NFL Prospect & Future Film Maker Nate Boyer Launches NateBoyer.com

AUSTIN, TEXAS, April 29, 2015 — Leverage Marketing announces the launch of UT football player and Green Beret Nate Boyer’s new website: nateboyer.com. Nate Boyer has an extraordinary story that is now consolidated in one place online. It all began with an ordinary American life and an intrinsic, incessant internal drive that takes Nate around the world as first a volunteer to Darfur, then as a Green Beret to Iraq and Afghanistan, and finally brings him back home to become a rising football star at the age of 34. Furthermore, he’s currently learning to make movies with Peter Berg at the Film 44 production company in L.A. while he trains for NFL try-outs.

According to this 34-year-old long snapper, there’s nothing extraordinary about Nate himself. He believes anything can be accomplished through dedication and hard work, and he wants others to realize the same, which is why he takes on speaking engagements to inspire people, especially young people and veterans, to do anything they put their minds to. “Don’t let imaginary barriers stop you,” says Nate.

This is also why Nate wants to be in the film industry and play for the NFL. “It’s not all about me,” he says. “There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life in my opinion, and the film industry has so much power and influence over people. It affects the way they think and takes them outside themselves to see other problems and other points of view.” He also hopes that if he does make the NFL, it will inspire veterans to see that if they work hard, which they’re already used to doing, they can do whatever they want. Nate’s an active advocate for veterans through 22 Kill, an organization that raises awareness about veteran suicide.

Nateboyer.com is a place where fans, media and even movie producers can now find all of Nate’s pictures, videos, interviews, articles and more all in one place. It’s where people can go to get in touch with Nate, keep up with the latest news, and take part in his message. Nate will also be adding some of his own blog posts to the site.

Bob Kehoe, Leverage CEO and former college football player himself says, “From that first meeting at Darrel K. Royal stadium, I knew Nate was someone special, and after getting to know him, my opinion hasn’t changed. This is a story that needs to be told. I’m proud that my company is able to be involved in the next chapter of his life by creating his online presence at nateboyer.com. We are all excited to see where Nate takes his many talents next.”

About Leverage Marketing

Leverage Marketing is an Austin-based digital marketing firm that strives to help companies and organizations reach their business goals through integrated, strategic digital marketing campaigns that produce measurable results. Leverage marketing specializes in all aspects of online marketing from paid and organic search to content creation and design.

Press contact: Matt Hooks
press@nateboyer.com

Mobile-Friendly Becomes Mandatory: How to Overcome ‘Mobilegeddon’

It’s been a hot topic for webmasters and SEO analysts this past month. It’s been discussed in widely-circulated blog posts and given the ominous nickname ‘Mobilegeddon’. However, those outside of the SEO world may not have heard a whole lot about Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly update.

Here are the basics that you should know, especially if you’re a business owner: on April 21st, Google will implement an algorithm update that will give a website’s mobile-friendliness additional weight as a ranking signal. Mobile usability is already a factor in page rankings, but it’s about to become more important than ever.

Essentially, if you have a website that is optimized for mobile devices (i.e. looks as good on a phone or tablet as it does on a desktop computer), you should rank higher in Google’s search results than a competitor who hasn’t optimized their site for mobile.

Worried Mobilegeddon will negatively affect your business?

Contact Us for help with your mobile site.

So what’s Google’s rationale for the update? It boils down to improving the user experience. More than 64% of American adults now own a smartphone, and 34% of those people use the internet more frequently on their phone than on any other device, according to a Pew Research Center report. Google wants to ensure users are getting search results that display well and work properly on any device.

If you’re starting to worry that your company’s website is going to be banished to the far reaches of the internet, read on to learn how you can optimize your site before April 21st.

How Do You Know If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly?

You may already know that your site is mobile-friendly—or that it isn’t. On the other hand, you may be saying to yourself, ‘Didn’t I have a web designer optimize my site last year? Am I good to go?’

If you’re unsure whether Google’s new update is going to be kind to your site, the first thing you should do is put your site to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is enter a web page URL, and Google will tell you if it meets the requirements for being mobile-friendly. Be sure to plug in multiple pages, as mobile-friendliness is determined at the page rather than site level.

Here are some common issues that might cause one or more pages of your site to fail the Mobile-Friendly Test:
• Text is too small to easily read on a smartphone screen
• Your content exceeds the screen width
• Links are too close together to easily click on a small touchscreen
• Your mobile viewport is not properly configured (you can read more about this here)

If Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly, What’s Next?

If your site doesn’t fare well on mobile devices, stay calm and talk to an experienced web designer. There are a few different ways you can make your site mobile-friendly: you can create a mobile-only site, use responsive design, or use adaptive design.

It’s also possible to develop an app, which users download and open to access content from your site, rather than opening a web browser on their phone. While there are some benefits to creating an app, this is more of an add-on than a priority. Focus on the website first.

Mobile-Only Websites

A mobile-only, or m-dot site, contains many of the same elements as your full site, but is a separate website that loads when a web user clicks through to your site from their mobile device. This stripped-down site typically has simpler navigation for the benefit of people using smaller screens.

Pros: Mobile-only sites are relatively easy to build and typically provide a good user experience. Because they are separate from the main site, content can be tailored for mobile viewers. They are also usually (but not always) the most affordable type of mobile-friendly site to build.

Cons: When you create a mobile site that is separate from your main site, you’re essentially doubling the site maintenance with which you have to keep up.

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

Responsive design takes all elements on a web page and resizes them based on the resolution of the screen. If you’re on a computer, you can test out a responsive design site (The Leverage Marketing site is one) by resizing your browser—the page you’re on will expand or shrink so that the same elements are always visible.

Pros: RWD is the easiest mobile-optimized format for Google to crawl and index. It’s also flexible (it works well with all screen sizes) and gives your site a consistent design across platforms.

Cons: RWD tends to have a slower load time than mobile-only, especially when it comes to image-heavy sites. Images need to be optimized for all devices in order to reduce the load time so that users don’t get impatient and leave.

Adaptive Web Design (AWD)

Adaptive design detects what kind of device and operating system you’re using and tells the server to use different layouts for different devices. The main difference between AWD and RWD is that with AWD, the layout decision is made on the server side rather than the client side.

Pros: Because the layout decision is made on the server side, load times are faster on the client side. AWD also works well with a wider range of phones—including older and low-end mobile phones– because it uses more sophisticated device detection scripts. This won’t make a huge difference for most businesses, but may be beneficial if you are trying to reach developing markets outside of the US.

Cons: As the most complex mobile optimization option, AWD is also typically the most expensive. It requires a large budget and an experienced team of developers to implement, so it may not be a feasible option for all businesses.

Still Not Sure How to Optimize Your Site?

If you’re still not sure what kind of mobile optimization will be most beneficial to your business, talk to one of our web designers about your business goals and how you want customers or clients to use your website. We work together with our clients to come up with a design that fits their brand and makes the user experience positive on all devices.

Worried Mobilegeddon will negatively affect your business?

Contact Us for help with your mobile site.

How to Use Retargeting Ads without Coming on Too Strong

Anyone who has been online in the last several years has experienced retargeting, whether they recognize the term or not.

 

Let’s say you’re browsing an outdoor store’s website because you’re interested in buying a new tent. You see one you like and click on the product page, but decide to do some more research and leave the page without purchasing the tent. A couple days later, you see an ad for that outdoor store’s tents while browsing another site.

 

That’s retargeting, and it works like this:

  1. When you visit a web page, a small piece of code (known as a cookie) is stored in your browser.
  2. This cookie stores data related to your site interactions.
  3. As you continue to browse the web, the cookie lets retargeting providers know when to serve certain ads that are relevant to you based on your browsing history.

 

When used well, retargeting ads help remind people about products they were interested in and makes it easy to purchase those items if they’re still interested. When used poorly, retargeting ads can be kind of creepy and annoying. Let’s talk about how to avoid falling into the latter camp.

 

How to Get Retargeting Wrong

Although I still hear the occasional jokes about how retargeting seems like a form of stalking, the practice has been around long enough now that most people accept it as a normal part of the internet browsing experience.

 

However, it’s still possible for retargeting ads to cross a line into the realm of the obnoxious. Here’s what NOT to do, unless you like turning off potential customers:

 

Serve an ad that links to the wrong landing page. You serve an ad about a shoe sale to users who have browsed your site for boots, but when they click the ad they get sent to a landing page for your fall sweater collection. They’re not looking for sweaters– they just wanted a 25% discount on a pair of boots they’d been eyeing — so they navigate away from the page, and you lose out on a sale.

 

Place incorrect or outdated info in your ad. Let’s say you end that shoe sale after a week…but forget to swap out the copy on your ads, and continue luring people to your site with promises of a discount you no longer offer. No one’s going to be particularly happy if you can’t deliver on the claims in your ad, and you will damage your brand’s integrity.

 

Be obtrusive. I have yet to meet someone who truly enjoys pop up ads flashing onto their screen while they’re trying to browse online.  Sure, you want your ad to stand out, but you don’t want it to distract web users to the point that they have negative associations with your brand.

 

Serve the same ad too many times. Showing a site visitor the same ad over and over again for a product that they showed a vague interest in is the internet equivalent of following someone around a store and out the door saying, “You’re sure you don’t want this? How about now? Or now?” To avoid this, you should set up frequency caps (which I’ll talk more about in the next section).

 

Serve an ad for a product that a customer has already purchased. Your customer just clicked on one of your banner ads and bought your product. They were feeling pretty good about their purchase — until they start seeing more of your retargeted ads for that same product around the web. Not only is this annoying, it also shows that your company doesn’t care enough about its customers to notice when they’ve converted and change the way you communicate with them.

 

4 Retargeting Best Practices

Segment your audience. You don’t necessarily want to serve the same ads to someone who just viewed your homepage as you would to someone who abandoned their shopping cart. Tailor your ads to visitors’ interests by creating different lists based on a visitor’s interaction with your site. Your segmented list should be as specific as possible, but don’t over-segment if your audience is too small. You typically want at least 1000 cookies per list.

 

Set a frequency cap. A frequency cap ensures that a web user stops seeing the same ad after it has been served to them a specified number of times. There’s no magic number — it will depend in large part on your product’s life cycle and advertising standards in your industry. Talk to your retargeting provider to determine the best frequency cap for your ads.

 

Pay attention when visitors convert. It’s easy to avoid following your customers around the web with ads for a product they just purchased from you. All you have to do is add a snippet of code to your transaction confirmation page so that customers are untagged from the segmented list once they convert. You can, of course, still add them to other lists in order to cross-sell to them based on their purchase history. Again, this is something that your retargeting provider will be able to help you with.

 

Keep testing. Don’t get complacent — when people keep seeing the same (or similar-looking) ads from your company over and over again, they may develop ‘banner blindness’ and stop noticing your ads altogether. Just make sure that when you A/B test your ads, you only change one variable at a time in order to pinpoint what works best.

 

Want to talk more about how to use retargeting without scaring shoppers off? Comment below, or contact Leverage Marketing.

A Recipe for Sweetening Negative Reviews

The Real Deal with Bob Kehoe

For consumers, the Internet has proven to be a valuable tool when it comes to making sound purchases or investments. That’s why online reputation management has become so essential.

These days, you can do your homework and find reviews of pretty much any product or service and, for many perspective buyers, doing his or her homework online before picking up the phone or making a purchase is nowadays imperative.

Businesses subject to the consumer’s two cents, though, may not be so appreciative of this. And occasionally, their attempts to fan the critical or negative flames on their own can make matters worse.

Case in point: a friend of mine is a chef who, despite an impressive CV and years of work and smarts under her belt, had to take work at a small catering company a few years back at the height of the recession. To get a sense of what she was getting into, she perused a few popular sites that specialized in restaurant and food service reviews and came across a range of responses to the outfit that were, as she described it, “all over the map.” Given the economic climate, though, she took the job.

Over the next few months, my friend monitored the websites and noticed something curious: if any reviews posted that expressed even the slightest dissatisfaction with their services, a post would quickly pop up praising the company and including counterpoints to the original, critical post.

Even more curious: the complimentary posts praised the catering company for fictitious work. These hijinks were easily traced to the owner, who was also in charge of sales and whose reputation for being difficult to her clientele and employees proved to be well-founded. The occasional critical posters also weren’t spared an ounce of her wrath, as the posts between the critical client and owner turned into full-on pissing wars on a few occasions — not everyone can successfully handle review management.

 

Respond to Negative Reviews with Dignity

Whether or not consumer critiques are posted in earnest or with ulterior motives is beside the point to business owners. They’re out there for others to read and consider, and the companies on the receiving end of the critical or negative reviews stand to lose potential business regardless of if the post is sincere or unfounded.

If inclined to respond to a negative review, the best approach is to take the high road.

Gauge which posts are the most logical to address: this is as important as how you will respond. Then address the critical post politely and sympathetically. Offer a sincere apology acknowledging the issue and offer a remedy to resolve the problem and/or offer a discount or other incentive to prompt return business. If the poster responds negatively, then let it go.

This can also reflect well on those considering doing business with your company: smart consumers are aware that not every customer will walk away completely enthralled with your operations, and mature, sympathetic responses on your part can actually make a good impression to readers vetting you out.

 

Getting Help with Online Reputation Management
While it’s wise for the business owner or manager to do their part in monitoring consumer websites and social media pages and responding to negative as well as positive comments, they can’t be expected to handle it all. Responding to all online reviews can be a daunting task, especially if your company has several locations or branches with their own Yelp or Google+ pages. That’s where Leverage comes to the rescue.

Through our online reputation management platform, we regularly seek out positive reviews of our clients’ products and services and make sure those are placed front and center on a variety of sites. We also identify and manage any negative reviews our clients may receive as soon as they receive them.

By executing this program, we expect our clients’ online rankings to improve, as will the volume of organic traffic and overall ratings. This program, as well as the approach to responding to unsatisfied customers or patrons as described above, is the better path to service-driven companies, including catering and food service operations.

Our chef friend’s tenure with this catering company was short, by the way: the owner may have made a point to write “praise” for her outfit online and defend anyone whose opinion was less than celebratory, but there were other things – notably her employees’ paychecks – that she’d forget to write.