Sanford Wilk

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With an MBA from Tulane, plus two undergrad degrees in design, Sanford manages in a way that combines both the operational precision and drive of an MBA with a keen eye for creative detail. He specializes in developing digital products that help small/mid-size companies make larger impacts in heavily saturated and highly competitive markets. Having spent several years working in the newspaper and radio industries, he now prefers digital media to traditional because of its ever-growing capability to yield instantaneous connections.

Sanford was raised in Miami, but moved to Manhattan when the company expanded in 2004, planting his roots just blocks from the bustle and blaring lights of Times Square. He is a self-described "tech geek" and foodie, and co-authors "The Coolest Gadgets" blog while chasing down the stranger side of global-regional cuisine. His greatest culinary conquests include sampling fugu (a potentially toxic Japanese pufferfish) in Tokyo, and rattlesnake in the American Southwest. His tendency to encourage similar gastronomic challenges to the EIC staff is known to send flocks of less-adventurous team members scurrying for the door when takeout orders arrive for lunch.

Home page: http://www.eic.net

Posts by Sanford Wilk
A tablet on top of a coffee table, next to a cub of coffee. The tablet has the word blog on the screen.

Keeping Your Blog Strong in the Eyes of Internet

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A tablet on top of a coffee table, next to a cub of coffee. The tablet has the word blog on the screen.

Some small additions to your blog can make a difference.

Last week, we discussed how keywords give your blog a boost online. However, there is a whole other half to making one successful. These are little touches that will make it strong and a lot more interesting in the eyes of the internet. Adding these techniques, along with keywords, will boost your blog and grow your business.

Linking to and From Your Blog

Linking is an often overlooked but extremely important process for ranking your blog. For every reputable website linking to your blog, the more points you receive on Google.

How do you do this? Through guest blogging and outbound links. You’ll find bloggers that write about topics similar to yours. Some are very popular. When you link the content in your articles to their websites, it provides the reader with more context and a different opinion. Some bloggers are even happy to link back to you.

With guest blogging, some websites allow you to write for them. Just reach out to them and show them you’ve read their stuff. Let them know that you like what they write and would like to write for them. When you write content for other blogs, be sure to link back to your own.

Adding Images

Your blog should always have an image. Relevant images break apart text, making your articles easier to read. And even though you will only have around 300 to 400 words per article, it will work just fine. Just remember to have your alt text, with a keyword, in every image in order to score points with Google.

Linking to Your Business Website

Most blogs are made in WordPress. And if you are using the system, this is a wise decision. It has an easy interface and counts as another website. Hire a really good developer, and you can even make your WordPress looks like it is part of the main site. When you link from your blog to your business website, you benefit. Your business website gains visibility on search engines, eventually leading to more traffic and customers.

A woman is typing at her keyboard, working on her blog and implementing keyword tactics.

Keyword Tactics for Business Blogs

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A woman is typing at her keyboard, working on her blog and implementing keyword tactics.

Blogging 101: Implement keyword tactics.

If there is one thing that most SEO professional agree on, it’s that blogging works. A well-done blog is a truly effective way of cementing your place online. They rank well on search engines. Now, with that in mind, how can you as an advertiser capitalize on the strength of a blog? By using the right keyword tactics.

Keyword Tactics #1: Searching for Keywords

Keywords are often on the tip of every SEO experts tongue, and there is a reason why. They drive what ranks and doesn’t rank on google. They are the terms people are searching for. It’s your job to find out what your audience is looking for on search engines.

The best keywords are known as “long tail” keywords. These phrases are what people are searching for the most online. Many successful blogs have proven that using them helps boost your standing with search engines. Using one-word keywords are more competitive, but worth trying if your business exists in a niche industry.

If you ever need help, there are several tools available including Google Trends, Google Keyword planners, as well as the most popular search rankings on social media sites. However, remember to find what is popular in your field. Your business has a specific audience. Narrow down your search for the words they are typing in online.

Keyword Tactics #2: Implementing Your Keyword

Once you find your keyword, it is time to implement it into your post. Your keyword or phrase should show up in your blog article, but not too much. If you overstuff your article with this phrase, it will have the opposite effect.

You want to insert your keyword or phrase into specific spots on your blog, including throughout the content, title, URL, headings and subheadings, image alt text, and meta description. An important note to remember is to keep your content engaging. Try to seamlessly add your keyword without disrupting what your audience is reading.

Four friends using a laptop in a train station, their smiling faces represents audience engagement.

Approaching Digital Customers: Audience Engagement

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Four friends using a laptop in a train station, their smiling faces represents audience engagement.

Maintain audience engagement is all about giving customers the right ads.

Using some research and intuition, you can easily figure out why your audience hates using online advertisements. From their perspective, they are invasive, disruptive, annoying, and risky. And it’s not hard to see why they think this way. The truth is, people are avoiding your ads. However, there is hope. By creating the right ads, you can learn to maintain audience engagement.

Finding the Right Audience

Now, we are not saying that customers hate all ads. You’ll find that they will pay attention to advertisements more if they can relate to them. This means maintaining audience engagement is all about finding the right audience. That’s where your research comes in. Ask the following:

  • Who buys your products?
  • Where do your customers browse the web?
  • What social media platforms are they using the most?

If you can answer some of these questions, then you are off to a great start.

Creating Non-Invasive Ads for Audience Engagement

Another way to engage to engage your audience is by creating ads that don’t get in their way. The best way to do this is by utilizing native and social ads. According to Hubspot Research, most sponsored or native ads ranked as a positive experience for customers. Customers don’t see these advertisements as disruptive.

Native advertisements can be completely ignored. Even though they tend to blend in with other articles on websites, the users choose whether or not to interact with the native ads. They are also transparent. Most native ads are marked as “sponsored.” This way the customers knows that a certain piece of content is marketing material before click on it. Digital customers welcome this type of honesty.

Social ads are also less invasive than traditional digital ads. Customers expect to see pages and accounts from their favorite products or services. It’s almost ingrained in the social media experience. And they are more receptive to them because they are targeted. They generally only see ads from products that match their interest.

Hopefully, this helps you on your journey to reaching your audience. Digital customers are always evolving. Just stay up to date with their interest and you’ll create successful campaigns in no time.

A man is sitting on his couch and having a bad experience with a website on his laptop. A bad web experience disrupts audience engagement.

Approaching Digital Customers: Audience Pet Peeves

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A man is sitting on his couch and having a bad experience with a website on his laptop. A bad web experience disrupts audience engagement.

Find out the biggest pet peeves your audience has when it comes to online ads.

There is no doubt that advertising is a difficult field. It’s a matter of wrapping your head around your audience’s interest and what motivates them to buy your stuff. You also have to take into account the fact that your audience may not be receptive to your ads.

How do you get around this dilemma and do your job effectively? Well, it requires a little research and intuition. The digital space is overflowing with content and advertisements. People are constantly trying to sell digital customers products and services. While you are trying to grab your audience’s attention, make sure that you do not aggravate them at the same time.

What Your Audience Hates About Advertisements

AdBlock seems to be an advertiser worst enemy. But in order to get around this frustrating software, you have to understand why your consumers are using it. One of the biggest reasons that consumers hate advertisements is because they are disruptive. Imagine browsing the internet or visiting your favorite website, only to have a pop-up interrupt your experience. It’s jarring, it’s annoying, and most of all it prevents you from doing what you intended.

Another critical reason that digital consumers hate advertisements is because they fear them. The online world can be a dangerous place for your personal information and privacy. And some ads are malicious. So, customers would rather avoid the risk of clicking on an ad that might just be out to steal their information. Some are even concerned about advertisers sharing their information with third-party services.

The last thing to remember is that your advertisements do affect your audience’s web experience. If your ads are the reason for websites slow load times or eat up the data on their phone, then they will walk away from the website. Digital customers hate to waste their time trying to work with a web page that doesn’t work. Even worse, if your advertisements are truly the cause of a websites sluggish experience, the owners of that site will not want you hosting your ads there anymore.

The silhouettes of 5 digital customers (women) who are holding shopping bags and standing over a bar code.

Approaching Digital Customers: Optimizing Websites

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The silhouettes of 5 digital customers (women) who are holding shopping bags and standing over a bar code.

Your website needs to be optimized for digital customers.

Digital is the word on the tip of every marketer’s tongue. It engulfs a large percentage of where advertisers spend their money. And more and more resources are being put into it every year. However, what extent are you focusing your digital efforts? Putting content online is no longer enough to gain conversations and traffic. You have to approach digital customers in a specific way.

Account for Multiple Devices

Technology has made the digital landscape a lot more accessible for consumers. From smartphones and tablets to laptops and home computers. We are constantly moving from one device to the next, and marketers need to account for this.

If you don’t know what responsive means, then you are already falling behind. You can’t just build a website to promote your client’s new product or service and think your job is done. Your web developers need to account for every device a person may view your website on.

What may look amazing on a desktop computer, can be completely unviewable on a mobile phone. All customers access the web differently. And if your web page doesn’t account for their preferred method of viewing the web, then you may have already lost them.

Long Load Times Push Digital Customers Away

So, you’ve heard that online videos and fancy animations attract customers. Yes, this is true. However, if you decide to upload this kind of content onto your website, you have to be careful. Too many videos or graphics can make a website sluggish. Even worse, they can make a website crash.

A slow website is a turn off for customers. When digital customers want something, they want it now. So, the faster they can find what they want on your website, the happier they are. This is especially important for websites with video content and e-commerce.

Making Ecommerce Simple

If you are sensing a common theme with digital customers, it’s that they focus on immediacy. So, if anything on your website stalls them, they abandon it. With e-commerce, this is especially true. Some of the best e-commerce websites allow their customers to save their credit card information. It’s called vaulting.

You’ll make the payment process so much easier on the customer’s end. This prevents customers from having to reenter their information for every purchase. It also prevents them from looking elsewhere to spend their money.

A brand word in vintage letterpress metal type against a grunge steel sheet, representing evolving your brand.

The Difficulties of Evolving Your Brand

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A brand word in vintage letterpress metal type against a grunge steel sheet, representing evolving your brand.

What challenges have you faced evolving your brand?

Every brand needs to evolve at some point. Changing times call for new directions in order to stay relevant and find success. However, taking bold new steps is not as easy as it sounds. There will always be a couple of obstacles in your way. You have to think carefully about these difficulties and how to overcome them. With that in mind, here are a few challenges you may face while evolving your brand.

The Ever-Changing World of Digital Media

Working in the digital space can be tough. No matter how big or small your company is, advertising online is always changing. You may have methods put in place that are successful but fast-forward to a year from now and they may not be as effective. So, just as digital introduce the internet, social media, and the mobile apps, marketers have to evolve their efforts to account for what’s new.

Cross-Team Collaboration

Writers write, designers design, and developers code. And if you are like many other agencies, these teams work separately. For the most part, these teams work well independently. But that needs to change. One of the biggest challenges that you’ll face is getting them to work together. Instead of simply passing off the project from one team to the next, the leads need to give input to each other’s work. The results are beneficial to you content and campaign, but it takes a lot of effort.

Evolving Your Brand, Staying Consistent

Creating new methods to stay successful in the changing digital world is hard. However, while you are adapting to using new techniques and working more collaboratively, your work still has to flow like normal. You cannot let change set you back. Otherwise, you‘ll lose your customers and audience. As marketers, your brand has to operate just like it has in the past – efficient and engaging.

Now that you know what the biggest difficulties are when it comes to evolving your brand, are you up for the challenge.

The word BLOG written in vintage wooden letterpress type in a wooden type drawer. This represents business blogging.

Business Blogging: What Not to Do

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The word BLOG written in vintage wooden letterpress type in a wooden type drawer. This represents business blogging.

Avoid making mistakes when it comes to business blogging. It will save you a world of trouble.

If you’re a business, there are plenty of reasons for you to pull out your laptop, get online, and start blogging. Not only does it establish your business as an industry leader, but it gives your website a boost when it comes to SEO. If you want to connect to your consumers, as well as develop a relationship with them, then you have to make sure you get business blogging right.

Typical Business Blogging Mistakes Companies Make

Forget to Read Their Work – Good writing is hard to spot; however, people are hawks when it comes to spotting bad grammar. You don’t want to look unprofessional by having any typos or terrible sentence structure in your post. While it might sound a little grade school, after you have finished typing the words into your keyboard be sure to read everything out loud. It can be hard to check your work, but this can get the job done.

Make Their Blog Uninspiring – Your blog is not a news site or a press release. It should not be flooded with boring articles about your company’s latest developments. The purpose of a blog is to connect with your readers and be a definitive voice that they come to for guidance. While you can have a few posts to keep your customers updated on the latest news from your company, you have to speak to them about your industry and the direction you feel it should go as well.

Do Not Leave a Call-to-Action – Through conversation, blogs connect to people. However, as a business blog, you have to take it one step further and motivate your readers. A lot of companies forget this and miss out on the opportunity to point customers in the right direction. Sometimes a call-to-action is all you need to get loyal readers to buy you stuff.

In next week’s post, find out more on how to keep your business blogging up-to-date.

Several green arrows, with one saying "Helpful Tips." This represents basic advertising tips.

More Basic Advertising Tips You Should Follow

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Several green arrows, with one saying "Helpful Tips." This represents basic advertising tips.

Are you following these basic advertising tips?

Remembering the basics is not just something that teachers tell you. It’s the key to keeping your work consistent and effective. The same is true when it comes to advertising. While people’s interest constantly change, their motivations remain the same.

Last week, I discussed a few advertising tips you should remember. So, here are a few more basic advertising tips you should follow when trying to reach your consumers.

More Basic Advertising Tips

Keep in Mind Where You Advertise – This statement is usually meant for media like television, magazines or radio stations. However, it also applies to the digital landscapes. Digital advertising is its own world and where you advertise online determines how you advertise. Discover which of your customers are using outlets like social media, websites, or apps. Learn everything about these platforms so that you can develop great campaigns.

Focus Test – Your campaign is not going to be an automatic hit upon release. So, you need to test its potential. This avoids wasted advertising dollars and provides some insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your campaign. Gather together a group of people that closely resemble target audience. Be sure to ask them if they understand the purpose of the campaign and more importantly, gauge their feeling. With input from a group representing you target audience, you can put some final tweaks to your campaign’s message so that it resonates with your audience.

Do Some Post-Campaign Inquiry – Once your campaign is developed, tested, and released, your job is not finished. Your next campaign is right around the corner. That’s why you need to follow up with new customers and discover how they heard about your business. Using their contact information, send them a quick questionnaire. The information you receive will tell you which digital platforms your customers are using the most and where you need to be putting your resources into.

A generic checklist with a red pencil on top of it, representing advertising tips.

Advertising Tips: Remembering the Basics

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A generic checklist with a red pencil on top of it, representing advertising tips.

Our advertising tips will help you remember the basics.

As advertising evolves and we try to familiarize ourselves with the worlds of mobile and social media, it becomes hard to determine what to do. How do we reach customers more effectively? How do we make our ads work? While the world of advertising has somewhat changed, the principles have not. It’s time to use these timeless advertising tips to create effective campaigns.

3 Advertising Tips

Targeting the Right Audience – Every product is different, from its benefits to its purpose. And a lot of advertisers make the same mistake over and over again. They try to sell their products to everyone. In order to make an effective campaign, you need to visualize who you are selling to. Narrow your target audience down to a select group. Once you understand their buying habits and interest, developing a campaign becomes easier.

Be Competitive – The advertising game is one big competition, and you should never lose your competitive edge. There is a whole market of imitators out there. You need to hone in on that one detail that makes your product different from all of the others. Then show your audience why that detail is an advantage. This gives your product value in the eyes of your consumer and moves you one notch above the competition.

Give Your Brand an Identity – I’ve discussed the importance of protecting your brand before. However, you have to remember to develop it as well. You cannot just put your product’s name on a generic logo and expect it to sell. You have to establish its identity and personality. These two traits are important for people to recognize and remember who you are. Once your product’s brand is ingrain within your audience mind, they become comfortable and more willing to purchase your stuff.

Join us next week to find out some more advertising tips that you should never forget.

A man's finger is moving a virtual arrow, which is going up due to his brand's good reputation.

Maintaining Your Brand’s Good Reputation

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A man's finger is moving a virtual arrow, which is going up due to his brand's good reputation.

What can you do to protect your brand’s good reputation?

Last week, I talked about the risks to your brand if your reputation suffers. You lose time and money, and more importantly, you fail to attract new customers and talent. We know that you cannot have your business in the state. So, now it’s time to find out how to protect your brand and maintain a good reputation.

Time to Start Being Social

Let’s be honest. If you are not advertising on a social media channel, then you are behind the curve. Part of maintaining a good reputation is to always be active on these channels. Your business is going to run into a few pitfalls, especially with customers online. How you and your employees interact with them determines your customers’ perceptions of your brand.

Get Your Customers to Spread the Word

Ratings are important. Most new customers know nothing about you except for what you tell them. Where do they go for an honest opinion about your service? They visit popular websites that rate your service.

Excellent reviews lead to a good reputation. However, they require some motivation on your part. You need to encourage your customers to leave reviews on these websites, especially when your known that they have enjoyed your service. A little push goes a long way.

Don’t Ruin Your Good Reputation Out of Spite

Trolls, pranksters, and downright unreasonable people seem to be a standard when it comes to the online world. The biggest mistake that any business owner or marketer can make is letting them get to you. Responding in any negative fashion will result in your customers thinking less of your brand.

They are not worth your efforts. You have a legion of loyal customers who like and buy your products or services. Remember be courteous and mature for the sake of your brand. You customers will respect your professionalism.

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