Marlin Consulting Services Ensure Client-Friendly Business Solutions for Great Results Ahead
Marlin Consulting Solutions is an SEO-giant in Jacksonville and is known for one-of-its-kind, best-in-class execution on all aspects of digital marketing including advertising technology, and conversion methods. Their practical, ROI-oriented approach helps businesses make their presence felt in the world context. Read further how the company has been successfully scaling business brands to their desired level of success.
Every new and existing business needs SEO. It not only gains them better visibility online, but enables them to generate more traffic and leads. Marlin Consulting Solutions takes care of the entire spectrum of digital services, from digital PR to technical SEO, thereby ensuring long-term stability of client websites on popular search engines.
Established in 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida, Marlin Consulting has achieved a significant milestone in the digital space by offering amazing SEO and Digital Marketing experience to its customers by devising and implementing effective SEO strategies. The company has always been a trusted choice for the small to mid-size businesses and uses SEO for Online Sales, Lead Generation, and Increase in Overall Revenue.
The company creates the best user experience (UX) to its users to convert the visitors into customers. Professional developers in the company maintain the site efficiently so that the owners can keep their focus on the business growing activities.
The experienced digital marketers in the company improve the internal structure of the existing websites and develop effective website pages using on-page optimization techniques to rank them on Google. The ratio of their sky-rising ROI ranges up to 20:1, 80:1, and even 300:1 ensuring multiple times sales to their customer businesses.
The company provides exceptional customer experiences with great results and this is the reason why Marlin Consulting wins a lot of businesses from the competition.
It is a Google Certified Partner and presents a FREE 17-page SEO website analysis before actually proceeding with the marketing plan. It gives free access to the exclusive SEO, social media tools, and SEO intelligence APIs along with offering other range of services including website design, website hosting, WordPress maintenance, and management services.
Marlin Consulting Services turns search engine rankings for a website into revenues by:
- Appointing local SEO professionals to dedicate a business’s success.
- Providing event-based marketing services.
- Growing the customer-base with confidence.
The actual process of digital marketing in the company involves executing SEO for increasing traffic and boosting leads, online media management, real-time data analysis, reporting and analysis, and penalty recovery, if any.
The company is well recognized and appreciated for their excellent performance and is ranked as the top digital marketing company in Jacksonville in the GoodFirms ranking list. GoodFirms is a top review and rating firm that presents a growing and ever-promoting platform for the businesses to grow.
About the Author
Working as a Content Writer at GoodFirms, Anna Stark bridges the gap between service seekers and service providers. Anna’s dominant role lingers to form every company’s achievement and critical attributes into words. She strongly believes in the charm of words and equips new approaches that work, always with concepts, something new to create, and something unique to enhance the firm’s identity.
Helping Your Customers Understand Your Process
Regardless of the nature of your business, you’ve probably experienced at least one awkward conversation with a customer who just didn’t understand your process. While it might feel as though you’re being challenged, try not to take it personally. View the conversation as an opportunity to educate your confused customer because that which feels like nit-picking is usually the result of misinformation OR not enough access to info adequately explaining your process. As in all relationships, communication is key and if customers feel educated about your process, services and products, they won’t feel the need to question your expertise.
Clear processes equal less awkwardness and more sales. There is a way to educate your customers without boring them to death and service pages are a great place to start! A website service page is dedicated to the explanation of what your company does and why you are the leading expert in the business. In other words, your service page will explain the solution to a consumer’s problem. Consumers feel reassured when they see the solution clearly spelled out for them and how you intend to go about achieving said solution. Here are some of the things your consumers will look for on your service page:
- Benefits and features.
- Connection with consumer pain points.
- Plain language, not technical jargon.
With the surge in online shopping over the last two years of home-bound COVID-19 life, your product page is now a more vital component of the consumer experience than ever before. With everything from groceries to in-home services now being purchased online, you really need to step up your game in ensuring your product page presents the best digital storefront possible. Consider the following tips as you contemplate the revitalization of your product page:
- Emphasize price drops!
- Use verbiage such as, “Hurry! Low in stock” to create a sense of urgency for your customers.
- Use social proof such as reviews and comments.
Regardless of how excellent your product page might be, customers will always have basic questions. A solid FAQs page can go a long way in meeting customer expectations and clearly communicating what you can do for them and your process for handling their questions and concerns. In addition, a great FAQs page can decrease the amount of telephone support needed to answer questions, saving you both time and money. Enjoy increased website traffic because of the accessibility of your FAQ’s page as well as heightened trust from your customers. Your FAQ’s page should:
- Be easy to find.
- Consist of questions written from a customer’s viewpoint.
- Fully answer questions without linking to an additional page.
- Consist of short answers beginning with “yes” or “no”.
- Contain answers reflecting your brand personality.
- Be written in the language of your consumers and not professional mumbo jumbo.
Don’t forget to maintain a continuous conversation with your customers. Blog posts are a great means of educating your customers while simultaneously sharing about your process more in depth. Blog posts have a way of spreading the word about your brand much faster than you ever could when they are shared on social media platforms. Maintaining scheduled posts, sharing links and posting videos offers a great means of interacting with consumers, establishing a core following and answering questions in a way which enables you to be more present with your customers in the digital age. The main goal of any entrepreneur is to establish and maintain solid business relationships and there is no better way to do so than by fostering open-ended conversations with your customers. At the end of the day, your customers want to know you understand what they want and need and you shouldn’t feel threatened at having to explain yourself. Your business depends on it!
5 Great Opt-in Form Examples
Having an opt-in form on your website is a fantastic way to encourage your visitors to subscribe to your email newsletter! However, the cold, harsh reality is that having an opt-in form in place doesn’t mean your customers are automatically going to, you know, opt-in.
Allow me to inflate your recently deflated balloon. There are a myriad of effective methods and strategies that can easily boost the likelihood that your website visitors will sign up for your newsletter or email marketing campaign, IF you implement a few steps to entice them!
Visibility is key! A great opt-in form will be well placed and difficult to miss on your website. For example, it’s pretty tough for customers to miss a bright yellow button presenting very clear instructions: “CLICK HERE”. Am I right? The unfortunate reality is that we all are prone to missing the obvious. How many times have you gone to look for your glasses only to discover they’re on top of your head? No show of hands, please. The point is that the easier the opt-in form is to see, the higher the likelihood that website visitors will sign up! Not a difficult concept to master. Consider which parts of your website are going to offer higher visibility. For example, “above the fold” content offers tremendous visibility as it is considered the part of your screen which is viewed without having to scroll further down on the screen. Always try to place your opt-in form in an obvious spot and not in a place which requires you to scroll endlessly to find it.
Make your opt-in form so attractive that no one will be able to look away! Okay, so maybe that’s a bit much, but visual attractiveness is one of the pillars of marketing, is it not? Again, perhaps I’m restating the obvious, but for consumers, the word “form” invites visions of endless rows of boring, monotonous text and questions and rows of empty text fields. Yuck! You need to spice things up a bit and present your consumers with a visually exciting, well placed, and engaging opt-in form!
- Consider your color pallet.
- Choose a catchy word or brief phrase.
- There is power in fonts.
- Consider size/scale.
Make sure your opt-in form content is engaging! Provide clear, attention-grabbing copy which will spur readers to press on through the rest of the form! Your content should be such that it “wets the appetite” of potential customers.
Consider incentivizing readers with coupons, special offers, insight to early product launches and a VIP sign-up bonus if applicable! Remember: all consumers want to be in the know and ahead of the game. If you make them feel like it is worth their while to opt-in, then you stand to gain a higher amount of sign-ups and that means more money in your pocket! Provide consumers with value and they will be invaluable to you in return!
Almost every business owner is familiar with the “K.I.S.S.” acrostic, so you probably already know to keep it simple, Stupid! No one likes complications and no one has time to navigate a tedious, complicated opt-in form. Keep it simple! It should be very easy for website visitors to sign up and the fields should be limited. Don’t overwhelm consumers by requesting unnecessary information from them.
Opt-in forms are powerful lead magnets! A well placed, well designed button will encourage consumers to provide you with invaluable personal data and insight as to what they want, need, are willing to pay for and serve as the match which ignites open communication between you and your customers!
How to Declutter Your Website Menu
Feeling a little cluttered lately? If your website looks overcrowded, too “busy” or blindingly bright and flashy, it is highly unlikely that your site is performing as it should. In fact, you could even go so far as to say that your cluttered website:
- Distracts from your brand.
- Confuses your customers.
- Increases bounce rates.
- Stifles conversions.
Drives your consumer base to your competition.
The good news is that less is more and minimalism reigns in today’s cyber society. Your customers aren’t interested in random, meaningless functions or obnoxious animations and imagery. Your website is a virtual storefront for consumers who expect a more intuitive experience. A cleaner website makes for an expedient presentation to customers looking for information fast! Simple, clean websites have the power to:
- Leave consumers with a positive impression of your brand.
- Compel consumers to interact with your brand.
- Make it easier to explore your content.
- Lead consumers along your sales funnel.
- Increase clicks on your CTA (call to action) button.
- Boost conversion rates.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to remove excess “clutter” from your website in order to make for a more compelling, user-friendly experience. Start by removing unnecessary graphics, pointless images which serve no purpose and fail to reflect your brand and irrelevant content and subheadings.
Simplify your main menu by condensing options. Keep the important links only such as “Services/Products”, “About”, “Blog” and “Contact”. Don’t make your customers jump through unnecessary hoops in order to locate simple information. Avoid a pesky mega menu stocked with numerous categories and sub links. Be sure your linking strategy is clear and incorporate secondary links in the drop-down menu and in the footer of your website if applicable. In addition, consumers spend an average of 45 seconds on a website. Internal links which connect users to alternate pages on your website are valuable as they can increase the amount of time consumers spend on your website. External links can also be valuable for improving SEO (search engine optimization), however too many links can confuse consumers. Closely evaluate the purpose and necessity of each individual link to determine which ones fulfill your goals! Think strategically!
Consider every screen by optimizing your website for all devices: smart phones, desktops, laptops, IPads, etc. Test your website on all platforms to ensure it is clear and orderly whether viewed on a tablet or a desktop!
Evaluate your content and readability:
- Avoid “fancy” fonts that are difficult to read.
- Be sure your content is engaging, employing strong SEO techniques.
- Evaluate your website for a pleasant color scheme that isn’t too harsh on the eyes.
- Check for an obvious, well-placed CTA (call to action).
- Consider average sentence length and word syllables.
Efforts to maintain a simple, clutter-free website comes with a big payoff! Enjoy improved website performance, smoother navigation experiences and greater conversion rates, all of which go to improving your bottom line!
Setting Your Marketing Goals for 2022
Happy New Year! Time to party like it’s 2022, and by “party”, I mean that it’s time to set your marketing goals for the year. Why? Because your marketing aspirations should never go unrealized! Knowing where to start might have you feeling a bit unsettled, but never fear, because Marlin is here! We know exactly how to help you break down specific, achievable, SMART goals!
Perhaps you are new to the world of business ownership and you have no idea what “SMART” goals are. Here’s a brief synopsis: SMART goals are those which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. No business can survive apart from establishing such goals. In fact, there is research which substantiates that those who set SMART goals are 376% more likely to be successful than business owners who don’t. Furthermore, 70% of goal setters actually achieve them and I am here to tell you how to begin.
As with most things in life, it’s important to be specific! For example if you’d like to drive more traffic to your website or increase your social media following, you need to devise a specific plan for achieving said goals. Be clear about your intentions and the steps by which you intend to achieve your goals. You might begin by jotting down “increase website traffic by adding an incentive coupon”. You’d be amazed at what the addition of a simple coupon might do for your bottom line! While SMART goals are both short and long-term, they should be listed according to the objectives of your company. For example, if you are striving to become a leader in your industry, you could list the following goal: “become an industry leader by 2030 by increasing revenue 13% in 2022”. This approach allows you to enjoy short-term achievements as you continually strive for long-term benefits.
Regardless of your goals, they must be quantifiable. In other words, you need a way to measure your success! Determine the percentage by which you’d like to increase your website traffic as this is the only way to gauge efficacy and get results! Don’t forget to write down “assess weekly efficacy” as a SMART goal.
Don’t set yourself up for failure. While “aim for the stars” sounds good in theory, it is a rather romantic, impractical notion. Consider setting more realistic, achievable goals which can later be adjusted or increased upon achievement. No need to deflate your balloon right out of the gate! Goals are aspirations which take time to achieve, not outlandish dreams and they must be relevant! If you can’t define a purpose for a given goal, then why is it even a goal? That just doesn’t make sense. Ask yourself WHY you came up with your goals and understand the purpose behind them. Why do you need to increase website traffic? Why do you need to establish an employee incentive program? Why do you need to hire a content marketing manager? There must be a clear, defined purpose to each and every goal, otherwise, it is completely irrelevant.
One of the most important components of a “SMART” goal is to create a timeline for achieving that goal. In fact, many business owners fail to create and adhere to specific timelines. This is both frustrating and costly, adversely affecting the bottom line. Whether your goals consist of incentivizing employees or increasing website traffic, define percentages by which you’d like to see improvement and whether you want to achieve this monthly, quarterly or semiannually. This method allows you to adjust your approach if necessary and to create the appropriate steps along the way by which to achieve each goal. Regardless of your process, you need to devise a means by which to evaluate your goals throughout specific intervals during the year in order to revise them accordingly. Stick to your timeline!
Still stumped? Here are some suggested SMART goals for 2022:
- Personal growth/continuing education.
- Learn how to respond to challenges rather than react.
- Establish a daily journal documenting productivity, what worked, what didn’t and why my day was more successful.
- Learn new ways to be creative in setting/achieving goals.
- Work on improving relationships with individual staff members.
- Enhance company morale.
- Learn a new skill set.
- Set aside time for ME.
- Strengthen time management skills.
- Stick to a daily planner.
- Express appreciation daily.
SMART goals are all about quality over quantity, learning how your focus shifts from year to year and establishing a testament to your optimism! The bottom line: set yourself up for success because your business depends on it! SMART goals will only help you to push harder, enhance your determination and self-discipline and stay organized as you see your plans come to fruition!
What is a Keyword?
You’ve likely read the term “keyword” in the title of this post and have already fallen asleep. Twice. Wake up and hang in
there because this is good stuff and well worth the read. I promise.
The truth is that keywords can be confusing, and many business owners (a.k.a. YOU) prefer to leave them entirely in the hands of fluent SEO experts. There’s no shame in that game, but you still need to have a good handle on understanding what they are. Oxford says it best:
A keyword is “a word or concept of great significance; a word that acts as the key to a cipher or code; an informative work used in an info retrieval system to indicate the content of a document; a significant word mentioned in an index.”
Here’s the deal: keywords can be singular or lengthy, utilizing many words to create a “long-tail” keyword. They’re crucial for consumers searching for products or services offered by your company as they instruct search engines to load content available on your website. In other words, your selected keywords will dictate how your brand’s website shows up in search engine results and how it ranks on the page.
Spoiler alert: I’m going to remove some of the mystery behind this thrilling keyword issue of which I speak!
Keywords are important because they instantly link what a customer is searching for and your products or services. They help search engines decipher what your content is about and help to connect that content with your intended audience.
How to know which keywords to use:
Think about what you’d type into the Google search engine when looking for shoes. The same principle
applies to your customers when they search for products and services related to your business. They will type in
words or phrases ab
out their specific problem and desired solution. In the case of footwear, naked feet are the problem. Shoes are the solution. Pure rocket science right there. The number of keywords required is contingent upon what you’re providing to your customers and the scale of your website. Single-page sites generally require one main keyword with a handful of related keywords.
Think quality over quantity as you want to use keywords that will bring you a higher caliber of traffic, and take the time to run a Google search using your desired keyword to see which sites pop up and if the results make sense. If there appears to be a ton of competition using your preferred keyword, you might want to rethink your strategy.
How to track keywords/rankings: Keeping track of your incorporated keywords is essential to measure their performance. Are they working for you? Fortunately, this isn’t hard as programs such as MozPro, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Serpfox are great for weekly tracking reports, and you will easily be able to see the effects of your content changes on your targeted terms and their performance. In addition, Google Analytics can measure whether target pages are getting more traffic and/or resulting in greater conversion rates.
Be sure you check your content on a routine basis as rankings change at the same rate new content is created. If you see that your keywords aren’t performing well, review your content to ensure it is up-to-date! Stay ahead of the game by performing regular keyword maintenance. Once you establish a routine, you will see that the process is actually quite simple. I dare say that you might even “enjoy” it!
Why Your Business Needs a Website Audit
Nothing screams “excitement” like a good, old fashioned website audit. Why? Because a website audit includes a general analysis of your business site, revealing steps you need to take in order to improve your SEO (search engine optimization) value. These tantalizing audits are great for learning about ways to improve your website’s performance, including content, overall SEO score, web stats and site speed.
Sarcasm aside, website audits truly are the cat’s meow. Of course, they sound terribly boring and snooze-worthy, however, they are invaluable to your business, strengthen your marketing and help you better connect with your consumers. Precious little in your entrepreneurial life should excite your business-owning heart more than that!
Grab your favorite beverage and get comfy in the Lazy Boy, because there are eight different types of audits, reports and analyses of which you should be aware:
- Website Audit: This in depth report includes 100+ actionable recommendations to help 2X+ website leads.
- On Page SEO Report: This report includes dozens of actionable on page SEO insights.
- Landing Page Audit: This report offers actionable insights on how to convert more clicks into customers.
- Page Speed Insights Report: This report includes issues and recommendations to help pages load faster.
- E-commerce Website Audit: This includes 100+ actionable points to boost conversions 25% or more!
- Google My Business Audit: This actionable report tells you what to optimize on a GMB profile to boost the businesses local ranking on Google.
- Competitive Analysis: Use the insights in this report to help your prospects or customers out-maneuver their competition.
ROI Analysis: Use this to answer the most important question your prospect or client is asking about your services: “Is it worth the investment?”
The end goal is always the same: ensuring that you have a reliable, powerful system in place that works! It’s like walking into a public restroom stall only to realize there is no toilet paper until it is too late. We’ve ALL been there. Don’t be THAT person. Again. Know the dangers that can bring your website down AHEAD of time so that you can fix what’s broken before things get awkward. Start performing your own website health “mini” audit!
1. Run a simple speed test.
While this simple step won’t tell you EVERYTHING regarding your website’s performance, it is a great starting point.
- Run at least three different tests in order to best average the speed of your site.
- Try to run tests from different geographical locations as you will likely have website traffic from beyond the U.S. Pingdom is a great site to use for running basic speed tests.
2. Perform your own search for your website to see how you rank.
- Sign out of your Gmail account.
- Change your location to match that of your target audience.
- Open a new window for www.google.com each time a new term is searched. For example, if you search “Joe’s Gym”, Google won’t forget and will only deliver results specifically related to “Joe’s Gym”.
3. Review your content.
- Are your contact details accurate and clearly displayed?
- Do you have strong headlines?
- Have you incorporated valuable keywords for SEO?
- Does your content effectively inform your target audience while building interest?
- Is your content search-engine friendly? Are you ranking well with Google regarding keywords and phrases for which your target audience is searching?
- How consistently are you at showcasing your brand?
Let’s revisit the awkward bathroom stall scenario, shall we? Performing a simple audit of a stall prior to sitting would result in an entirely different, much more comfortable experience. The benefits would be obvious and the procedure would end without awkward cries for help, possible appearances of an IQ deficit, and inconvenient delays. The same can be said for auditing your business website.
- You will rank higher in search engines!
- You will generate better user experiences for your ideal customers!
- You will improve your website’s speed and performance!
- You will identify weaknesses BEFORE your users do and resolve them!
- You will pinpoint your strongest, winning content!
Website audits are a win-win for you AND your consumers! We’d be happy to run any of the web audits mentioned above for your business website. In fact, mention this blog post and we’ll take 15% off.
Setting a Schedule Eliminates Overload
Business owners are all-too-familiar with endless to-do lists complicated by busy schedules.Some days, there is so much to do, that it is difficult to know where to begin. There are so many tasks demanding your time and attention that you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, attempting to tend to each task, yet not fully accomplishing any one job effectively. You end your day feeling as though you’ve temporarily secured a leak with a bandaid, discouraged that the full repair remains incomplete. The good news is that a large portion of your stress can be easily eliminated by establishing a structured, organized schedule, the conduit by which you streamline your otherwise overwhelming work day.
Decluttering the workspace saves time and money.
The benefits of a decluttered desk or workspace extend far beyond those with hoarding tendencies. In fact, the simple act of decluttering stokes the fires of self-starters, enabling them to adapt more quickly and efficiently to basic work requirements, saving time and money while alleviating stress and increasing productivity. This is a very common sense approach to a work day as it’s difficult to produce pristine work in a messy environment.
Sleek, modern tech companies, for example, find that employees are at their best when work environments are open and “breathable”, free of unnecessary clutter. The noteworthy result: increased ambition and creativity. Additional benefits are more subtle: the space is easier to clean and navigate, more time to focus on the task at hand and increased awareness of what you have and what is still needed in order to accomplish the job. You feel better and you are no longer purchasing office supplies which you already own because they are now visible, uncovered from the usual pile of clutter. In addition, consumers view business workspaces as a solid representation of business structure, organization and cleanliness. A messy work space communicates an inability to stay organized and on top of things, generating assumptions that your brand is not reliable and is too busy for the people it serves. For business owners who operate out of a smaller, more intimate setting, the workspace might be the first thing a customer sees when they walk through the door and you will not recoup the opportunity to repeat that first impression. Cluttered workspaces repel customers and are costly for business owners.
Establish your tasks at the beginning of each week and prioritize them accordingly. It is natural for business owners to feel equally responsible for all tasks regardless of scale. The downside is that certain incomplete tasks are more costly than others, deadlines are missed and money is lost. It is crucial for business owners to identify that which should be addressed first. In addition, smaller, less important jobs can require a greater time frame in which to accomplish them due to poor organization. Start by listing tasks in order of importance. Group smaller jobs together and schedule a set time in your week in which to complete them collectively. Larger projects should have their own prioritization in order of importance and cost of incompletion. Establish solid deadlines by which to achieve each task and assign them individually to each day of your week with specific time frames. The process should take no longer than an hour or two to complete. This practice makes business owners more efficient while affording the latitude by which to focus on personal goals, striking a healthy balance personally and professionally.
Time is money and distractions are costly. The greatest frustration of maintaining a productive schedule are the simple distractions which so easily capture our attention: personal phone calls, texting, snack breaks, social media, smoke breaks, office gossip and general procrastination. On average, personal email is checked 36 times per hour and most business owners attend a minimum of sixty meetings monthly. It can take as long as two hours to recover from basic workplace interruptions from coworkers, employees and customers. In 2018, more than seventy percent of businesses owners reported feeling distracted during business hours and sixteen percent stated they felt generally unfocused. On average, American employers are shelling out $650 billion annually on workplace distractions resulting in decreased productivity and consumer engagement, increased work hours, inefficiency and overpayment of employee labor. The solution: start by identifying simple, daily distractions. Steer clear of social media, establish a set time frame solely dedicated to addressing work-related emails, let your friends and family know that you will not be accepting personal phone calls during the work day and quit smoking. Whether you realize it or not, distractions are affecting your bottom line.
Setting a schedule is energy efficient. Entrepreneurs know when they work best. Whether early morning or late afternoon, everyone is different. The key to establishing better efficiency with your time and energy is to schedule high-priority tasks during the time frame in which you work best. If you “peak” at 11 a.m., then start knocking out the important tasks at 11 a.m. Schedule less important jobs outside of your prime working hours as they will not cost you as much money if you cannot complete them in a timely fashion.
- Declutter as though your business depends on it. You are likely purchasing duplicate office supplies because you cannot see what you already own beneath piles of unnecessary clutter. You are wasting valuable time in search of your stapler!
- Begin each week by establishing a task list in order of importance and assign accordingly to each workday. Group smaller tasks together and knock those out in one “sitting”.
- Eliminate costly distractions. Grab everything you need to complete a task and avoid personal phone calls and email, social media, trips to the vending machine and boiler room chat.
- Identify the time of day in which you are most efficient and accomplish your most important work during that time. Remember: work smarter, not harder!
Set schedules save business owners thousands of dollars in valuable time, productivity and energy. A few simple changes can make a world of difference in helping you to achieve optimal business success without feeling overwhelmed. In addition, business owners are more likely to experience a healthy balance of professional and personal timely goal achievement by following a set, disciplined schedule.
The Do’s & Don’ts of Using Stock Images on Your Website
Stock photos can be crazy expensive and are often unloved and overused; however, they are almost always involved in the world of digital marketing. Stock photos can be compelling, drawing visual interest when appropriately utilized on your company website. Stock photos are a great source of design, and many entrepreneurs do not consider themselves professional photographers; therefore, stock photos help business owners stay within their skill sets and marketing budgets. As with most marketing tactics, there are a few simple rules which must be applied in order to utilize stock photography properly.
Be sure to check licensing. Understanding licensing issues associated with stock imagery can be tricky. Failure to abide by licensing laws can reap legal repercussions and the terms are known to vary from site to site. Be prepared to encounter the following terms when checking licensing:
- Licensee: the one who is purchasing the license to use the image.
- End-User: the last person to whom the stock photo is intended to reach; your customers.
- End Product: the final product on which the stock image will appear.
- Licensee Work: standalone image; utilizing the image in a larger design such as a poster, package labels, letterhead, etc.
- Print On Demand: build-it-yourself products; utilizing a set of available images in order to create your own product.
- Single Seat: licensure allowing only one user to download an image onto a single computer.
- Multi-Seat: multiple users are allowed to download images.
- Single Application: one product, one user, one edition; designed more for private use; cannot generate nor distribute copies.
- Multiple Application: multiple users allowed, but only one end product such as a website.
- Multi-Domain: allows for multiple end products, however only a single user is allowed to use the image across multiple platforms such as packaging, website, brochures, etc.
- Multiple Client: this generally applies to multiple royalty-free stock images meaning that you can use it endlessly once it is downloaded.
- Editorial Use: can only be used for items such as magazines or newspapers as relevant to an article and not for the sake of direct sales.
- Resale: can be used on items such as book covers.
Don’t use Google images. Using google to select stock photos can be tempting because it is quick and easy; however, you might get yourself into a world of trouble down the road. Nothing is free, and Google images come with strings attached. You must have permission to use them. Plagiarism laws exist in order to protect licensed images along with the original photographer or designer. While taking the easy route in the short term is appealing, cease and desist orders and lawsuits can soon follow. Be aware that online photography professionals often use online resources in order to track image thieves and have no qualms about hunting down offenders. In addition, Google Penguin could penalize your business site as photographers often embed metadata into their images to track usage. Don’t risk public embarrassment, the reputation of your company and discredit your brand by failing to follow the rules.
Don’t select the first photo you see. Again, companies never benefit from shortcuts. Don’t pick photos that are “good enough”. Always seek to carefully select relevant photography which applies to your brand and message. Take the time to make wise selections that will enhance your brand and build customer confidence while creating a great website experience for your audience. Rushing the process can injure your credibility, be distracting and cause consumers to question your mediocre efforts. Choose what is best, not what is convenient.
- Strive for authenticity by selecting photos that feel natural and not staged.
- Choose cohesive photos in keeping with your brand, considering how emotion, tone, color, and the people in the photos reflect your brand.
- Think about content and how you will utilize the photos in each aspect of your website.
- If you select photos with people in them, be sure they properly reflect target audience demographics, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, interests, etc.
- Quality over quantity – always select the most professional photos. A high-quality image that properly reflects your brand and target audience are worth far more than ten cheap images that have nothing to do with your products or services.
Edit, edit, edit! Editing those stock photos will require you to pay attention to detail. Consider how your selected images could be tweaked in order to reflect your brand, making it more authentic and less “stocky”.
- Look for great exposure
- Beware of chromatic aberration or purple fringing (a band of color along the edge of images)
- Edit out sensor spots and blemishes
- Make sure images are straight
- Ensure the coloring of an image isn’t odd
- Remove copyright elements (watches, phones, artworks, etc.)
Get the most out-of-stock photos by consulting a graphic designer or professional marketing agent. The right changes can set your website apart from the competition, acting as a key component of your online success. Be sure to select stock photos from reputable sites as you pay close attention to licensing laws. Some great sites include Adobe Stock, iStock, Shutterstock, Stocksy, Tonl, Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay.
Marlin Consulting Solutions Announced as a 2021 Local Excellence Award Winner by UpCity!
For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 1.5 million businesses that visit their site.
Each year, UpCity analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!
We are ecstatic to announce that the Marlin Consulting Solutions team has been recognized as one of the top B2B service providers of 2021 in the Jacksonville, FL area by UpCity!
In everything we do, we believe in creating simple, yet effective marketing strategies. We do this by listening, digging deeper into your needs, and applying our combined years of experience into a customized solution for our clients. Providing our clients with an intuitive, smart, and proven approach to marketing is why we get out of bed in the morning. To see our clients succeed means we’ve succeeded.
Heidi Sullivan, Senior Vice President of Product & Marketing at UpCity, had this to say about Marlin Consulting Solutions:
This recognition has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:
It’s a great honor to accept the Local Excellence 2021 Award from UpCity. Thank you to our clients for choosing us to be your trusty digital marketing arm. Thank you to UpCity for recognizing our strengths and services to our community. We couldn’t be more thrilled!