Monday, December 30, 2013

Tips for Building Customer Relationships in 2014

With the start of 2014 quickly approaching, now is the time to reevaluate your customer relationships. What may have worked for you in the past may no longer do the trick. It's important to take time to reflect on how well you and your business are serving your customers. Building customer relationships goes beyond providing good customer service. There's more involved to building relationships than simply being friendly. You need to work on improving customer satisfaction as a whole; thus, increasing brand loyalty and profit potential in the process.

Customer Satisfaction

Customer service involves much more than simply providing a quality service at affordable rates. Not only must your customers be satisfied with the services you provide, but they also need to feel valued as well. They don't want to feel like you're only working with them for their money. Unfortunately, this is a major issue with businesses in current times. Evaluate just how well you're providing good customer service in all aspects, not just remaining friendly and professional. Are your customers really getting the answers to their questions? Are your customers feeling valued? Are you providing them with the services and help they need? Are your customers first in mind, or is your profit your main driving point

Reputation Management

Reputation management is often overlooked. You can't please everyone no matter how great of services you provide, but what are you doing about the customers who aren't happy? What are you doing about those bad reviews? Many business owners feel if they turn the other cheek or simply ignore bad reviews or customer complaints they will go away. This isn't the case. You need to address bad reviews and unhappy customers as it shows they are valued. Plus, it will help you build customer relationships as other customers will see you aren't just sweeping customer concerns under the rug.


Valuing Your Customers

The most important factor to improving customer satisfaction is making your customers feel valued. By actually showing that you value your customers it will be the thing that pushes you ahead of your competition. Your customers will turn to you versus your competitions because you've made them feel welcome and important. It's essential your customers feel as though their voices are heard. With 2014 right around the corner, evaluate how well you're showing your customers that they are valued and that you appreciate their business. Special discounts and incentives are a great was to accomplish this, as well as regularly interacting with your customers on a personal, yet professional level.


Reaching Your Customers

To build customer relationships, you need to make sure you're properly reaching your customers. Utilize the most appropriate marketing platforms to ensure you're reaching your customers in the most relevant fashion. If you use social media, remember, social networking outlets are diverse--each used by different demographics. If you aren't having any luck reaching your customers on Twitter, research which outlet your customers are using and then implement a marketing strategy. If they aren't on Twitter, maybe they are on Pinterest.


Fulfilling Customer Needs

Improving customer satisfaction and relationships also involves fulfilling your customers' needs. Are you providing them with the services they need? If not, broaden the services you offer. Can they reach you easily through a real person, not an automated system? If not, implement a system that's easier for them to contact you, which includes mobile marketing strategies. Maybe your website isn't meeting their needs. If so, then it's time for a redesign to make it more customer friendlily.

Simple things really go along way when it comes to improving customer satisfaction and building customer relationships. By achieving good customer service in all aspects, you'll increase brand loyalty; thus, increasing sales.

How do you ensure you provide good customer service to build relationships?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Simple Tips to Prepare Your Marketing Objectives for 2014

2014 is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to take a look at your online presence to push your marketing strategy to the next level. Start 2014 off right by taking the time to reevaluate your marketing objectives and begin taking the steps you need to make positive changes for the upcoming year. No matter if your business strategy is large or small, these simple tips will help you prepare for next year.

1. Update Your Website
Often, people forget to check their websites regularly, which results in outdated content and keywords. An important aspect of your marketing objectives is to properly maintain your website. If you haven't done so recently, evaluate your website's optimization and link portfolio. If your bounce rate is high, your keywords aren't performing as well as they should or you have broken or low quality links, take the time to resolve these issues. Also, make sure the information on your website is current, relevant and informative. Consider adding new content or pictures to freshen up your site. It's the perfect time to give your website a little redesign too, especially if you haven't done so in a while.

2. Update Social Media Profiles
It's easy to ignore your social media profiles; however, take the time to ensure your profiles contain accurate information and maintain brand consistency. Ensure all of the information is correct, as well as links, phone numbers, office hours and any other essential piece of information. Don't forget, your profiles represent your company, so make sure they are displaying a positive online presence.

3. Evaluate Your Content Marketing
Take the time to look back over the past year in regards to how well your content marketing strategy has worked. Was it effective? Did it target the correct audience? Did you use the right distribution outlets? No matter if your content marketing strategy was a success or failure this past year, take the time to analyze your content marketing objectives to provide you with a starting point for creating your new content marketing strategy for 2014.

4. Adjust Your Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is a critical component for your company's online presence; however, the effectiveness of social media marketing can be hindered by a number of factors. Look back over the past year at how well your social media marketing campaign panned out. Was it effective? Maybe you lacked engagement? Maybe you need to step up your social media etiquette? Wherever the problem may lie, now is the time to begin developing a plan of action to fix these flaws for a successful year ahead.

5. Fix Your Online Reputation
To push your marketing strategy to the next level, you need to take a good look at your online reputation. Many choose to ignore their poor reputation, but if you have a bad reputation on the Internet, you need to fix it. Address those bad reviews and put in the effort to begin cleaning up your online reputation. Everyone and everything are Googled, so make sure the results that appear in front of a customer when they Google your company are positive.

There are many marketing objectives you'll need to determine as 2014 quickly approaches. By taking the time to start early to push your marketing strategy to the next level, you'll be one step ahead of the game and won't be so overwhelmed.

What changes will you be making to your online presence for the year ahead?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Truth about Marketing from Top SEO Experts

With the ever changing Google algorithms and marketing techniques, it's difficult to stay up to date with the current trends and what's really working and what isn't. Rumors and myths fly around, making it even more difficult to decipher the truth about marketing. Recently, interviewed 9 of the top SEO experts in the industry to help determine the truth about marketing. They were kind enough to extend the opportunity to allow me to share this helpful info-graphic to help break the myths and establish the facts:

9 SEO Experts on the Future of Marketing #infographic - An Infographic from Pardot
Embedded from Pardot

Let's discuss this. Where do you think marketing is headed? Do you agree or disagree with these top SEO experts?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Simple Tips to Give Your LinkedIn Profile a Boost

A LinkedIn profile is an absolute must for any business owner or professional. If you aren't into social networking, you still need to create and maintain a LinkedIn profile for the many benefits it creates. Not only does it connect you with like-mind professionals across the globe, but it also adds to your credibility in your profession. Not to mention, there are numerous other benefits associated to LinkedIn accounts. It's a simple and easy method to develop an online appearance, promoting yourself and your business.

However, the success of your LinkedIn profile is only as good as the quality of your profile. If your profile is lacking key information, your credibility will decrease. Even with simple mistakes, you'll hurt the prospects your LinkedIn profile will bring. Luckily, there are many simple tips to give your LinkedIn profile a boost, which will further promote your business and business leads.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words
We all know first impressions mean a great deal. If your LinkedIn profile picture isn't high quality or lacks professionalism, it doesn't matter what your profile says because no one will look past your picture. LinkedIn is not the place to show off your abs or share your latest night out drinking. You need to have a professional picture-- with all of your clothing on. Also, pay attention to what's in the background. No one wants to see your messy desk or kitchen in the background.

Make Your Profile Searchable
Few people know there are certain areas on your LinkedIn profile that are used for optimization. When correctly filled out, you make your profile more searchable, increasing the chance someone who will be beneficial to yourself and your business will find you. For example, your LinkedIn headline is the top location used on your profile for optimization. Therefore, make sure your headline is filled out with keywords that accurately describe your job title. You can even use multiple titles in your headline, but avoid using any "fluff" as it will hurt your optimization.

When creating the titles for your headline, display titles and words someone is likely to use when searching for what you do. Also, make sure your headline is descriptive and accurately portrays your job description and business field.

Keep Your Profile Relevant
When creating your experience and summary sections, be aware there are separate categories for different areas of your work experience, education, summary, company information and other areas as well. Each section needs to remain current. Outdated information will hurt your success with LinkedIn as it will attract the wrong connections, which are no longer relevant to your current business field. Fill out as much information as possible on your profile and as accurately as possible. However, watch the length of your profile. If you have a rather lengthy work history, numerous awards and publications, only include the most relevant or those that have received the most recognition and are the most prominent. No one needs to know about your 3rd place award for your high school math club.

With your LinkedIn profile, you're also able to fill in area's of special skills and expertise. Don't limit yourself to just one or two. You can add dozens of skills and expertise tags, so use as many as you possibly can for the most benefits.

Yes, creating your LinkedIn profile is more time consuming than with other social networking sites, but the time is well worth it. Although it may seem like a daunting task, it needs to be done correctly if you hope to further your career or business.

Not sure how well you've created your LinkedIn profile? Do you need a LinkedIn profile created or a company pages created? If you need help, contact me today. I'd be more than happy to help you out.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Can the Benefits of Press Releases Do for Your Business?

Many business owners underestimate the power of well written press releases as part of their marketing strategy. There are many benefits of press releases, each offering more potential for your business to become successful. When you distribute effective press releases, you increase your brand's identity, as well as attract potential customers and investors. Whether you're targeting a large or small audience, a press release will help you reach your niche audience easier and on a broader level. And, although there is some debate about whether or not a press release is beneficial for SEO, in my experience, it is indirectly effective. If you're not doing it already, you need to incorporate press releases into your marketing strategy.

Boosting Company's Visibility
One of the best known benefits of press releases is the increased visibility your company will receive as there are a number of places you can distribute your press releases-- both online and in print. Although Google claims press releases don't aid your ranking, there is conclusive proof an effective press release will appear on search engine results, further promoting your company's visibility.

Establishes Your Credibility
When you distribute well written and informative press releases, you boost your company's credibility. With the increased visibility, your brand recognition further increases. With that increase, you are then labeled as a solid and credible company in your industry. As a result, more customer and investors will be attracted to your company. 

Attracts Customers and Investors
Customers and investors both follow the news; therefore, they will pay attention to any press release you distribute. They are more likely to go with a company that has been in the news than a company no one knows about. 

Inexpensive Marketing Strategy
Despite common misconceptions, press releases aren't that expensive. Yes, you'll need to hire a press release writer to ensure you have a well written release that's not an advertisement, but the expense is worth it. As far as distribution is concerned, there are paid and free services. Even with the free distribution services, you'll still receive the benefits of press releases, just maybe not on the same level as you would with the paid distribution services.

Your company should put out press releases regularly, at least every quarter announcing new news, products, services and promotions. There are very strict requirements when it comes to creating an effective press release, so make sure you hire an experienced press release writer to ensure the job is done right.

If you're ready to achieve the benefits of press releases for your business, give me a call to discuss an appropriate course of actions.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

SEO Crash Course

Search Engine Optimization: Introduction to Keywords and Phrases
Search engine optimization (SEO) revolves around the use of keywords and phrases. Keywords/phrases are the word or phrase a person types into a search engine to find information about a certain topic. For example, if someone is looking for information about planting a garden, they might type in "gardening tips," "how to plant a garden," or "gardening." These are keywords and phrases.

Search Engine Optimization: How to Create Killer SEO Titles
Many people forget that search engine optimization also includes optimizing the titles of content and web pages. Correctly optimized titles are essential for search engine result's page (SERP) ranking. Combining SEO with a catchy title, not only increases your online visibility, but also entices readers to pick your content over others.

Search Engine Optimization: Introduction to Keyword Density- Part 1
 When utilizing search engine optimization, you must use the correct keyword density to achieve high search engine result's page ranking. Plus, the correct keyword density will allow readers to accurately find the information they are seeking. Keyword density is the number of times keywords and phrases appear within content compared to the content's overall word count.

Search Engine Optimization: Introduction to Keyword Density- Part 2
Last week, during Part 1 of the Introduction to Keyword Density series, we discussed a basic introduction to keyword density, including how to find your density level and how to use keyword density to optimize content. This week, during Part 2 of the Introduction to Keyword Density series, we will cover basic tips that will help you optimize content correctly.

If you need help with your SEO strategy, give me a call today. I also offer FREE website review services to determine how well your current SEO efforts are performing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recovering for the Google Algorithm Impact

Throughout the last couple of years, Google has steadily set in place many algorithm changes to enhance the internet browsing experience. Although the browsing experience has been promoted with these changes, many webmasters are feeling the impact and struggling to recover. Just when you begin recovering from one Google algorithm impact, Google releases another and makes the recovery process even harder. So, what can you do to fully recover and protect yourself from future algorithm updates?

A quality website is more important now than ever before. No matter if you've been hit by Google Panda, Penguin or Hummingbird, you need to put your website's visitors first when developing your website. If your website isn't engaging or informative, Google is going to knock you down on the search results page and replace your spot with a website that will meet the internet browser's needs. Your website also needs to function in favor of the internet user and be appealing to the user as well. If any of these aspects are lacking, expect to suffer from a decrease in ranking.

This is only the beginning. There have been so many changes made to the algorithm requirements over the last couple of years, it can be nearly impossible to stay on top of them all, making recovery seem impossible. That doesn't have to be the case. If you're struggling to recover from the Google algorithm impact, I've stayed current with all of the new changes and can help you recover faster. Not to mention, I can also help you recover from any penalties you may have received and help you avoid them in the future.

If you need help recovering from the Google algorithm impact, give me a call today to set in place a plan of action to give your ranking a boost.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Creating Quality Content for Your Website

We all know it's absolutely essential for your website's success and ranking to provide quality and relevant content to your visitors. But, what if your business funds aren't enough to hire a writer or website developer to create quality content for your website? Don't give up yet. You can create the content yourself, even if you aren't the best with words. There are many tools available that can help you out. For example, I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because even the most skilled set of eyes can miss something. It gives you an extra set of eyes to ensure your content is top notch.

To create your own website content, without spending a fortune, you can look for a writer who is just beginning their career. However, by doing so, you need to be careful. The saying, "You'll get what you pay for" remains true-- somewhat. There are many great writers with a natural born talent who aren't yet supported by the experience they need to charge professional rates. Therefore, they are often willing to provide you with the content you need at a cheaper price to develop their portfolio. But, be careful because most low rate writers won't provide you with the quality content you need. To find the few good writers out there who will give you great content, be sure to ask for plenty of samples before agreeing to work with them.

If a low rate writer is still out of your budget, create the content yourself. Even if you aren't great with words, you can still create a rough idea of what you want your content to say. Next, you can use online tools, such as the one mentioned above, or ask friends and family to help you edit and proofread your content. If you do have a little bit of funds available, hire a proofreader to help you out. 

What about optimizing website content? Again, you don't need to hire an expensive SEO firm. You can learn how to optimize the content yourself. The Fundamentals of SEO for the Average Joe is a great resource for learning basic optimization. However, be aware that your SEO efforts will fail if you don't know what you're doing. So, if you can, it's always best to use an SEO professional.

Need help creating quality content for your website? Contact me today to discuss your options.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Alyssa Ast's Services

Alyssa Ast is an experienced Arizona based freelance writer, journalist, author, SEO/SEM, web developer and social marketing specialist, who enjoys working from the comfort of her home office. Alyssa works for many online companies and private clients, fulfilling their need for quality content, social marketing and developing their online business needs. Using her SEO and SEM knowledge, Alyssa optimizes traffic to online content and websites-- increasing traffic, search engine ranking and profit potential. 

Writing Services

Alyssa has experience with numerous forms of web content including: blogging, ghostwriting, copy writing, rewrites, research projects and much more! Alyssa works closely with clients and editors to ensure the assignment guidelines and project details are fully accomplished. She strives to keep customer satisfaction her top priority. 

Marketing Services

Are you interested in achieving the benefits social media marketing can offer? Alyssa can help you get started or maintain your social media accounts. With years of experience, Alyssa knows the ins and outs of social media marketing to target a direct audience. Using the latest tips and tools, Alyssa will increase your online presence and marketing potential.

SEO Services

Alyssa Ast utilizes her SEO and SEM knowledge to attract traffic to online content. With increased online traffic, income potential and searchability increases in the client's favor. Alyssa Ast has a firm grasp of keyword density to maximize traffic potential. 

Business Services

Whether you're a large business owner or a small business owner, your website and online presence says a lot about you. It can even determine the success and failure of your business. Alyssa has helped many small business owners and larger companies grow successfully. Alyssa understands what it takes to make a business successful, and with the experience to support her knowledge, she can help your business succeed.

Website Development

Are you interested in starting a website or updating your current site? Alyssa can help! Alyssa remains current with the search engine indexing requirements to keep your site ahead of your competition. Plus, she can create a new website design that meets your needs, on top of developing engaging and properly optimized content to maintain traffic to your site. Not only can Alyssa create your website, but aid with maintenance, marketing and more.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Interview: 'Chicken Soup' author inspires with personal teen story

KINGMAN - Alyssa Ast has a message she wants to pass along to teen moms struggling to find their place in life.

"If I can connect to some of them and let them know they're not alone, I will have fulfilled my purpose," said Kingman resident Ast, 26. "Anyone can reach their dream. I'm a high-school dropout and a teen mom, so I know that if I can succeed, so can they."

Ast speaks from experience. She was recently published in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers," where she told her story in "Changing My Fate" of starting out on the bottom rung of life and ending up as a successful freelance writer. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Alyssa Ast's Contribution to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers

In May, Alyssa Ast's contribution in the new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers will be available for purchase. This marks Alyssa's second contribution to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series. She has also authored The Fundamentals of SEO for the Average Joe, contributed to The WM Freelance Writers Connection Presents Marketing Yourself and Your Writing Online, The Practical Freelance Writer’s Guide to Author Websites and is scheduled to release another book, Random Thoughts of a Tangled Mind, in 2014. 

CONTACT: Shelby Sledge (512) 206-0229
Inspiring all writers
 Chicken Soup for the Soul motivates writers–budding or bestselling–from books to blogs

COS COB, Conn.–The very existence of Chicken Soup for the Soul is inspiration for writers, as Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen endured years of rejection before publishing the first volume in the series, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller and a worldwide favorite. Now, just one month before the 20th anniversary of the original Chicken Soup for the Soul, the series has released a new anthology Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers (Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, May 21, 2013, 978-1611599091) that contains 101 stories from people who have successfully chased their dream of writing, documenting their setbacks and successes, and sharing their tips for finding inspiration, overcoming writer’s block, making time to write, and finding ways to get published.

Even if you’ve already been published, writing can be challenging. Award-winning Young Adult novelist Sarah Darer Littman was struggling to write her second novel. She would bring ideas to her agent and editor, only to have them shot down. This combined with going through a divorce made the prospects of writing a second book seem hopeless.  She decided to take a risk and write the whole novel first. “And I tuned in again to the voice inside. The one that loved writing for the sake of it, not because she was worried about selling another book,” Sarah writes. “The one who had stories inside that were bursting to be told, if only I would listen.” 

Bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan knew the importance of mentoring. She had an important mentor teach her the ins and outs of TV reporting early in her career, and loved mentoring others. One intern, Sally, even came back to be her producer after spending some time in the writing and publishing world. “With an idea for a mystery novel blossoming in my head, I asked Sally if she could mentor me in the book world! And she did,” Hank writes. Hank’s first novel won the Agatha Award for Best First Mystery and her fifth book is a bestseller and in its third printing.

You never know how your writing will affect your life or others. Bestselling novelist J.A. Jance has been writing stories for her character, J.P. Beaumont, for 30 years. One day, her son suggested writing a prequel for Beaumont. J.A. went back to read the very first book she wrote for the series, causing a flood of memories. The first novel mentioned Beaumont serving in Vietnam, inspiring J.A. to create a character inspired by her childhood friend, Doug Davis, who had died in Vietnam. Not only was it a life-changing experience for J.A., but she also connected with the woman who had been engaged to Doug before he died. “In writing this book I believe I’ve finally found what I’ve been searching for all along– from 1966 until now – forgiveness for missing Doug Davis’s funeral,” J.A. writes. “He was an unsung hero, and it is my honor to tell his story to the world.”

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers (Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark and Susan Heim) releases on May 21, 2013. Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC, publishes the famous Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, which is distributed through Simon & Schuster, Inc. In 2007, USA Today named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable books in the last quarter century. Since 1993, more than 100 million books in the series have been sold in the United States and Canada alone. Chicken Soup for the Soul titles have been sold in more than 100 additional countries and translated into more than 40 languages. The company is currently implementing a plan to expand into all media, including TV shows and a major motion picture, and is also developing a digital presence for life improvement, emotional support, inspiration, and wellness. Chicken Soup for the Soul Foods, a joint venture with Daymon Worldwide Inc., will start rolling out its line of delicious, nutritious comfort foods in Spring 2013. Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing also licenses the right to use its famous brand to high-quality licensees. For more information visit

To receive a review copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers or to request an interview, please contact Shelby Sledge at (512) 206-0229 or