Custom Photography vs Stock Images

You have probably heard the phrase  “a picture is worth a thousand words” many times before to mean that a complex idea can be conveyed in a single still image. As a business owner,  what idea do you want to convey through your images?  Do you want your photographs on your website, fliers, and brochures to say. “We are just like everyone else”  or rather they say “we are one-of-a-kind?’ Most likely you want your company to be distinctive and unique and to stand above all the rest.  Making that choose then means choosing between generic stock photos purchased from a website and unique, specialized, custom photographs.

Sperling Interactive specializes in just that- custom, unique and professional photographs.  After a one-on-one consultation with our photographers, Sperling Interactive will determine your company’s specific digital and print photography needs.  The benefits of custom photography far outweigh the generic stock photos that are available to anyone who wants to purchase them.  Custom photographs give your clients a personalized view of your services, brand and staff.  By customizing you have the opportunity to grab and hold the client’s attention. Capture who you truly are as a company through professional photos of real people, places and situations.  This type of image creates more powerful word-of-mouth referrals than stock photos can. Images are powerful and can leave a lasting impression.  Make that impression a positive one that will stay with the consumer.  Customized photography is an investment and a reflection of how strongly you believe in your company.

 

Importance of Brand Consistency

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand refers to any “name, term, sign, symbol, design or even a perception intended to identify your goods and services over other sellers.”  A successful brand identity sets your business apart from the competition. Companies who do it well such as  Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Apple have cornered the market on brand recognition. In one glance most consumers recognize the colors and typeface of each of these companies.  Even a mere lowercase “i” is synonymous with Apple Corporation.  Coca-Cola has cornered the market on the colors red and white, a swirling typeface and even a polar bear selling their product.  When you think about all of the individual aspects that combine to make your business, pulling them all together and highlighting key differentiators will help you to define your brand.

Your brand is a representation of your business in imagery, messaging and perception. It is critical to maintain a cohesive and consistent message in order to build a sense of product recognition. Keep in mind that your brand is continually reinforced through all of your customer facing messaging, from your business cards, email marketing and website through to your logo, signage and print collateral. Ensuring that both your messaging and visual branding is clearly and consistently applied across all communication channels makes sense. Your logo, tagline and symbols should used consistently to reinforce your identity and drive positive sentiment and trust. However, each booklet, flyer, or business card does not need to be identical but they should strive for visual cohesion. Make sure you stick to a number of standards, such as your color palette, visual style, font and size and spacing of your logo. By keeping your visual identity and messaging consistent your business will effectively develop and strengthen your brand, helping your business make a far stronger, long-lasting impression.

Make Your Website Mobile Ready

Consumers are using mobile devices more than ever. According to research conducted by Digital Buzz, the latest mobile growth statistics for 2013 are staggering. The numbers show how important it is that your website be mobile-ready.

93% of all adults in the US have a mobile phone
56% of people own a smartphone
50% of mobile phone users, use mobile as their primary Internet source

Just looking at these numbers it is obvious that any company with an online presence should establish a mobile presence separate from the businesses website for many reasons. With 25% of Americans (and that number is growing every year) accessing the mobile web each day it is imperative that your business be a part of that. Having a regular websites is just not the same as a mobile one either. On a mobile phone, there is a very limited amount of screen space. If you have ever had to side scroll to view something on a website, you realize how much of an inconvenience it is. Browsing on a mobile device needs to be easy and fast.

There are other key items to consider when thinking about going mobile. The amount of time the average user spends searching on a desktop versus a mobile device is a huge consideration. People at home on a computer might be patient, happily clicking around casually, but someone on the go wants to get in and out quickly. The average consumer spends 3-4 times longer searching through a website on a desktop computer than a mobile website. Therefore, making information easy to navigate and access is crucial to the success of your mobile site. A great mobile website helps visitors find the information they need fast – without putting extra stuff in their way. The statistics from Search Engine Land indicate that $1.6 Billion was purchased from mobile devices in one year. That number is expected to grow each year. Make sure you are “mobile ready” because it very well could be the secret to growing your audience now and for the foreseeable future.

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The Importance of Link Building

mysql_real_escape_string(Link building, simply put, is the process of getting external pages to link to a page on your website. While it seems fairly straightforward, it can be a time consuming part of your marketing strategy but it is a critical part to increasing your search engine ranking and optimization. According to a study completed by Word Tracker Academy “As many as 7% of consumer sales are online and an incredible 89% of offline purchases are influenced by online research. Search engines are the heart of that online commerce which means search engine success can bring spectacular rewards.” Since the late 1990’s , search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have used links as votes. These votes represent the democracy of the web’s opinion of what pages are important and popular.

If you thought being popular was only important in high school then you are mistaken. Link popularity is just as important for the growth of your business. Search engines like links. The more links a site has the more likely that website will appear on a search engines first page. In fact they value the number and standing of sites that link to yours. In general the more links the higher ranking and site reputation. Not all links, however, are created equal. Search engines favor quality backlinks over the more obscure. For example, a backlink from the Wall Street Journal, Amazon or any government website would be viewed as more authoritative links than less well known sites. A quality backlink is one that is genuine and has unique content. Increasing the number and quality of links is the foundation of any search engine optimization strategy.

Since link building is such a major factor in increasing your businesses ranking, let’s look at a few strategies for you to get started.

Submit your website information to both free and paid directories such as free directory critic at http://www.directorycritic.com/free-directory-list.html.
Submit your company’s news in a press release.
create compelling content that others will want to reference and therefore link to.
Start a blog that readers will link to or comment on relevant blogs that will backlink to your website.

Cultivate link building through these strategies as they will influence your web traffic, and sales for many years. Google and other search engines look at the age of a link and the pattern of acquired links over time. So the value of your inbound links is cumulative. Links that you acquired years ago continue to influence your rankings and still bring you direct visits.)