also include a computer and high-speed Internet connection that can support video conferencing.
  • Boundaries: Most likely your spouse, children and pets are all in close quarters so establish signals so they’ll know when to leave you alone … when the door is closed, that means that you’re on the phone and can’t disturbed.
  • Overcommunicate: Since your traditional office where seeing and talking to co-workers is changed, communication with them from afar remains very critical. Communicate frequently with your boss and clarify what is expected of you. Beyond that, reach out to co-workers and managers regularly through emails or by phone. Then talk with your clients/customers to reassure them you are there.
  • Online Tools: Email alternatives (Slack) help workflow and offer social outlets. Telephone conversations remain important. Video teleconferences add another sensory element to your interactions because they enhance team unity and productivity.
  • Do Not Overdo It: When working remotely it is easy to lose track of time. So, give yourself a break and take a lunch break and step away from your computer, walk around or step outside. This helps you feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. Pull yourself away, even if it is for just a few minutes.

Employers’ Remote Management Survival Tips


Since it requires a strong communication system to work well, trust is vital when employees work remotely. Whether you schedule regular calls or use apps for video meetings any scheduled team meetings must be treated as seriously as if it a ‘face’ team event.

Considering your team as “local” rather than “remote” allows everyone to adjust to a virtual team dynamic and quickly shift into an alternative work style meant to improve the general level of trust and strength in this new relationship.

To build and maintain a strong working relationship with your remote team set clear parameters from the start since doing so is essential to achieve the intended results. They must have set deliverables and should be manageable with the same expectations from on-site employees.

Prioritize Security

Security for all business owners must become more important when you require employees working remotely to access company networks and data. Experts recommend that all connections made to the company are done through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that either leverages SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) which encrypt communications from the remote teleworker’s machine. This absolutely ensures that your system and the end user is protected.

 

Whether your employees use your equipment or their own, their working environment must be 100% secure. Ensure they have the right software in place to protect their hardware and they are fully versed on dealing with malware issues.

To support your virtual team in doing this, establish an online IT support - whether they choose to work in their own homes or in public spaces. Fully protected hardware is the first step in ensuring a secure working environment for remote workers and guarantees trust between the employer and employee.

Utilize Productivity Tools
Multiple team member projects cannot be slipshod. It is very important to make use of the proven tools designed to make work processes quicker, more effective, and less likely to result in error. Some of the most popular and useful productivity tools include:

  • Trello: A project management tool but it can be used as a diary, a way of actioning tasks, sharing responsibilities or even as an editorial calendar.
  • Slack: Allows for quick instant messages in the place of long email chains and is a much more reactive option for teams who need quick responses or if you need to speak to a team publicly and collect their responses where all can see. It is easier and much less annoying than multiple emails.
  • Google Drive / Dropbox: For managing files in shared folders. The bonus many people find with Google Drive is easily compatible with almost any device and you have full access to the Google suite of software tools.
  • Evernote: Organize your thoughts into notebooks, to-do lists and more ensuring you can find what you need when you need it. It is great for brainstorming sessions, writing quick blog posts, and keeping your thoughts in one place to look back on when needed.

Choosing to work with a virtual team can save jobs in this uncharted environment. Virtual employees develop strong and long-lasting team relationships and celebrate successes together. Finally, remote working builds a business that exceeds client expectations while retaining valuable, motivated employees on your payroll.

Pat Dwight

We can assist your business connect with your customers during these challenging times.

Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

For Those Now or Soon Facing Working at Home

Changes in How We Work & Seek Coping Solutions with Corona Virus Stresses & Risks

Make Calls Over Wi-Fi

Does your ‘new’ home office have spotty cellular connectivity? Verizon, AT&T and all the other U.S. carriers offer Wi-Fi calling, which allows you to make calls over your wireless network with your phone number. In fact, testing a while back showed that call quality was great over Wi-Fi. On the iPhone, you can enable Wi-Fi calling by going to Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Calling. On Android, go to Settings > Networks & Internet > Mobile network > Advanced > Wi-Fi Calling. If this trick doesn’t work for you, you could also try a cellular signal booster.

Position Your Webcam Smartly

Since we are all on video chat now, just remember: Keep a light source on your face (try to avoid sitting with a window behind you.) Frame your head and shoulders in the shot (keep the camera lens at or above eye level—and use a cardboard box to prop up the laptop if necessary.) Lift your head up…your chin will thank you. Finally, grab a microfiber cloth and wipe off the lens from time to time.

Kill Notifications During Chats

During video calls—especially if you are sharing screens—no one wants to see your notifications or hear those dings and rings. So - MUTE! In Windows 10, go to System > Notifications & Actions and turn them off. On MacOS 10.8 Mountain Lion or later, click the three lines in the top right corner, then swipe down, then turn on Do Not Disturb. Just don’t forget to turn your notifications back on once the call is over.

Slack Like a Pro

Don’t let Slack rule your life. Starring your most important chats and channels (top left) puts them at the top of your sidebar, so you don’t have to dig. Enable notifications for them by tapping the gear icon, then Notification Preferences. (Also adjust your overall notification settings in Preferences.) To jump between conversations, hit Ctrl-K (Cmd-K on Macs). Forgetting important messages? Click three dots on a message and hit “Remind me about this.”

Fix Your Wi-Fi

Having Wi-Fi issues? Plug directly into your router with an Ethernet cable. Don’t like being tethered? Move your router to the center of the house to spread the signal. Choose the faster 5GHz network if possible. If your router is over five years old, get a new one. Consider a mesh network like Eero—it uses multiple nodes to kill dead zones.

Track Your Time

Ah, working from home, aka the black hole of time. Time-tracking apps such as Toggl and Clockify (for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and the web) let you count your minutes and hours, so you know when to quit or take a break. Input your projects and calls, then view a graph of where your time went. I prefer to go low tech, by writing it all down on a piece of paper.

Update Your Email Signature

You know where you aren’t reachable right now? That landline sitting in your ‘new office’. Update your email signature with the best place to reach you via mobile phone and chat services, like Slack, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, etc. Link your contacts to all that you and they utilize. Add a little note like “Currently WFH; reach me at [Insert info here].” In Gmail, click the gear icon, then Settings, then scroll down to the signature. In Outlook, go to File > Options > Mail > Signatures.

Author: Joanna Stern – 3-24-20 - WSJ’s Stern offers fixes and advice on Tech frustrations. Visit WSJ daily Tech News Briefing podcast

Pat Dwight

Call HQZ Experts - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

What’s Your Crystal Ball Tell You?

The survey ‘nuggets’ below reveal a ’50-thousand’ perspective of predicted global business trends projected beyond 2020. See if your industry is likely to prosper or falter.

New Technology Adoption

The top five strategic industry drivers through 2022 are all technology related. Global growth and the new technologies that define it will spur business growth, job creation and demand for specialist skills.

Big Data Availability

According to investment plans of companies surveyed in a “Jobs Report”, 85 percent of respondents will likely expand their big data analytics adoption of both users and providers by 2022.

Advances in Mobile Internet

Smartphones abound; a recent trends study reveals that two-thirds of the global population represents mobile subscribers (which has the greatest reach of any technology). This dynamic is certain to result in life-enhancing services and expand greater access to education and health services.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence is already used to increase efficiency, improve productivity and performance in manufacturing, technology, healthcare and numerous other industries. A new AI global study reports that 80 percent of executives believe AI will help their business either achieve or sustain a competitive advantage.

Cloud Technology Advances

According to the stated investment intentions of 2018/19 companies surveyed, 72 percent of respondents will likely expand their adoption of cloud computing by 2022. This step will make businesses more agile, collaborative, efficient and scalable while reducing costs.

National Economic Growth/Shifts

Combined with technology, socio-economic trends will also affect business growth through 2022. National growth trends will have the greatest impact in the aerospace, supply chain/transport, infrastructure, mining and metals industries.

Prosperity in Developing Economic Growth

Enabling access to technology and education is expected to contribute to the expansion of the middle class. Research predicts this growth will have the greatest effect on aviation, travel/tourism, chemistry, advanced materials and biotech, and global health/healthcare.

Education Expansion

Increased access to education is a consequence of technology adoption along with the expansion of the middle class. The industries projected to be most affected by this socio-economic propensity are aviation, travel/tourism, mining, metals, and professional services.

New Energy & Technology Innovations

Decarbonization, emerging markets and resilience will continue to propel increased demand in renewable energy worldwide. And, advanced computing power, new energy supplies/technologies will drive business development in countless industries.

Middle-Class Expansion

Estimates predict the global middle class will likely double by 2020 and triple by 2030. This impetus is attributable to urbanization and will drive greater access to education, technology and opportunity.

Looking into a crystal ball is always speculative; however, given the information from these recent studies, the future looks bright! HQZ Experts continues to examine evolving technology trends that offer new opportunities to our own business as well as those of our clients. Let’s talk about what’s in your crystal ball.

   Sources: Deloitte; Flatworld Solutions; Pew Research

Pat Dwight

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

13 February 2020 Blog

Yes, Digital Again

Digital Marketing Etc.

The path to reaching business goals works better using a digital marketing strategy. Why? Doing so helps you save money, evaluate vital data from which to make better decisions, and build customer trust. How so? Because it’s more affordable, flexible, and easier than traditional marketing approaches. Regardless of size, industry or geography, digital is necessary for growth and staying power today and tomorrow. The topics below define why.

Costs Less

Digital marketing uses targeted research and analytics to quickly determine which approaches are working well and which aren’t. Most digital marketing channels are less costly from the start and help you avoid overspending on underperforming campaigns.

More Opportunities

Digital marketing gives small businesses more opportunities to compete, improve brand awareness, and build an audience. That’s because it closes the gap between large, medium, and small companies and benefits each range with many of the same resources ... it’s about what you offer, not how tall your building is.

Measures Program Results

Single attribution (first touch/last touch) is the method of measurement used by most marketing teams. The theory: it takes an average of seven touches to convert a cold lead to a sale and puts the highest value on the first or last touch. Traditional marketing stats are much more difficult to measure say on the ROI of a print ad than it is to measure that of a digital ad given the print ad audience is much broader. Digital marketing targets specific audiences and can see which advertisement prompted which sale. Imagine.

A/B Testing Works

Experimenting with all aspects of a marketing campaign — A/B testing the location of an email, sign-up, call to action, the color of a promotional banner, a subject line — is much easier to analyze more quickly on digital feeds. Simple changes can be tracked and used to target customers more effectively. The results of A/B testing can improve targeting of print ads too. Example: if a company targets the same audience on a search engine as it does in a print magazine ad, the message will be effective for both.

Mobile Marketing Engagement

Mobile marketing is changing the way we all ‘view’ the world. According to Global Web Index, more than eighty percent of internet users own a smartphone, and ninety percent of the time spent on their smartphone is devoted to applications. Mobile marketing — from email and social ad design to SEO to branded apps —you to reach users in their comfort zone. Great concept.

Analytics Reveal Biz Models

Measuring digital analytics helps companies make informed decisions about where to invest their resources and improve efficiency. Gathering numbers from traditional marketing channels is a manual process, while most digital platforms, including social media and marketing automation, have built-in analytics dashboards with all data automatically available.

Digital Is Personal

Tech marketplaces have led customers and buyers to expect individual, personalized attention. “Click To Tweet” Digital marketing eliminates the “one size fits all” marketing approach by delivering better insight into segmentation. Using customer behavior tracking results to personalize outreach creates the ideal customer experience because you are reaching the RIGHT audience. It also increases trustworthiness, loyalty and a growing team of brand advocates. Which is the whole point.

Email Marketing Is Best

We always assume that our digital marketing strategy caters to the audience’s preferences. Fact: seventy-two percent of people prefer to hear from brands via email. And, email marketing sets targeted messaging right in front of customers and prospects. When automated, “trigger emails” can be sent automatically based on customer activity and personalized interactions … if you utilize that resource.

Building Social Media Trust

A “friend referral” instantly makes a company seem more trustworthy to prospects. Digital advertising leverages social media to make “likes” and other online reviews visible to friends of your customers. And, recommendations highlight your company thereby routinely building a positive impression and likely trust.

SEO Promotes Your Brand

Stats show that eighty-one percent of B2B purchase cycles begin via a web search. That’s likely why search engine optimization (SEO) has the best return on investment of any digital marketing channel right now. For a company to be seen, it must show up on the search engine’s first page. A solid SEO strategy is vital to improving your company’s search engine ranking.

Digital marketing works! Any of these approaches can move your marketing outreach forward. HQZ Experts can help you evaluate your options and implement a strategy to better marketing practices … give us a call (949-454-6149) and we can help you get started.

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

14 January 2020 Blog

Hello, Can We Talk?

Promo Landing Pages - Your Marketing Engine

Marketers know the fundamentals of Home landing page best practices: 1) Relevant and Compelling copy, 2) Top-right form placement, and 3) Social presence. The following simple actions can also boost your page conversions. 

Speak to Their AOI

The old one-size-fits-all content doesn’t work today. To achieve real engagement in your landing pages, use lively content that speaks to this audience (area of interest), as if they are a new friend and you are getting acquainted. Define a message based on what you already know about them—mention things they relate to such as their work or industry or even hobbies then define how you share common interests.

When you set yourself apart with text that doesn’t sound like it just came out of a jar, more times than not they will stop and read on … because you are different! And, they know that your attention is aimed at them.

Up Your Image Game

Humans process visual information way faster than reading text. That’s why it pays to spend more time choosing images that appropriately impact for those you are pursuing. Rather than show them a picture of your product, your headquarters building or company President, consider who you really want to attract – then use images that appeal to them. If you spark an emotive response that they relate to, they will stop and check out the message.

Use Forms or Not

With more buyers using mobile devices and social media platforms, it’s harder to stay connected. Meaning forms may not be the best way to capture data anymore since people don’t really want to fill out a form ‘right now’.

There’s a bunch of non-intrusive ways to gather prospects’ information that capture registration and lead information through social media channels. By integrating your paid ad campaigns with your marketing automation tool/CRM system, you capture the data you need without hassling your prospects or redirecting them to another “Form” page. And, when prospects aren’t required to fill out form fields up front (yet know that their information is being collected), they appreciate the shortcut.

These tips can be fixed right now; if you do you’ll start seeing more responsive results very soon. So, before you send out your next marketing message, think critically about your landing page. Ask yourself:

  • Is the image really impactful?
  • Is my text personalized and targeted?
  • Have I minimized the number of form fields?

Do some or all of these things and you’ll begin to notice high-converting campaigns. And by testing and optimizing each element as you go, you can push your conversions even higher. Happy landings!

Pat Dwight

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

2020 Marketing Changes

2020 promises many changes in how marketers do their jobs. Most experts who predict the significant changes in traditional marketing strategies see a common thread will see greater attention to ‘audience convenience’ and ‘personalization’. Whatever your vision, your marketing message must define how you solve ‘their’ problems.

This means emphasizing authenticity and connectivity beyond “sales-pitch hype” and a laser focus on your prospects and customers. Figure out ways of optimizing content and prioritizing the conversations you have with them. Decide What your company’s story will be then engaging your customers personally – and yes that means talk to them – capture their attention and their lifelong loyalty to your brand.

1: Marketing Technology Consolidation

Companies will cut their MarTech spending and focusing more on new processes. Small technology providers will thrive and systems that deliver little value – “analytics packages” that use basic Google Analytics onto the WordPress dashboard – will be discarded. Next year will engage talented B2B web developers given that existing lightweight plugin functionality merely inserts JavaScript in headers and that’s all it does. Security concerns and a leaner MarTech approach will focus on worthwhile unpackaged technology.

2: Themed Website Decline

Sure, formula WordPress themes are ubiquitous, inexpensive, easy to develop and deploy. But, because companies will need higher-end custom sites with a unique experience and premium branding, they’ll be shopping for something better. Color pre-built themes and frameworks gone and websites that are truly exceptional and differentiating are in.

3: ‘Consequential’ Data Review

Google Ads, Google Analytics, automation platforms and B2B marketing information have become, well, abundant. Marketers have realized that click-through rates by variant are based on “junk data.” B2B marketing in 2020 will employ meaningful metrics by evaluating what data is used to make decisions and actually influence the bottom line – not just generate stroke vanity.

4: Prospect Focus

Focus on your client. They’re the once who really matter and ARE your marketing targets. So, your approach should include a (re)focus on delivering experiences and messages that grab the potential buyer’s attention. It’s not about you. When marketers stop worrying about self-fulfillment and self-aggrandizement, they’ll refocus on what really matters – hearing the cash register ring.

5: Google PPC Yes with Some Modifications

Google Ads is now mature and simple … but has driven the cost up on a whole lot of areas. 2020 will see firms change their Google Ad bidding strategies that is more focused on who the buyer is and what they want. Smart marketers will now be focusing their bidding strategies on the problem potential customers are trying to solve, while avoiding high-dollar bidding terms. Learn about them and know who they are.

6: Sales & Marketing Get Divorced!

The line between marketing and sales has eroded to almost nonexistence. 2020 will revolve around sales enablement, meaning, marketing folks will assume a hybrid character by nurturing a prospect from their first interaction through customer engagement. Realize that that marketing-qualified leads aren’t enough now; marketers must create what sales needs by supporting their effort through the ‘close’ – and beyond. This calls for non-traditional lead nurturing, targeted advertising that coincides with demos and proposals, and pre/post-purchase email cycles. If your sales and marketing folks can play nice, it will reap great benefit.

7: From B2C to B2B

B2B lead generation seeks hyper-specialized targeting while B2C uses mass outreach tools. Think Facebook advertising which is often too blunt to be effective. 2020’s solution is based on demographics and predicted behavior and will highly target specific industry segments, companies and individuals, with laser precision. “B2B” gains a better understanding of the specific prospect - do they fit your demographic, and then, what’s the best approach to target them – not capturing thousands who may just vaguely resemble your prospect.

8: Reducing Garbage Content

People expect content – there is more of it today than ever before. But, producing content for content’s sake usually creates, well, junk and offers little value to the target. The awkward reality is that ranking on Page 1 of Google’s results doesn’t mean you’ll ever convert anyone. To survive, your 2020 B2B marketing should offer content exchanged well-presented useful stuff to the right audience.

Experts predict the biggest B2B marketing movement next year will be offering engaging messages that work for clients and talking to your audience – not hyping yourself. Go back and read #3 and #4!

Pat Dwight

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"Brand Buzz" On Steroids

Marketing Brand Buzz defines a product or service interaction between consumer/users by amplifying or changing a marketing message that either invokes a positive or negative emotion, energy, or expectation. It’s generated through marketing pursuits by a brand owner or the result of public awareness via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube).

Terms used to describe buzz in the business community include:

  1. Volume (the number of interchanges related to a product or topic in a given time period)
  2. Rating or Level (qualitative measure of positive or negative sentiment or amount of engagement associated with the product).

These buzz channel Measurements include:

  1. Visits, views, mentions, followers and subscribers
  2. Next-level measures such as shares, replies, clicks, re-tweets, comments and wall posts provide a better indication of the participants' engagement levels.

        Your Company’s Social Media Buzz Posts Matter

Social Media Users & Brand Interaction

A 2019 survey of 1,000 consumers asked which traits they want brands to portray online and what action-specific brand image (humor or friendliness) prompts a response as seen below:

  • 88% of consumers are annoyed when brands mock their fans
  • 75% of consumers appreciate humor from brands
  • 71% of consumers find brands engaging in politics online annoying

Brand Personality: the More Authentic…the More Effective Your Message Becomes

Brand personality connects your product and consumers and reflects what your brand stands for. It should be the standard running through all of your marketing and creative initiatives.

Tweak and Measure:

Consumers feel strongly about what they want from social platform brands. Across all age groups, 83% of consumers look for key characteristics of your brand’s personality revealed on Facebook which defines the greatest mix of content formats and target appropriate audiences.

Each product brand you have requires that you understand your audience and:

  1. why they’re use it?
  2. What content they expect?
  3. What is their threshold for your marketing push?
  4. What trends has this engagement rendered?

Once you answer these questions you can determine which platforms need more personality and which are okay.

Balance Between Cool and Annoying:

Navigating the line between annoying and cool requires that you either ‘hold’ or ‘mold’ your brands’ identity (why people like/use it) to what they expect. Then, talk to your audience the way they talk to you. Provide them with what they’re looking for—not what you want them to look for.

Humor on social doesn’t drive ROI, and depending on your industry, a humorous social presence isn’t your audience’s top priority. So, focus on what the majority of consumers want and what any brand - regardless of industry – provides to them: an honest, helpful, friendly connection.

Bragging can backfire as well. If snarky Tweets and humorous memes dominate your product’s personality, you may lose devotees. It is a fine line so focus on giving consumers the brand buzz they want: honest, helpful and friendly content.  View: in-depth US 2019 Report (select country):

Is your social branding buzz working for you? If not, HQZ Experts helps clients define the scope of their company’s social brand buzz outreach. Call us: 949-454-6149 or email

Pat Dwight

Call us and learn more - Contact Pat Dwight: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949-454-6149.

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