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How Can Digital Marketing Help Grow My Business?

How Can Digital Marketing Help Grow My Business?

When it comes to growing your business, tapping into the power of digital marketing is a game-changer. However, for your efforts to be most effective, it’s essential to understand the wide range of digital marketing tactics available and what they have to offer

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When you employ multiple tactics simultaneously, your digital marketing strategy becomes a robust toolkit that propels your business’s growth forward and becomes a driving force behind its success. 

For example, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps improve organic search placement, while paid ads (primarily on Google and Bing) ensure immediate visibility by placing your business at the top of the search engine results pages. This combination gives you both long-term visibility through SEO and instantaneous visibility through paid advertisements—ultimately driving more traffic and potential customers to your website. 

Email marketing uses an organic collection of customer email addresses to stay in touch with existing and prospective customers; social media marketing utilizes social media platforms frequented by your customer profiles to promote your unique selling proposition, brand image, and products. 

Our digital marketing strategies focus on building sales while improving your company image and brand recognition; these proven tactics can be effectively applied to any business, whether B2C, B2B, retail, or a professional service. 

Leveraging Digital Marketing to Build Sales

SEO and Paid Search Ads on Google and Bing have immense potential in terms of driving sales. These techniques specifically target keyword searches used by potential customers who have moved past the casual browsing phase and are ready to make purchase decisions:

  • Keyword research: Understanding what your potential customers are searching for is key to visibility. Conduct comprehensive keyword research to identify the terms and phrases your audience uses when looking for products or services like yours.
  • Highlighting key products and services: Showcase your most popular and profitable offerings; this will direct attention to them and increase the likelihood of conversions. 
  • Create conversion-oriented landing pages: Develop dedicated landing pages focused on converting visitors to customers. These pages should contain clear, concise information about your products or services backed by testimonials from previous clients. Additionally, incorporating credibility statements focused on E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) will bolster customer confidence in your brand. 

Email marketing is a powerful, cost-effective way to announce promotions or incentives for new and improved products or services, as well as an opportunity to improve products or services through upsells. It serves as a direct line to your audience and encourages them to make purchases or take advantage of special offers. 

Social media is a less formal platform for driving sales and promotions. However, for your campaign to succeed, it’s crucial to provide useful and relevant information. Share content that helps your customers use your products or services more efficiently or offers valuable industry-specific tips. Once you’ve established credibility through your content, call-to-actions to purchase your products or engage your services will be more effective. 

Building Your Image and Brand Recognition

Not all SEO content needs to be sales-oriented. In fact, Google (and other search engines) view content that provides value to users as the best content—and therefore worthy of being ranked higher in the search results. 

In addition, valuable content that educates and informs your audience positions your firm as an esteemed authority in your field. Blog posts and FAQs are instrumental in sharing your knowledge and establishing credibility. 

Likewise, Paid Display and Performance Max campaigns aren’t solely about immediate conversions; they’re designed to reach a curated customer profile and expand brand recognition. While this isn’t meant to imply that you won’t receive conversions from this platform—you certainly will—you’ll also have the benefit of amplifying your visibility in a way that drives both immediate action and long-term familiarity with your brand. 

Email marketing is an excellent platform for distributing content to existing and potential customers already familiar with your business, whether it’s a new blog or essential updates. This regular engagement deepens your relationship with your customer base, fosters brand loyalty, and encourages repeat business—all of which are key to helping your company grow. 

Social media platforms offer a window into your company’s culture and values for those in your target markets, which allows you to forge online relationships and cultivate brand recognition among your target audiences. 

Crafting a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy

While this guide doesn’t cover every digital marketing platform and its nuances, it does offer a general roadmap for crafting a successful digital marketing strategy. 

Keep in mind that the cornerstone of any successful digital marketing strategy lies in having a website that delivers a robust and seamless user experience; your website is the foundation that drives the success of all of these strategies and ties them all together. Learn more about creating a strong online presence here

4 Business Tips For “Pandemic Economy” Success

I was the guy who predicted that Covid-19 would dissipate by June 30th of 2020.  I was clearly wrong.  But I am willing to admit my shortcomings and say that this global pandemic will be affecting our economy, and how almost every business attracts new customers, for the majority of 2021, at least.  I wanted to share the over-arching strategies that I am sharing with my clients.

Here are four keys to selling more effectively throughout the duration of the pandemic — and beyond.

Improve your website

In this environment, your website has become more important.  You need to be able to show potential customers why they should work with you without the benefit of in person meetings or in store visits.  You need an efficient way to communicate hours of operation, how to reach you, steps you are taking to minimize the risk of spread of disease, the fact that you are still ready and able to serve customer needs and other critical information to potential and existing customers.  

Your website should also become an efficient way for consumers to understand what products you feature.  Improving product photos and descriptions, adding video to show examples of how your products work, or creating a video for service businesses so that customers can “meet” you virtually are all strong steps to engaging new customers.  That’s right, I said new customers. You probably need new customers now more than ever.  Your website can give them a reason to consider doing business with you.

When you acquire a new customer, go out of your way to make them feel welcome.  Follow up on product or service satisfaction.  Make sure that the customer knows that you are there to fulfill their needs and just thank them for their business.

Strengthen connections with existing customers

Your existing customer base is the “path of least resistance” to increasing sales.  If you have a customer service team, they are probably not as busy with clients coming in the door as they were pre-pandemic.  Have your team make calls directly to past customers to make sure that they are doing well and that your products are still working for them.  Email blasts that highlight product improvements and put a face to the names on the phone of your team are also effective.  If you have clients that have been adversely affected by the pandemic, and are having trouble paying their bills, reach out in a friendly manner and work on payment plans or other arrangements that make them understand that you are their partner in this difficult time.

It is important that you modify your customer service strategies to fit the needs of your customer base, and that you work a bit harder to cement customer relations.  Go the extra mile to understand how your customers prefer to communicate-via text message, email , phone call, social media or even snail mail, and then use that medium to keep in touch.

Leverage Your Experts

Online meetings and webinars have become the norm.  Many businesses have a CEO or internal experts in the different fields that they work in.  Have these leaders in your company be available for focus groups or just have them pop in to regular video conferencing meetings to greet customers and answer any questions that they may have. Making sure that customers know that they are valued by the industry experts and leaders in your firm will help to cement those relationships.

Get Tech Savvy

Your sales and customer service teams will undoubtedly become more digitally savvy as an outcome of Covid-19, and will continue to discover more tools that can help us connect virtually. Make sure that presentations are available via the website, even if they are password protected, to add a visual aid to conference calls if needed for those customers who still do not have web cams.  Make sure that your team has all of the tools that they need to effectively connect with your customer base, especially since many of them are working from home.   Supporting your team puts them in a position to achieve more, and their ability to service their customers does not go unnoticed by the customer base.

Conclusion.  There are no magical formulas to success in this difficult time.  It boils down to hard work and being willing to adapt and remain positive in the face of a challenging time.  Some businesses cannot even open and are doomed to fail.  This is a heartbreaking reality of this difficult time.  For the rest of us, we need to realize how lucky we are to be happy, healthy and still in the game. 

Ad Credits Might Be Coming To You From Google And Facebook

Both Google and Facebook have announced ad credits for customers.  

Google has stated that credits will appear in late May in the Google Ads accounts of small to medium-sized businesses who have advertised in 10 of the last 12 months on Google Ads. No application or other action on the part of advertisers is required.

Facebook has a limited geographic scope of their ad credits because for some reason the businesses need to be within a certain distance of a Facebook office.  Facebook requires an application and for users to be approved.  For more information on the application process, please click here.  Facebook has stated that if your location is not currently approved for the program, check back later as eligible areas may be expanded in the future.

Please remember that the team at Zenergy Works is sheltering in place, but we are fully operational and here to help.

Please stay safe and do not hesitate to let us know if we can help you in any way.

How COVID-19 Has Affected Google Ads Campaigns

The world is different than it was 90 days ago.  The same is true of trends in Google Ads Campaigns.  Consider the following traffic trends:

  • 25% less mobile search. More people are at home with laptops, desktops and tablets as opposed to handhelds.
  • More search is occurring late at night.  More people are at home and using the internet as a source of news and entertainment.
  • Some Industries Are Big Winners and Others Are Losing Traffic.  If you have resources that are useful to those limited by shelter in place, you are gaining traffic, but if you have travel related services, you may wish to consider shutting paid ads down and waiting it out.

What Can Be Done?

1. Revise Your Ad Dayparting

You can easily track your own campaigns performance by day of the week and hour of the day within Google Ads. Simply click “Segment,” then “Time” within Google Ads.  Even if you reviewed this recently, the performance has likely changed in March due to the outbreak of COVID-19.  You may see more search volume late night and if you typically do not advertise late night, you may wish to being doing so.

2. Revise Mobile Search Bid Adjustments

Mobile search is decreasing.  Review search traffic in both Google Ads and Google Analytics to better understand the search volumes of desktop and tablet vs. mobile devices.  I have seen some clients actually shift from positive bid adjustments on mobile to positive bid adjustments on desktop traffic.

3. Smart Bidding May Help

Google’s smart bidding strategies may help advertisers by automatically digesting changing data and adjusting their CPC bids in real time to match their goals.  This is especially helpful for those who have limited time and limited Google Ads Experience.

4. Be Open To New Platforms

More people at home may make advertising on YouTube for either keyword or affinity audiences a smart move.  Also consider adding Google Search Partners to your strategy if you have not already done so.  Google Display typically offers a tremendous amount of exposure for the cost involved, so consider using this platform if you are expanding services to help those in need or offering special pricing or incentives to your customers.

5. Consider Social Media Advertising

Facebook and Instagram have interesting social media advertising platforms.  This may be a time to reach a different audience while more people are using social media platforms to gain information and keep in touch with friends, co-workers and family.

Bob Dylan said “The Times They Are A Changin” and he was never more right than now.  This is a scary time for all, and while when it may end may be uncertain, the fact that it will end is certain.  The only constant in digital marketing is change, and it is happening now, and quickly.  Please contact us if you would like to consult with one of our Google Ads or Social Media ad experts.  We are offering a free one hour consultation to help any business that is trying to effectively market themselves in these trying times.

More resources for online advertising and COVID-19:

  • How the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Is Affecting Small Businesses & Marketers

How To Get Your Business Listed In The Local Pack On Google

The most common type of local pack is a list of 3 businesses featuring contact information for that business with links to the website or Google Maps page for that business.  Placement in this pack is important not only because of its prominence in search but also because of the ease of using these results when searching using a mobile device.  Google has been consistently reducing the number of businesses listed in the Local Pack on the first page of search results (from 7 to 3) over the last 2 years.  We will review the factors that will help to get your business listed in the Local Pack and how to effectively manage your Local Pack Map Listing.

Local Pack

Business information generally included in the local pack are the Name, Address, and Phone Number of Business (NAP). Other information may include business hours, star rating, and whether the business is currently open.

How to get into the Local Pack

In Local Packs, Google shows business listings, not websites, so to be featured in a Local Pack, you need to get a Google My Business page.

One of the prerequisites of getting into the Local Pack is to be ranked within the top 10 results for your local search query, which generally requires a great deal of effort be devoted to SEO optimization of your website.

Step 1: Claim and Optimize your Google My Business listing.

  1. Be sure to be consistent with NAP to the information listed on your website.
  2. Fill in correct business information.
  3. Add Photos.
  4. Make sure that you are listed in the proper category.
  5. Match the keywords in your Local Pack Listing to those featured in the H1 tags and page titles of your website.
  6. Verify your google listing.

Step 2:  Optimize your website for local SEO

  1. Scan website for on page SEO.  Use Google Search Console and a site scan tool like SEM Rush.
  2. Verify NAP on the website – BE EXACT.
  3. Create local citation sites(ie. Merchant Circle, Yellow pages online, etc) and be sure to match NAP on website and local map listing.
  4. Obtain locally relevant backlinks. Be sure to avoid spammy links.
  5. Add structured data markup.

As you can see from the list here, what used to be a simple process has become complex, time-consuming, and requires more than a little knowledge of Search Engine Optimization.   Because of the increased competition for the placements in the local map pack, not only must the list be fulfilled, but it requires more backlinks, more citation sites, and more exacting on page SEO and content strategy to gain rankings.

Eric Van Cleave is co-CEO of Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California SEO, and Digital Marketing Firm.

ADA Compliance For Websites – An Overview

I have received numerous inquiries about the new WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) that went into effect on June 5, 2018.   The specific questions are about lawsuits that are being filed against those that have websites that have serious accessibility problems for those with visual and sensory challenges.   All federal institutions’ websites must meet AA compliance on all items in WCAG 2.0 by January of 2018. The general consensus right now is that any business considered a “public accommodation” should have an ADA compliant web presence.  “Public Accommodation” is open to interpretation, but generally this refers to businesses that deal directly with consumers, (ie. retail, restaurants) or any business the general public should be able to access information about easily.

Full compliance with the  all of the 61 guidelines laid out in WCAG 2.0 to either AA or AAA level.   This is a daunting task and can require significant expense that is beyond the scope of what most small to medium sized businesses can afford.  The vast majority of websites that have been built in the last 2 to 3 years probably comply with most of the rules, and frankly, most of the websites on the internet are not in full compliance with the all 61 guidelines.  The major guidelines that can be difficult to comply with are listed below (Note:  this is not a exhaustive list of guidelines, just some of the more common sticking points):

  1. Your site must be fully navigable via keyboard only. This usually includes things like skip navigation buttons and can involve manually setting a tabindex everywhere.
  2. Your site should be navigable with screen reader software.
  3. Text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background, which can significantly impact your design.
  4. Your site must accommodate text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout problems.

The resources below are easy to use and can help you to understand how your website can become compliant.  Please be aware that compliance with the scans and information received from these resources will NOT guarantee that you cannot be sued for non-compliance, but they provide a good start.  The only way to ensure compliance with screen reader software and key board navigation is manual testing, which can be extremely expensive and time consuming, but is necessary the majority of the time to ensure full compliance with the applicable laws.

  1. WAVE is a good scan but can produce a lot of false positives, particularly for contrast ratio issues and picking up code like Google Tag Manager as positives.
  2. Lighthouse can help generate a report on potential issues.

As a practical matter, it is important to let those that visit your site know that you are working to comply with ADA requirements, and that you are completing all that you can do given your time and financial resources.   We have used the follow information page on a number of websites to explain our position on the matter.  We have created a footer link entitled “ADA Compliance”   We have set this page to “do not index” and link to an interior page that has the following message:

(Name of your Business Here) is committed to making its website usable by all people by meeting or exceeding the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG 2.0 AA).  We have conducted an accessibility review of this website and has remediated any issues identified during that review.

Please be aware that our efforts are ongoing as we incorporate the relevant improvements to meet WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines over time. If you have specific questions or concerns about the accessibility of this site or need assistance in using the processes found within this site, please contact us through our website contact form. If you do encounter an accessibility issue, please be sure to specify the page of our site and we will make all reasonable efforts to make that page accessible.

ADA Compliance is not only about mitigating risks of complicated and expensive litigation for your business, but also about creating solid communication with those that have challenges in accessing your business information.  Look at this as an opportunity to be a leader in a market that is currently underserved instead of just another government regulation designed to complicate your business.  Please also remember that these guidelines are complex and sometimes subject to interpretation, (Full Disclaimer: there is never a guarantee that you cannot be sued for non compliance) and while most websites do not currently comply with the full regulations, a good faith effort should be made by every website owner to comply with as many guidelines as possible.

Eric Van Cleave is Co-CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa California Digital Marketing Agency Specializing in SEO and Paid Marketing Management.

When Good Internet Goes Bad

When Good Internet Goes Bad

If you use sites like Slack, Imgur, Medium, Huffington Post, or even Apple, you might have noticed the major hiccup last week that left them running improperly or not loading altogether. There’s a lot of technical jargon that explains exactly why, but we’ll make it simple: Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud computing and storage arm, bugged out and affected up to 100,000 sites, some which experienced loading and delivery issues and others which went offline completely.

When we think of Amazon, we think of the retail powerhouse. However, Amazon has its fingers in many pies, and one of those pies happens to be providing servers, storage space, databases, network connectivity, hosting and lots more to companies in need of reliable web service. As with anything the company touches, they’ve become a go-to source for thousands of businesses, large and small. That’s understandable, given Amazon’s long history of being at the technological forefront of basically everything, but this incident reveals a bigger issue. Amazon reports that the glitch that caused this major outage occurred in a single data center in Virginia. Because of this one localized bug, huge swaths of the internet had a bad day.

When Good Internet Goes Bad

For many businesses, this sort of connectivity issue is anything but a minor problem. Companies that see large returns from online sales and services could really feel the sting of losing almost a day’s worth of sales. This is the trouble with entrusting your hosting and storage services to such a giant — they’re serving so many other people across so many different facilities that it’s difficult to keep any sort of direct control over the situation. If your site hosted through AWS goes down, who exactly do you call? Do you know which facility your servers are housed in?

Granted with Amazon’s extensive reach and manpower, they were able to remedy the issue within a day, but even so that’s multiple hours of inaccessibility. With such an enormous chunk of the internet under their control, it’s concerning that a single glitch in a single datacenter can bring so many sites down. For reference, a 2016 Gartner study revealed that 31% of the global cloud market is controlled by AWS. That’s nearly a third! It’s amazing how rarely we stop to consider how much we rely on the internet until it suddenly becomes inaccessible.

So, is there anything you can do to prevent issues like this in the future? Unlikely. As our technology expands, so to do the weaknesses we have to account for. When a single entity holds such a huge share of the global cloud market, it becomes more likely that a hiccup on their end could directly affect you and your business. It might be prudent to consider obtaining your hosting, storage and web services from a smaller business that isn’t spread so thin, and that you can contact directly with issues.

If you have any questions for us, please send us an email or give us a call!

Resources to Help You Hire Smart People

Hiring smart people seems like a pretty simple idea, right? Sometimes it’s easier said than done. If you are in the service industry it is crucial you hire the right people because your employees are the ones creating content, creating campaign initiatives and (hopefully) providing excellent customer service.

Many companies and managers take pride in the ability to read people and having the eye to pick out great talent, however, what should be lurking in the background of most businesses is recruitment software. Here is a list of the top recruitment software to consider when looking to acquire talent.

resources to hire smart people

Zoho, Recruiterbox, ICIMS, and Workable

Zoho is amazing because it is free to get started and it has great invoicing, CRM, and help desk offerings. Recruiterbox provides a free trial and a pay-as-you-go option if you prefer. ICIMS is great at attracting and engaging candidates, even if the potential employee isn’t quite ready to apply for the job. Workable helps enable hiring managers to submit job openings to multiple networks and hiring options easily.

Hiring the right person is incredibly important, because hiring the wrong person is costly to creating and upholding a successful business. Take your time and be sure the person is right for your company and the position they are interested in!


Website Spring Cleaning: Choosing The Right Agency


Choosing The Right Agency For Your Business

It’s Spring cleaning time for your website! It can be challenging to select the right fit for your web redesign efforts. Frequently, your needs aren’t met due to lack of research and background information on the agency you choose. Before selecting an agency, use these steps to guide you to the right decision for you and your business.

Coffee and a Plan!
When choosing an agency to work with:

  1. Identify your needs.
  2. Review the proposal.
  3. Consider their experience.
  4. Ask how it all works.
  5. Define a budget and timeline.

What Do You Need?
Admittedly a simple question, but it is vital in selecting the right agency. It’s tough for an agency to improve your web design if you don’t know what you need. Making a hierarchy list of your needs can help narrow the search. Some agencies specialize in different web design aspects. Knowing what you need is a great start.

The Proposal
Ah yes, the official proposal. This is a very helpful tool for assessing agencies. Many agencies display their prior work in their proposals. If the web design team has worked in your industry before, it’s a great sign for you. Check out their prior work to ensure that they are compatible with your web design vision.

The Development Team & Their Experience
The people working on your website are just as important as the website itself. If the company is local, go for a visit and meet with their team. If that’s not an option, rely on their previous work. High quality work usually implies a larger, experienced team. An experienced team can provide insight into the latest trends and techniques in web development.

How It All Works
Asking about the agency’s plan of attack is a great starting point. Any good agency has a set and direct process for how they work. The process may vary between projects, but the foundation should remain consistent. Asking about the process could provide helpful insight into the agency’s structure.

Cash Money
Now for the awkward part: the budget. This can be very helpful for you when comparing budgets and agencies. Does the quality fit the price? Does the timeline fit the price? These are all things to consider when deciding on a final budget.

Zenergy Works is always here for your SEO, online marketing, and web design projects. We aim to please! Feel free to contact us here.


Increasing Conversions on your Website in 2016

A How-To Guide for Converting Visitors into Customers

Online marketing is complex and sometimes baffling. One of the questions I often hear from my clients is about conversion. They have traffic, they need conversion. The elements below are a simplified checklist of items needed to create more conversions from your website.

Navigation and Usability

Your website visitors must be able to find what they’re looking for when they land on your site and be easily given sufficient data to encourage them to move ahead in the sales navigation_usabilitycycle. Your website visitors should know how to reach every other section of your site from anyplace on your site.

Website Usability is measured by whether the information is presented in a clear manner and whether the design meets visitors’ expectations.  Watch your competition and competitors in other verticals and geo markets to keep up with usability trends.  You never want to lose a potential customer based on the fact that your website is “so 2010”.

Responsive Design

Most studies show that most sites can expect to have roughly 50% of their visits from mobile users.   If you do not have a responsive design that delivers a good mobile user experience, you have committed website design malpractice and you need to correct this immediately.

Strong Call to Action

In the end, the only reason to bring organic, referral and paid search visitors to your website is to encourage them to take some sort of action. That might include a free evaluation, signing up for your newsletter or whitepaper, visiting a landing page or buying a low-priced product to enter your sales funnel.  Very few actions will occur without a strong call to action.  Visitors should know exactly what to do if they find your content or products to be solutions for their needs.  It is OK to have multiple calls to action that are different for different offers or client needs.

Brand Consistency and Imaging

Be consistent with your logo, color scheme, product descriptions to allow customers to gain a favorable impression of your company and its products.  Imaging should be carefully chosen to show customers using and enjoying the benefits of using your products and services.  Be consistent and proud of your brand.  If the brand reflects the true culture of your business, keep it in place, if not, get some help from a branding professional to bring it up to date.

zenergyworksTestimonials, Certifications and Awards

Your website visitors want to know that other customers have successfully worked with your company and enjoyed a positive experience with the products and services that  you offer.

Include customer testimonials praising your firm. Post case studies detailing customers’ success stories. Include new about awards, certifications, and honors that are bestowed upon your firm.   Do not under-emphasize the number of years you have been in business or the fact that your firm may be family-owned.  Once considered trite, these facts have meaning in today’s world.

Social Media Links

A strong social media presence can be a valuable asset for your business. If you’re not at least on Facebook or Twitter, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to connect with that audience.

Place social media links and icons on your site to encourage social engagement.  Customers liked to be reached in the medium with which they are comfortable.

Introducing zentiv:


Zenergy Works would like to announce the newest member of our family of companies — zentiv.

zentiv is a creative agency designed to help with branding, sophisticated graphics and design, product packaging, market research, social media and good old fashioned good marketing advice.



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