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Adis, Google Website Translator Widget

Google Recently Announced They Will No Longer Offer New Access to Google Translates Website Translator

NOTE: If you have a website that currently uses the Website Translator, you can still use it. For right now, this change only affects those businesses seeking new access to it. We will continue to monitor Googles forums and keep you updated about any sun setting or end of life announcements.

Does Your Website Need Localized Content? You Have Options

If you have a business with global reach or have a multi-lingual customer base, you are probably familiar with this widget. Over the years, we have routinely offered the Google Website Translator widget as a low-cost alternative for our clients who wanted their website content to be available in multiple languages. The service tied directly into the Google Translate API. What do we recommend now?

If a change in your business means you need website content in multiple languages, or your website currently uses Website Translator and you want to be prepared for the inevitable, you do have choices.

Option 1: Let the User Choose to Translate Your Website

Modern browsers, like Chrome, already support translation, so users will always be able to translate your website if they want. By aligning your strategy with Googles recommendation, "We encourage users looking to translate webpages to use browsers that support translation natively," the translation will be free. However, you are leaving the visitor experience up to chance; chance that your visitor is searching on a modern browser like Google Chrome, and chance that the content will be translated the way you need it to be translated. This could be a good strategy for entertainment and media types of websites where content is updated daily, but risky for product and service based websites where your voice needs to sound authentic to the locals you are targeting.

Option 2: Control the Translation

To have the most control of your content, you can use a cloud-based translation management service, like Bablic, to host the localized, or translated content and localization widget. These are, however, paid services, but can be worth the investment if what you offer doesnt translate easily.

If you need help choosing which option is right for your business, contact your dedicated account manager to talk about the pros and cons of each type of website translation service. We're here to help you make the marketing decisions that help you reach more customers.

About High Level Marketing

You can count on HLM to stay up-to-date and offer solutions for the changes in our industry that affect your business or your digital footprint. If you want to expand your market give your business a competitive edge with localized content, let HLM help you create the strategy to get you there. Contact Us Now.
Anatomy of an Ideal About Page

It's Time to Get Real with Your About Page

You love your website and its performing well. Thats great! Whats next? Conversions. Conversions, or events, can be just about any action you want someone to take, like filling out a lead form, calling your phone, signing up for a subscription, clicking a link, downloading something, buying something... Anything you want a visitor to do that can be counted by a computer. But wait- before you start thinking that changing a button color or adding a starburst, or offering a ridiculously low price are good ways to get more conversions, lets start with the something basic: Why do visitors go to your website? Answer: To learn more about your business.

Consider This: Most people coming to your website are not ready to take action.

Even if you offer emergency service, and the people visiting your site need emergency service, they are still deciding if they want to do business with you. So, how do you help them make up their mind? By being real. People want to do business with people. One of the first pages visitors go to after the Home page is the About page. They go there for one purpose; to see who you are, what makes you different, and what makes you better. And theres no better person to help create that content than you, the business owner.

Let Us Help You Create an Engaging About Page

In the last year, with all the algorithm updates and the general decline of trust for anything online, the About page has become one of the most essential pages for businesses to start earning consumer trust. Let us help fill yours with the personal content it needs to engage your visitors and convert them into leads. What do the best About pages include?

Your Story

Stories connect. Stories engage. Stories bring the human element to your business. Start your story by answering questions like these:

  • Are you family-owned and operated; are you on the 2nd or third generation?
  • Year you were established
  • What makes you passionate about your business?
  • What makes you get up every morning?
  • What do you specialize in?
  • What made you choose this line of work?
  • How do your customers describe working with you?

Your story is what makes you different from your competitors. Most people like to work with local businesses. So, even if the best part of your story is caring for or being active in your community, run with it.

Photo and Quote From the Owner

Do you have a personal creed? Do your customers work directly with you? Why not thank your visitor for considering you- as you know there are a lot of choices? A photo and a well written personal statement almost instantly earn trust from the consumer.

Guarantees or Value Propositions

What makes you the best person or company to hire for the job? People want to know they can count on your work and count on you to make it right in the event they have a less than 5-star experience. Your guarantee needs to be clear and it needs to something that reduces the risk for the consumer. For example, 'All Work Guaranteed is too vague. 'All work guaranteed by owner puts your reputation on the line and holds you personally accountable.

Photos of your Team, Crew, Leadership

As a customer, who will we be working with? What are their experiences, their passions, and why would we want to work with them? Whether you are a one-person team or 50, having pictures and a couple sentences about key people in your company will show your visitors there are real people ready to help them.


Back up your value proposition with a real customer experience. Nothing earns trust for your business like social proof that you are a good company to work with. Video testimonials are ideal, next best are written testimonials with a picture of the actual customer or the work you performed. You could also cite reviews from third-party sites, like Google My Business along with a link to that page. We use a combination of those three testimonials styles throughout our website.


Videos build trust and can increase conversions by up to 80%. A video tour of your facility, a personal guarantee from the owner, a stop motion video of a process or job, or testimonial are all great content to include on your About page.

Trust Badges or Good Practice Seals

Service Awards, BBB, Awards, and Associations naturally demonstrate the quality of your work. If you are a young business and not yet established in your community or industry, display recognizable awards or affiliations, prominently near the top of the page. This will help you earn instant credibility.


Are there milestone events that impacted growth or change in your business? A timeline uses photos and headlines to visually communicate your journey from struggle to success. Its especially useful for companies who add locations, add new product lines, experience acquisitions or rebranding. At the very least, if you are in a milestone year like 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, or 100, make sure you emphasize it somewhere on the page.

Bottom Line: When it comes to your About page, the sky's the limit. If it helps you earn trust, authority, or engagement, then include it.

Are you looking for more ways to bring authenticity to your website or stand out from your competitors? We can help! Contact us today and request a FREE STRATEGY SESSION.

A digital marketing expert will review your website, your marketing goals, and your current digital marketing strategy. If you agree with our recommendations wed love to partner with you. With 10 years experience and over a thousand satisfied clients, we know how to help your business stand out from your competitors and get you more leads.
How Do I Get My Website to Rank Higher with Search Engines?

Now, thats a million-dollar question. The truth is, there isnt a one-size-fits-all solution for getting your website to rank on page one of search results; its a combination of things called SEO. SEO is a strategy and process for making modifications to certain parts of your website, building citations, and managing your Google My Business, over time, to impact your websites performance in organic search results. In other words, search engine optimization is doing what it takes to meet the search engines requirements to steadily increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website.

To optimize your website effectively for search engines, it requires understanding search engine algorithms and making sure your website includes all the on-page and on-site details needed so your website gets crawled, indexed, and stays relevant with the search engines.

At first glance, these types of individual updates - link building, citation building, content development, increasing your digital footprint and reach- can seem easy to do. But together, when done with purpose, they send the right signals to the search engines for making your website and its content the best choice to recommend in search results. It takes a deep understanding of how search engines, like Google, work and the hundreds of factors used in their algorithms to crawl, index and rank the pages on your website. It takes an experienced SEO strategist like the ones at HLM to plan and execute a strategy that keeps your business in front of those most important to its success- search engines and potential customers.

What Can You Do to Help Improve Your Sites Overall Performance?

As your preferred SEO company, we do a lot to improve your ranking including publishing, updating, and optimizing content relevant to your topic clusters, writing the metadata and link building. But there are things that you, the business owner, can do to improve your website's performance that we cant do on your behalf.

Google has made several changes to their algorithms lately, but the big takeaway is that when it comes to your websites page quality, Google is placing E-A-T among the top 3 considerations. As Google transforms from a "search engine" to a "recommendation engine" it will use Expertise, Authority, and Trust to determine how valuable the information on your website is to the person performing the search. We help you meet Googles guidelines, both site-wide and page-wide, but there are some things you, the business owner, can do to assist us. Building more E-A-T into your website will not only help SEO it will also help keep your visitors engaged and ultimately lead to more conversions.

Here are some things you can do to feed Google's E-A-T criteria and help us increase your websites quality rating:

Create Video Content:

With a clearly defined purpose, original videos can be a powerful piece of content that will influence search engines and positively affect your overall SEO strategy.

Publish Original Blogs:

Original blogs (not re-posts of other peoples content) will not only help you keep fresh content on your website it will also help you build trust and authority for your brand.

Social Media Activities:

Links to relevant content on your social media sites help search engines understand your website, helps influences the topic clusters and keywords combinations that are relevant to your business.

Register with the Better Business Bureau:

Trust seals are a great way to establish credibility for your brand or service. BBB, Angies List, and Industry Certifications are all great to showcase on your website.

Build Your Online Reputation:

Get 5-Star Reviews on 3rd party review platforms like Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook, etc. The better your reputation online, the more your brand demonstrates expertise, authority, trust to search engines and potential customers.

Showcase Awards:

Whether youve been recognized for your work or your workplace, your website is the perfect place to showcase your awards and accolades.

Use Real Photos:

People want to know who theyre working with. When used on your About Us page and throughout your website, real photos (even imperfect ones) will help legitimize your business and ultimately increase trust with your visitors.

Have a Legit Guarantee:

A clearly articulated guarantee of work can provide instant trust and credibility, which will lead to more conversions.

When it comes to optimizing your website for search engines and conversions, let HLM do the heavy lifting. We have an entire team of SEO, content, and analytics experts who understand your business and how to make digital marketing work for you. Contact us today to talk about our SEO program and getting more E-A-T into your website.
Why That 2-Star Review is Killing Your Business

Your Online Reputation is Now, More Important Than Ever

Even businesses without reputation issues need to regularly attend to their digital identity. Monitoring your online reputation and keeping it clean are integral parts of building and sustaining your business. And with Google acknowledging at least 10% of their ranking algorithm is based on reviews, reviews are more important than ever.

New Technology for Early 2019

In 2019, HLM released a cutting edge Reviews Management solution as part of our Footprint Dashboard. Our review solution specializes in helping you get more 5-star reviews to promote your business to search engines and new customers alike

Meet ACE

Lets Build Your Positive Online Presence


Getting honest and consistent positive online reviews is key to building your online reputation.

  • 92% of consumers regularly read online reviews before they make a decision.
  • 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
  • 40% of consumers develop an opinion about a brand after reading 1 to 3 reviews.

HLM will soon be offering an all-in-one customer feedback and Google review solution.

Our review technology will make it easier for you to get Google reviews, which are critical to ranking well. Our system will be very simple. You just add a customers email and the system will do the rest. First, it will send your customer an email asking them on a scale of 0-10 if they would recommend you. If the person selects a 9 or 10, the system will ask them to leave you a Google review. Not only will you get more Google Reviews, but you'll also be getting valuable customer feedback data.


Incorrect business listings can cause a frustrating customer experience and hurt your search rankings. Monitoring and updating local business listings (citations) has become a critical component of online reputation management and local search optimization strategy.

HLMs Footprint Core70 citation technology maintains the quality and consistency of your local business listings by continually monitoring your data on the top tier local directories. We create new citations, build industry context citations, provide data cleansing, and prevent online listing hijacking.

Google is the most prominent provider of search, maps, apps, and voice assistants on which your business can be found by consumers, but manually updating your digital data can be a painful process. Thanks to HLMs integration with Google My Business, we can make updates to the facts about your business directly in our platform and publish them to Google in real-time.

Your Online Reputation and Ranking

Google receives 'trust signals from positive reviews, accurate online listings and web pages that are continually refreshed with new content -- then ranks your business higher in search results allowing customers to find and do business with you.

Contact us today to find out more about how HLMs products and services can help your online reputation.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!
2 Words You Can Say to Get More Sales

When was the last time you said, 'thank you and truly meant it? Powerful words, 'thank you. And yet, most days we take them for granted. As children, were taught to say 'please and 'thank you as a demonstration of good manners. As adults, we casually mutter them out of the corner of our mouths as a polite gesture.

The Power of Appreciation

If youre like many people, Thanksgiving is a time for reflection. A time we give thanks for big things like spending the day with friends and family, our good health, our livelihood, or the opportunity to lift up those less fortunate. We give thanks for the things we have and the things we hold close to our heart.

This Thanksgiving I encourage you to dig a little deeper and, in addition to being thankful, express gratitude. If youre a successful business owner, I bet you didnt get there by yourself. I didnt. I had a lot of help; starting with support from my family, business mentors, business partners, and an entire team of dedicated employees. I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given, but I am grateful to the people who helped me turn those opportunities into successes.

This Year, Reimagine Success

As business owners, its easy for us to measure success by a number. But truth is, the real measure of a companys success isnt found on a spreadsheet. The true measure of a companys success is engagement. Engaged customers become your companys advocates. Engaged employees become champions for your companys success. For both, engagement starts with two words: 'Thank You.'

Sure, you still need to hit your numbers. But I promise you, by practicing gratitude and engaging the people around you, the numbers will follow. Have you ever wondered why it is so easy to thank someone for a small gesture of holding a door for us, but so difficult to thank people who are essential to helping us become, and remain, successful in our endeavors? I dont think its because we take people for granted. I just think weve forgotten the importance and power of showing appreciation. Weve forgotten how meaningful it can be to look someone in the eye and express a sincere 'thank you.'

This Year, Be Engaged

Everyone likes to feel valued. A personal 'thank you shows your employees, your team, your customers, and your partners that you value the relationship. For your employees, its an opportunity to make a connection and to express that the work they do is important to the success of the company. It builds loyalty. And the satisfaction they feel from being engaged and appreciated will be paid forward to their coworkers and your customers. Happiness breeds happiness. So, this year, make it your goal to regularly thank your employees. Shake a hand. Make eye contact. Be involved. Show gratitude.

And remember your customers, too. They need to know you value their business. Customers rarely decide to choose a different company based solely on cost or performance. Most often, they leave due to lack of engagement. Theres a lot of competition out there. Actively communicating with your customers, demonstrating value, and taking a moment to show your appreciation for their continued business is vital to your companys success.

This Year, Accept a Challenge

This year I am challenging myself, and all of you, to express gratitude. Take time to tell people how much they are appreciated. Do it this year because its good for your business; keep doing it because its good for your soul. Happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU! for your continued business with us.

Reminder: HLM will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov 22-23, in observance of Thanksgiving.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, our primary goal is to educate and empower business owners to understand their digital marketing options so they can make the best decisions for growing their businesses. Our proven strategies effectively drive traffic to our clients' websites and convert more visitors into qualified leads. If you're ready to partner with a company focused on growing your business, contact us and...

Let's Talk About Your Business!
Advancing Our Support: More People, More Accessibility

2018 has been a pretty amazing year for us- weve won a couple of awards, hired some talented new people, and started rolling out the technology and products that will make it easier for both of us to manage the success of your digital marketing strategy. What does this mean for you?

We're Doing More to Meet Your Expectations

A huge part of ensuring your strategys success is agreeing on what success means for your business month-over-month and year-over-year. For our new clients, it starts with agreeing on expectations, deliverables, and what data we use to measure success.

For those reasons and more, we are excited to introduce our most recent hire, Grant Kravitz, HLMs VP of Delivery. Grant brings to the HLM team 20 years of experience building strong client relationships with some of the most recognized Fortune 500 companies, such as Sony PlayStation, eBay, Kellogg's, Disney, Nestle, and Taco Bell. His primary focus is to ensure our team meets your needs and expectations, and that we have a clear and consistent delivery of service, products, and support that meets HLMs high standards.

We're Doing More for Customer Support

Early 2019, we will be rolling out a new support section in your Performance Dashboard. What does this mean for you? More accessibility! Right now, we have an amazing customer support team who answers your questions by phone and email. In 2019, youll still be able to call or email us for support, but this new portal provides one more way to get the support you need. Simply click open your HLM Performance Dashboard any time, day or night, and submit your request online. Youll be able to monitor the status of all your requests (phoned in, emailed, or online) as well as access FAQs and other helpful articles, all in one convenient location. Keeping you informed is just one way for us all to be on the same page.

When you partner with HLM, you not only get an entire team of experienced, data-driven, marketing professionals, you get a digital marketing company that continually invests in the teams and technology to ensure your success.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, our number one goal is to help you grow your business. That means providing you with the tools and education to understand your market and your options. We've invested thousands of hours developing the technology and resources to ensure the strategy we recommend can drive more traffic to your site and convert more visitors into qualified leads. Stop wishing your website did more for you. Contact HLM and...

Let's Talk About Your Business!
The Best Halloween Costume for Business this Year

Halloween, the time of year we get to dress up for a party or two and disguise ourselves as someone (or something) were not. And its fun to play the part, too. But everyone participating in Halloween activities knows the real you is under the costume. No one expects you to be able to cast a spell, or have superhuman strength, or rule the universe.

But what happens when you portray your business as something its not? Nearly every week I hear at least one of the requests below (and several others) from small business owners:

  • I want my website to make my business look bigger.
  • My photos arent good enough, can you pick a stock image?
  • My office (or vehicles) arent that attractive, can we show something else?

These types of requests are asking us to put a costume on your business. Even if you have the best intentions to grow your business, or you can do the things the stock photo is showing, or you want to avoid showing the real you, this kind of misrepresentation of your business can be dangerous.

Dont pretend to be something youre not. Theyll find out eventually.

This is the new age of business. People no longer expect perfection. What they crave is authenticity. A real company they can trust. And that means putting the real you out there. Stock photos look fake, an About page without an owner, group, or business photo looks fake, and a website that shares the same content as other similar companies, you guessed it...looks fake. And guess what, even if you're able to fool a potential customer into giving you their contact info because your website makes you look bigger, when it comes time to deliver, your customer will figure it out. Its only a matter of time. Worse yet, trying to look bigger than you are might actually turn away great customers who are looking for a company exactly your size.

If youre a duck, quack like one.

Youre better off showing your real self, the data proves it. An o.k. picture of your trucks, office, or crew, taken with your cellphone, will outperform the best stock images out there. Potential customers wont bounce because your pictures are a little blurry or a little dark. They will appreciate seeing exactly who will show up at their door to help them out. Youll be setting the right expectations; your customers will be choosing you for the right reasons, and because everyone is in alignment, everyone will experience greater satisfaction.

This Halloween, dress up, be something youre not for a night, and have a blast! But for your business, keep it real, be authentic, and show people how great your business really is. The best business Halloween costume this year is being true to your brand. You might not win a costume contest, but youll certainly win over customers.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!
Bye, Bye, Google+

By now, you may have heard Googles decision to discontinue Google+. Google+ was launched seven years ago in an effort to create its own social networking site. With it came the Google+ and +1 buttons you see on most websites created or updated between 2011 and 2018, including the ones built here at HLM.

Google + and SEO

Like any new app, Google experienced high user engagement. For a while, it seemed Google was favoring conversations on active Google+ users by promoting them in search results. Google+ was favored over Google Places (now known as Google My Business.) And, for a while, with Search Plus Your World, your search results were personalized by including results based on what your Google+ Friends searched. However, as Google stopped pushing Google+, user engagement declined. In fact, 90% of todays sessions on Google+ for the consumer sees less than a 5-second engagement.

What does this mean for your business?

  • If you are an HLM client, your SEO and SEO strategy will not be affected.
  • Over the next 10 months, Google will begin to discontinue Google+, until its final day sometime in August 2019.
  • Over the next 10 months, Google will be providing detailed information about the process, including ways to download or migrate your personal or business data.
  • During this transition, HLM will be first be testing replacements for Google+ buttons on websites. Once the data is in on the best replacement strategy, we will be updating your website.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, our primary goal is to help you grow your business. Pulse on the Industry is our monthly publication reviewing a relevant industry topic that could impact your business. Keeping you informed about industry and market trends is just one way we enable you to stay in control of your digital marketing efforts. When you partner with High Level Marketing, youre not left to figure out what your next step should be. We help you keep on top of the trends, understand your market, and make important decisions to connect with more customers and get more leads.

Let's Talk About Your Business!
Partners in Data: A Different Kind of Team

High Level Marketing is more than an SEO company. We are your digital marketing partner -- arming you with the data, strategy, and support you need to make informed marketing decisions that will grow your business. Using technology and data analytics, we evaluate the competitors in your market and identify opportunities for ranking above them in Google, Bing, and other search engines and provide the insights to you in one easy to understand performance dashboard.

Every member of our team is your trusted resource

We take our partnership seriously. For the past 10 years, weve taken a client-centric approach for creating customized websites and SEO solutions that support our clients' business growth goals. Through that experience, weve learned that every client is different and so are their needs. As a true marketing partner, we make it our business to understand yours. Each member of your HLM team will have a thorough knowledge of your market, your goals, and your unique challenges, so we can all work together to ensure your needs are met.

Taking SEO to the next level

Recently we added an experienced Digital Data Analyst to our SEO team.

What does this mean for our clients?

  • Our websites and SEO strategies will constantly be aligning with Google's ever-changing algorithms
  • Our clients' performance dashboards will display the data most relevant to growing their businesses
  • We will be collecting data by industries and markets, allowing us to be more predictive in our recommendations
  • We can offer custom reporting that will allow us to monitor or test just about anything

Improving your SEO performance

Search engine optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. Our data experts must continually keep an eye on industry news, take search engine changes and updates into account and be experts at using data to its full potential.

Its important to monitor your website usability, traffic sources, visitor profiles, and conversion statistics. We use tools like Google Analytics and our own Footprint™ technology to mine your data and explore the depths of your digital performance to measure and track the success of your business SEO strategy.

What we do

Measure: Collect and measure the right data
Analyze: Turn your data into actionable insights that drive revenue-making decisions
Optimize: Increase your conversion and provide your customers with the best experience

What we track

  1. Search engine referrals
  2. Visits referred by specific terms and phrases
  3. Conversion rates for pages, forms, and phone calls
  4. Page visits by search engines
  5. And a lot more

With the tools and technology available today, we can measure just about anything. And if you want to compete online, it's important to partner with a digital marketing company that uses technology and data to drive decisions. As we continue to invest in our digital partnerships, our customers will benefit from the data we collect and analyze not just from their own businesses, but for their entire industry. Keeping you ahead of your competitors; that's just one more way High Level Marketing helps you grow your business.

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors and...

Let's Talk About Your Business!
How UX is Evolving and Why It Matters to Your Business

By: Chris Ditty, Creative Director

Looking back over the history of how we (High Level Marketing) create blog articles- online nuggets of information that are intended to be helpful to those researching a particular topic- I realized that our approach is similar to most other brands, companies, and organizations- informative, but not always personal.

Now, thats not always a bad thing, as most of the people finding and reading our articles are looking for professional insight on the topics we choose to share our insights and thoughts about. That being said, in consideration of this article, "How UX is Evolving and Why It Matters to Your Business", it occurred to me that one of the most critical aspects of how UX (User eXperience) is evolving is in delivering a more personalized 'experience to our (and your) clients and customers.

Its no secret that the technology we rely on and use every day is evolving at a pace thats almost impossible to keep up with! For many of us, we grew up in an era where phones were heavy, clunky metal shells with a rotary dial (or buttons, if you were lucky!) that were incredibly satisfying to slam down when hanging up on someone. Cell phones, social media and 'apps simply didnt exist. The experiences we had with big brands and local businesses was entirely personal. Whether in-person or over the phone, our interactions with everyone from an HVAC technician, Plumber or Roofer, to purchasing food and basic household goods were all ultimately done face-to-face with someone else.

What Ive always found fascinating is that todays technology arose as a means of making our lives easier, more productive, and for the most part, better all around. Ironically, the more technology continues to evolve, the more personally disconnected we all seem to become. Yes, you can always catch up with family and friends via a quick text, or shoot them an occasional message on any of the numerous social media channels there now are. Heck, we can now shop for everything from groceries and clothing to home goods and vehicles without ever having to formally speak to another human being, let alone interact with them in person! At the end of the day though, technology has fundamentally challenged and changed our 'experiences with others.

So, Why Does This All Matter to You and Your Business?

For the last 30+ years, designers and engineers have struggled to make software and the devices they run on as easy and intuitive to use as their physical counterparts. Today, its now the reverse- physical experiences are struggling to catch up to digital. Right now, AI (Artificial Intelligence) is taking off- so much so that it is now changing the way people interact with their devices. As a result, this now means the way businesses interact with their target market (your target market) will have to evolve as well.

While many businesses, especially the majority of small businesses that make up the backbone of our economy, are struggling to simply be found online and maintain a respectable website that appeals to their target audience, the reality is that were looking at a not so distant future in which a touchless conversational interface becomes the norm.

Consider Apples new iPhone X, for example. It no longer requires pin codes or even a touch ID. iPhone X users can now simply look at their smartphone to turn it on. The less we use our screens, the more well start to see them disappear as technology continues to evolve towards greater convenience and less clutter.

Today, there are now smart home 'hubs like Alexa, which only require a simple verbal command to launch a personalized routine, like, "Alexa, good morning," to turn on your living room lights, adjust your homes temperature, brew your coffee and tune your TV to the morning news. Theres also Microsofts Cortana, who, just like any actual assistant, has a notebook (albeit a virtual one) to track what she knows about you to evolve and do her job of organizing your life and helping you access the information you need online, better.

Ready or not, the next evolution in technology- less action required from us humans and more independence on the part of machines- is here. And just in case you doubt that assertion, the reality is that we already have Siri, Google Assistant, Tay, Cortana, Alexa and the next generation of AI interfaces gaining more autonomy in an effort to continue making our lives 'easier.

Just two short years ago (in 2016), Google claimed that 20 percent of mobile queries were voice search. By 2020, it is predicted that half of all searches wont require a screen at all.

How Conversational User Interfaces Are Changing the User Experience

As a business owner, stakeholder, or anyone else invested in the success of your business, the real question is, "where will customer expectations be thanks to the growth of voice-activated searches, and how will you meet these expectations?" Adjusting to this new technology is about more than just creating voice-friendly keywords- Its about shifting the perspective on your customers UX.

While doing my due diligence and researching a variety of studies and resources on this topic, I came across a fantastic article in a recent issue of Adweek magazine that I felt did a stellar job of discussing the evolution of user experience. As a result, I wanted to share of a couple of excerpts exactly as they were written, as me trying to paraphrase them wouldnt do them any justice...

"In an omnichannel world, the user experience starts long before customers put their hands on the product or download the app. It encompasses everything from advertising and website design to social media, retail displays, packing, [...] the help they receive from a salesperson, or a chatbot and the subject line on the emailed receipt.

'When people think about Adidas [for example], they dont think, 'Heres Adidas the shoe, heres Adidas the box, heres Adidas the app, heres Adidas the retail experience, [...] theyre just thinking, "This is Adidas."

Managing all of that is an enormous challenge, and few brands are doing a consistently good job of it, says Kevin Kearney, VP of Product for global design firm Elephant.

'Part of the reason is that brands have never had to manage so many touch points before, which often involves multiple internal teams and external agencies that, lets be honest, arent always talking to each other, Kerney says. 'Were constantly coordinating across business units and asking questions like, "Is the team running the Facebook account handling support? Whos determining the hashtag strategy on Instagram and what does that tie to? Why are the point-of-purchase screens in channel not aligned with whats on the websites product page, and why is that messaging completely disconnected from the current advertising campaign?"

Another common problem with UX design is that brands put too much emphasis on visual elements and not enough on the experience theyre actually providing, says Andrew Hogan, Senior Analyst on Experience Design and Interfaces for Forrester Research.

'They get really focused on User Interface (UI) design, like what color the buttons on the mobile app should be, Hogan says. 'They dont actually get at the deeper stuff, like whether this product is good or useful in any real way.

In addition to all of that, keeping up with the frenetic pace of technological change is a challenge for everyone, says Jonathan Goldmacher, Managing Director for the New York office for Business Transformation firm Valtech.

'So much of the space is continuing to evolve with things like voice, augmented and virtual reality, its difficult to say anybody is doing it amazingly, he says. 'But theyre doing good jobs in parts of it."

From User Interface (UI) to Conversational Interface (CI)

While a typical user interface (UI) includes all of the visual elements that we interact with when communicating with a device- buttons, icons, pictures, etc., Conversational Interfaces (CI) refer to those interfaces that react and respond to human conversational language. In other words, rather than communicating with a device via traditional keyboard commands or clicking icons as most of us do now, we will be interacting with our devices as if we were speaking to another person.

Existing CIs include chat-boxes, which involve typed communication, and voice assistants, which are the screenless, touchless variety that consumers are continuing to fall in love with. More importantly, Conversational Interfaces can work with any device, from traditional desktop computers to modern smartwatches. They can even connect 'smart electronics like home security systems, lighting, and your TV. At the same time, they can also connect with any app or social media platform, as well as certain retail sites, as Amazon has now made possible through their Alexa-based devices.

At the end of the day, what this all means to us- as business owners trying to improve the overall experience with our brands- is that we need to be paying more attention to how our clients and customers are interacting with this technology.

A More Fluid and Audible UX

Again, whether we are ready for this evolution or not, Conversational Interfaces will continue to change the user experience in a variety of ways. The most important of which is that they are encouraging people to be more engaged with their devices, and they are ushering in a more hands-off experience- meaning voice, which is opening the proverbial doors for more audio-driven content.

Todays consumers dont just use; they RELY on their smartphones, smartwatches, and other devices to help facilitate their everyday life and work, from checking the weather to scheduling appointments. With voice assistants, all of this happens with a few words, versus having to tap a couple of icons, type, swipe, and/or push. This makes relying on our personal devices to get things done even more intuitive and easier than ever.

What this all boils down to is that the more consumers use voice AI to accomplish small tasks, the more businesses like us (and you!) are going to find innovative and useful ways to integrate our products or services into this new evolution of consumer-brand interaction, such as...

  • Ordering a product
  • Sending a customer service request
  • Upgrading software
  • Scheduling an appointment
  • Renewing a subscription
  • Listening to online reviews -- having a voice assistant transcribe online reviews
  • Posting a video
  • Sharing a link

In terms of what this means to your digital marketing strategy, the shift to Conversational Interfaces will likely impact everything from content marketing to SEO. For example...

  • Instead of reading a blog post on a website, people may opt to listen to it being read by their voice assistant while driving to work. How will this change the way blogs are written?
  • Will podcasts take a more prominent content role as consumers grow accustomed to hands-off interaction? How will podcast content change to offer the more direct, to-the-point answers that consumers are looking for?
  • Will emails, like other written content, be listened to rather than read? Will Conversational Interfaces be able to sift through the content a user may find relevant, clearing their inboxes for them? How will this change email marketing?
  • Search will change even more. Keywords will need to be better aligned with voice search queries, and SEO strategies are necessarily going to evolve to be focused more on more concise answers to direct questions.

Tell Me Again Why This All Matters to Me and My Business

A positive user experience is also an emotional one. UX is not just about how things look and feel; its about how those details make your customers feel about your brand.

Delivering a more personal experience isnt just about how we leverage technology- its about genuinely understanding our target market, caring about their needs and wants, and treating them the way they want to be treated. For all of us at HLM, and for me personally, this starts with taking a more 'conversational approach in our writing. Hence me including my name as the author of this article and 'talking to you directly throughout the entirety of it.

Whether you read this on a desktop or listened to it being read to you by Alexa or any of her friends, I hope that you will have learned something new while enjoying a positive experience with High Level Marketing!

How Do You Optimize Your Companys Website For Conversational User Interfaces? Give HLM a Call!

Lets face it, as technologies and the way people use them continue to evolve, successfully marketing your business in todays world can be a monumental challenge.

At High Level Marketing, the sole purpose behind everything we do is empowering small business owners like you to leverage todays technologies to best position your brand in front of the very people who are looking for the services you offer and more importantly, drive them to call YOU instead of your competitors.

Weve worked with numerous businesses of almost every kind throughout the U.S. to develop effective websites and digital marketing strategies that drive traffic and convert leads! Check out our portfolio or contact us today for a FREE initial strategy session.

Let's Talk About Your Business!
Wed love to help!
Choosing the Right Vendors for Your Small Business

Carefully selecting and managing vendors is an essential function of running any small business. The best practices are based on building trust and solid relationships. When choosing a supplier, think about how your business relationship will fare short-term and for the long haul.

Decisions, decisions

Why do owners choose one vendor over another?

Cost - Service and product costs are not the only concepts to consider. The cost to your bottom line, the cost of not trusting the vendor and the cost of partnering with a company with a bad reputation are all worth examining.

Capability - Vendor expertise is vitally important. Smart suppliers know the trends in their industry and can bring that knowledge to you. Vet suppliers who offer the latest, most advanced products and services, and have made the investment in well-trained employees.

Communication - Vendors should communicate clearly, regularly and honestly -- without being too aggressive. Expect transparency and excellent communication (good, bad or indifferent) on a consistent basis.

Character - Quantifying a companys character lies within its reputation. What appears when you search online for a vendor is just as important as signing a contract. Hire suppliers with a solid history of positive reviews and business longevity. More importantly, look for vendors that have a track record of "doing the right thing."

Gameplan guidelines

Define your objectives, milestones and expectations - Many growing businesses select vendors based on cost alone because every dollar counts. However, consider other aspects like reliability and owner availability when making your decision.

Do your research - Collect information on several vendors and narrow the vendor field by asking questions. Does their business have a professional website. Do their company values align with yours? Does a human answer the phone when you call?

Get referrals - Professional referrals can steer you away from trouble and direct you to companies with good local reputations.

Consider location - Stop by the vendors place of business. Shipping costs drop and face-to-face meetings are more convenient when vendors are local.

Establish good communication - Keep the lines of communication open and ensure that the contract, price and timeline work for both parties. You should always know exactly what youre paying for.

Monitor performance - This is particularly important in the beginning stages of the relationship. Until the working relationship is well-established, monitor the vendors performance to make sure it upholds the terms of the contract.

Productive post-mortem

Ask these questions before hiring again

  • What did you like best about working with the vendor?
  • What made you select them in the first place?
  • How flexible was the vendor with regard to process or changes?
  • Did they communicate status and risks in a timely manner?
  • Were there any hiccups on the project or things to be aware of or manage closely?
  • Are there any individuals that worked on the project that you wouldnt choose to work with in the future?
  • Did the vendor go above and beyond in any way?
  • Were there any unforeseen benefits in working with them?
  • Were there any hidden or surprise costs either before or after the project?
  • What are the vendors biggest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Would use you them again for a future project?

Choosing vendors is an important part of your businesss success. Vendors can turn into partners, and help small businesses grow into big businesses. If you havent already, make selecting reliable and stable vendors part of your overall growth plan. Your business will thank you for it!

As a 'vendor ourselves, we take pride in exceeding expectations, and strive to go above and beyond for each client every day. To learn more about High Level Marketings digital marketing packages, contact us today!

About High Level Marketing

At High Level Marketing, the primary goal behind everything we do is educating and empowering small business owners like you to understand your options in an effort to make the best marketing decisions that will help grow your business. We develop effective digital marketing campaigns that drive traffic and convert leads. Stop losing leads to your competitors...

Let's Talk About Your Business!
The Increasing Importance of Customer Reviews

As a business owner (or the point person responsible for managing your companys marketing efforts), it should be no secret that your companys reputation is its most valuable asset. What people say about your business matters, and that's especially true when it comes to what people are saying and sharing about your business online.

Sadly, too many small businesses dont make review management a priority. They often think because they serve a localized base of customers that what people are saying about them online is irrelevant. However, this couldnt be further from the truth!

Lets be clear... Online reviews of your business are EXTREMELY important! According to a 2014 Survey of Local Customers by BrightLocal...

  • 88% of respondents read/used reviews to determine the quality of a local business; an overwhelming majority of respondents, 93%, said they checked reviews before dining or shopping. This means no matter how good your website is, or how compelling your offering, your customers will seek out other opinions. Having a strategy to earn, manage, and respond to reviews is a must.
  • 85% of respondents to the BrightLocal survey read up to 10 different reviews while researching their purchase, pointing to the fact that customers arent blindly accepting the first review they read, but triangulating the feedback they find to get the real story behind a business. (That ought to be encouraging for businesses, as it means one terrible review is unlikely to sink you. But shoppers do weigh reviews heavily.)
  • 88% of respondents said they trusted online reviews as much as theyd trust a personal recommendation (overwhelmingly the most trusted form of advertising by consumers, according to Nielsens Trust in Advertising Report), though the caveat is that reviews had to be authentic, and there had to be enough of them to make a judgment call.

The single most important takeaway here is that what people say about your business online matters... A LOT! It could very well be the difference between whether they choose to work with you or call on one of your competitors.

First, Understand That Not All Reviews Are Equal

I know what youre thinking... its obvious that positive reviews are a good thing and negative reviews are a bad thing. However, something to consider as a small business owner is that having no reviews at all can also have a negative impact on your businesss ability to attract new customers. Todays consumers are much more tech-savvy than ever, so when the average person is glued to his or her smartphone on a daily basis, you can bet your last dollar that theyre Googling your business before using it, especially if theyve never heard of you before.

The big problem with having few to no reviews is that finding little to no information tells them that youre either a new business with no social support or worse... people care so little about you that youre not even on their radar. However, just a few positive reviews can reassure potential customers that youre worth checking out!

Bottom line, lots of honest, authentic reviews means people trust your business, which in turn is a great marketing tool that has real power to attract new customers.

You Know You Need Reviews, But... Dont Fake It!

Not having any reviews doesnt mean you should fall into the trap of buying or creating fake reviews. Its fairly easy to spot a series of made-up comments, as they tend to be overly descriptive and written in a way that just sounds, well... fake.

95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they dont see any bad scores. If youre called out with fake reviews, the damage to your business may be irreparable. Nobody likes a liar, so dont make yourself out to be one.

Lets Talk About Negative Reviews For a Minute

Did you know that businesses risk losing 22% of consumers who would have bought from them when there is a negative review? This is based off just one poor review! If you have three or more negative reviews, the chance of losing customers jumps to nearly 67%. Four or more negative reviews can turn as many as 86% of your potential customers away. Think about that for a minute- It only takes a handful of negative reviews to deter 86% of prospective customers from contacting you.

The reality is that bad reviews can negate all the time, money and energy you put into building a successful business. This is why its so important to take care of your customers! One upset customer leaving a negative review can open the floodgates for many others to add their two cents. Taking care of your customers and providing exceptional service will pay dividends in attracting new customers.

If you are faced with negative reviews, the single best course of action is to tackle them head-on in a genuine effort to improve your service. Research suggests when retailers replied to negative reviews on social media and online review sites, a third of those customers either deleted their original negative review or replaced it with a positive review. In fact, if a business resolves a negative review quickly and efficiently, 95% of unhappy customers will return to your business.

Positive Reviews Can Turn Interested Searchers Into Customers

A study by Search Engine Land in 2014 found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The study also found that 68% of consumers say that positive reviews improve the trustworthiness of a local business. Based on this information, its obvious positive reviews can bring customers to your business who are ready and willing to buy. But for the sake of being thorough, here are few additional statistics that will help reinforce the importance of cultivating more positive reviews for your business...

  • 92% of consumers now read online reviews
  • Only 8% of consumers never search for a business online
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion after reading just one to three reviews
  • 73% of consumers form an opinion after reading up to six reviews
  • 88% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to ten reviews
  • 94% of consumers would use a business with a 4-star rating
  • 57% of consumers would use a business with a 3-star rating
  • Only 14% of consumers would consider using a business with a one or two-star rating
  • 30% of consumers assume online reviews are fake if there are no negative reviews
  • Reviews produce an average of 18% uplift in sales

And just in case you doubt the power of Yelp...

  • There are 26, 830 reviews posted every minute by Yelp users

Why Online Reviews Matter for Local SEO

According to MOZ's Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews now make up 10% of Google and the other search engines algorithms as they evaluate a given site to determine how it will rank in relevant search results. That being said, its more important than ever to make sure youre encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews, as well as address any negative reviews you receive as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, reviews matter more than you realize, so be sure to make managing them a priority for your business!

Fast forward to the end of 2018, and the reality is that the experiences and opinions expressed on review sites like Google, Yelp, Angies List, and even Facebook can mean the difference between success and failure, especially if you are in the food, hospitality or residential service industries.

How Do You Ensure Your Customers Are Happy and Wont Leave Negative Reviews? Give HLM a Call!

If nothing else, we hope this post has opened your eyes to the need to develop a strategy for responding to online reviews. When managed well, reviews can be a huge business generator, as well as key indicators of areas your business is succeeding in and areas where improvement is needed.

At High Level Marketing, the sole purpose behind everything we do is empowering small business owners like you to leverage todays technologies to best position your brand in front of the very people who are looking for the services you offer and more importantly, drive them to call YOU instead of your competitors.

Weve worked with numerous businesses of almost every kind throughout the U.S. to develop effective websites and digital marketing strategies that drive traffic and convert leads! Check out our portfolio, or contact us today for a FREE strategy session.

Let's Talk About Your Business!
Wed love to help!


All stats sourced from, BrightLocal, Business2community, Bazaarvoice, webrepublic, reprevive, Econsultancy, business2community, Reevoo and Social Media Today