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2343

Clients have asked, instead of hiring a sales person, should I put that money toward an online marketing or search engine optimization? As a company that supplies SEO, SMM and SEM services, I love to hear this and it’s a good strategy if managed correctly depending on your current staffing and market focus. I can’t say enough about having someone that breaths air and knows how to listen to a prospect because computers don’t listen, they just tell. But on the flip side, things are changing and if you’re not online, you are just local.b2ap3_thumbnail_ShakingHands.jpg

There is a lot of talk about how the generation coming does not know how to communicate with each other without sending a tweet, txt or other online communication. I watch teenagers and they can’t seem to keep their eyes or hands off their smart phone. What is so important on that screen? YO! – put it down and look up and talk to me. So I must be getting old that I want to talk to someone when making business decisions. But when I’m shopping online, leave me alone until I ask for help and stop trying to chat with me. However, these teenagers might be the ones looking for products or services in the future and you want to make sure your company shows up where they look.

The next generation is very transparent and tech savvy so having a solid online presence is critical unless you are not interested in reaching them as consumers. But I think there needs to be blending between humans and technology, and you need to understand your target market. Online sales or lead generation through SEO, SEM, SMM and digital media should be a part of every companies marketing plan. Based on your business model depends on the extent of that involvement and it should also support traditional marketing methods. Marketing campaigns should drive traffic to your website which should be designed to convert that prospect into a lead or sale. Leads require responding and follow up. It’s proven that conversion rates are higher when a qualified sales person does the follow up and closing.

So the answer: There is a blend and I see the internet as a referral source to your sales team. So depending on your sales team configuration, that will determine how much should be spent on Internet Marketing.

I also recommend you hold your SEO, SEM and SMM vendor to the same accountability as your sales team. In most cases, sales professionals’ success is based on activities and goals. Why don’t companies hold their Internet Marketing vendors to the same accountability? I think it’s because most Internet Marketing vendors don’t offer accountability and most companies are not viewing online resources at the same value. But what if you did and expected results? If you hire a lead generation or cold call company, they provide you detailed lists, call scripts and record keeping to justify their services. At Intrada, we have an aggressive online internet marketing campaign using Pay-Per-Clicks, landing pages, call to actions combined with traditional print advertising. We also focus on article generation like this one to build ranking on target keyword/key phrases for organic placement. But we also have a sales team that follows up on all leads and does traditional cold calling. It’s a balance and, depending on your business, your current staffing and target prospects, determines how you balance this decision.

So how do determine this balance? Intrada offers a Strategic Market Planning session designed to teach our team about our client and then identify the marketing goals. With the goals identified, a marketing plan can be created to deliver those goals and provide tracking, accountability and desired return on investment. Some of the questions asked and information gathered in the marketing planning session include:

  • History and Company Background
  • Service and/or Product Information
  • Current Staff and Positions
  • Current Market Reach / Target Market Reach
  • Current Market Saturation / Target Market Saturation
  • Current Competitor Challenges / Target Market Competitors
  • Current Sales, Budgets, Marketing Campaigns, Web Traffic and Online Visibility
  • Past Marketing Campaigns Efforts
  • What do you want to accomplish? Goals / Objectives / Growth

With this information, Intrada researches the current placement of a company on both online and physical placements. Intrada also identifies competitors, both physical and online, to establish a competitor analysis. Using tools available from search engines and other paid services, Intrada identifies the estimated search traffic available based on keywords and key phrases. After compiling this information, Intrada is able to provide a detailed marketing campaign designed to accomplish the goals, objectives and desired growth of a company using both digital media and traditional media.

So you want to find out if you should invest in SEO, SEM and SEM service instead of hiring another sales person? Contact an Internet Marketing company, establish some goals and get a quote. If you decide to move forward, hold the vendor accountable for hitting those goals and benefit from the largest referral network in the word.

If you would be interested in learning more about Intrada, give me a call or email me today.

David Steele, Partner / Webmaster

djsteele@intradatech.com
570-321-7370
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1756

In a world of ever growing dependence on technology, we sometimes leave ourselves vulnerable to security risks simply through complacency.  When the internet became part of our everyday lives people were skeptical about the security of this “invisible web” that was, at the time, a little clunky and scary to anyone born when Apple was just another type of fruit, and Windows were well Windows.  It seems though, that with the modern improvements in web pages, and the ever growing availability of the internet across many different devices (they now have Wi-Fi enabled refrigerators that can text you when you're low on milk) that maybe we've lost that vigilance while surfing and even in our everyday lives.

We've come along way since those days of “Napster” and “Netscape Navigator”, but the sad reality is that while the internet may have become prettier, but not too much safer.  The reality is that NO security software anywhere, no matter how modern, can guarantee 100% that a nasty new infection won't hijack your PC and leave you stranded on the side of the “Information Super Highway” that we've all come to rely on, even if only to check your email or to follow your friends and family on Facebook.  That being said, 100% of security software is useless if you give permission for scammers to access your PC. I know what you're thinking, “Why would I give a 'scammer' access to my PC?” well chances are you already have.

One of the more simple types of phishing scams involves “piggy-backed” software.  I’m sure you've been there, you're installing a new piece of software and unbeknownst to you a tiny little checkbox sits checked at the bottom of the install wizard, but you just keep clicking NEXT because you REALLY want to use this new software.  That's when you notice “PC Optimizer PRO” is now running every time you startup your PC and now your computer is running poorly.  “Wait, 'PC Optimizer PRO' says it can fix this for $99.99 I just have to sign up with a credit card.”  BOOM, now they have your information and they are going shopping, but this isn't even the worst case scenario.  The true threat today comes in the form of a courtesy call.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Microsoft-logo.pngIt's about 5 o’clock at night and you’re sitting down for supper, the phone rings. “Hello”, you answer.

“Good evening” the other voice replies, “My name is 'Chip' and I am calling on behalf of ‘Microsoft’” he continues.

“Our systems have indicated that your Windows Updates may have become corrupted by an infection, are you in front of the PC and able to get me access right now?”

“Oh no”, you reply. “Yes, okay I’m on the computer now”

“Great, could you please do the following…?”

b2ap3_thumbnail_FrustratedwithComputer.jpgThey then walk you through getting them access to your PC, after all this is “Microsoft” they know what they’re doing.  The problem is…this ISN’T Microsoft.  Once inside the “tech” disables your input so you can't use your keyboard and mouse, then the screen goes black. The PC is still on but you can't see what they have access to or what they're doing. In a panic you turn off the computer, but it's too late, they're in and they got what they came for.

While this is an EXTREME example, it happens every day.

Another scenario involves the same process as above except there never was an infection and you just paid $100 for them to do absolutely nothing, or maybe they leave behind a piece of software that captures all of your keystrokes, including passwords, social security numbers, account numbers, etc.

This isn't meant to be a doom and gloom scare tactic to frighten you. This is reality, and these things CAN happen to you or your friends and family.  There is hope though!  IT professionals fight day in and day out to find and eliminate these threats, but we can’t be everywhere, nor can we catch everything.  The best offense is a good defense.  Here are a few tips to help keep you safe:

 

  1. (Microsoft, Dell, Amazon, etc.) None of these companies will contact you without YOU first contacting them.  If someone calls claiming to be from ANY of the major IT companies, ask for a name and job title and a number and extension to return a call to.  Most of the time the “tech” will try desperately to keep you on the line, this is a sure sign of a scam.  If the “tech gives you a personal cell phone number (not an 800 or 888), this is a MAJOR red flag!
  2. Pop-up web pages aren’t just annoying they’re infectious.  Pop-ups stating that your PC is “infected and you need to go to this site to clean your PC” are 99.9% scams.  Don’t follow these links, avoid clicking on the pop-up windows as this can activate an infection.  CTRL+ALT+DEL and restart your PC all together as a last resort to avoid malware.
  3. Be Aware!  Always have a general awareness of where you are on the web.  Be cautious of anything that looks “out of place” on a favorite web site. It is easy to be directed away from safe areas to not-so-safe sites so watch what you are clicking on.
  4. If you’re not sure STOP! If you get to an area or if a message pops up that you don’t understand stop where you are.  Don’t accept any prompts that you don’t recognize or haven’t seen before.
  5. The best course of action for any of these situations is to take your PC to a LOCAL trustworthy IT company like us at Intrada Technologies* to verify any issues and secure the device.

 *Malware removals from Intrada Technologies start at $69.95(+tax).

Just remember that technology is amazing and very useful so long as it’s treated with its proper respect.  More than ever the internet is a very complex, powerful tool that can be used to accomplish incredible things, good or bad!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Intrada-Technologies---200-px---72-dpi.jpg

 

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2704

The Monthly “Steal” by David Steele

The Monthly “Steal” is a bit of relevant technology information intertwined with personal thoughts, opinions and some real life experiences. It is written by David “Steele” and is free, hence a “steal” from a “Steele”.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m frustrated with most search engine optimization vendors who promise a huge sales pitch, but provide a weak strategy. When I ask companies how their SEO strategy is working, most don’t have specific results. I believe that is because what companies want or expect from an SEO vendor is not exactly what SEO is intended to provide or what SEO vendors are providing as part of their SEO service.

SEO WebSEO is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results - often referred to as "natural," "organic," or "earned" results.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

If SEO involves editing content, HTML and associated code to affect the visibility of a website on search engines unpaid results, once a website is optimized, what’s next? I believe that once a website is optimized, you need to focus on maintenance, driving traffic to increasing ranking. But, I know several companies that hired an SEO vendor that is offering monthly SEO services, but has not changed or added anything on their website in months. My question would be: what are they doing every month?

I think this is a perfect example of where both the customer and the vendor feel they on the same page but what the programmer is doing and what the customer thinks they are doing are actually two different things. We are in a period where SEO standards and accountability comparisons for SEO companies are not consistent or even existent. So how do you know you have the best vendor to handle your Search Engine Optimization?

RESULTS: Set specific goals to organic placement that you will test and measure on a monthly basis.

I find it amazing that companies will test and measure a single billboard but they will not measure their website at the same level. Websites can support multiple channel marketing campaigns that, when used correctly, can provide real time tracking and results. SEO combined with marketing can be complex and requires a continual effort to increase search engine ranking, ad placement and conversions. The primary goal of any SEO strategy is building your site ranking. And then with ranking comes increased paid and organic placements.

In SEO and SEM terms, rank (or ranking) refers to where a Web site or Web page is ranked within search engine results. For example, if your Web site is about microphones, when a person queries "microphones" in a search engine, your ranking indicates where in the search results your Web page is listed (e.g. within the top 5 results, on the first page, the 300th page and so on). A Web page rank within a search engine is also commonly called a position. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/R/rank.html

The advantage of a strategic SEO process combined with an Internet Marketing Campaign is that it allows for tracking of specific goals and return on investment. At Intrada, we use SEO, SEO Tactics and SEM as part of a larger Internet Marketing Campaign or Digital Media Campaign. Since search engines can change algorithms that at any time effect organic listings, you don’t want to put all your efforts on this single source, because it could change without any notice at anytime.

I break down SEO into 3 stages to help organize and track the process:

1. PLAN – Set optimization goals

We start by learning our client. What is their passion, what is important to them, their history, what they want to accomplish and what separates them from the competition. It’s very important not to lose sight of a company brand, image or message and work to blend a website presentation to both the human prospect and the search engine. Understanding what is important to the client and what makes up the client provides Intrada the necessary information to balance the user experience with what keyword or key phrases are needed to maximize the desired placement. This includes the company name and locations, but it also includes products and services. We then identify who already shows up under our keyword goals and compare current ranking, keyword count and quality to establish a plan to set goals that will be used for testing and measuring the success of the campaign.

2. OPTIMIZE - Optimize current website and content to maximize placement goals

Based on the Optimization Goals, content is reviewed and suggestions are made to increase keyword counts to support the Optimization Goals. Once the content is approved and updated, programmers edit the code to maximize tagging, indexing, navigation, linking, usage of friendly URLs and support of mobile friendly standards. Intrada follows recommendations from Google Webmaster, Schema.org and W3C for code standards and web accessibility.

3. MONITOR & MAINTENANCE – Switch to pushing content

Once a website has been optimized, you don’t keep optimizing the same content over and over. Intrada monitors for errors and applies tweaking based on reports from Google Webmaster tools and services like MOZ. But if you’re not adding additional content, continual optimization is not going to full fill the need. We call it the 80/20 plan. 20% percent of our time is used to review reports and apply tweaking but 80% of our time is be spent adding new content to support the weak keywords identified on the Optimization Goals. Search Engines want to see changes, fresh content, cross linking and activity.

Search Engines want to provide the best possible search result to their customer. You need to prove to the search engine that your website is that resource. So prove it. This generally combined with an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) or SMM (Social Media Management) campaign to develop content to support Optimization Goals and use Social Media to cross link with articles the client’s website.

Don’t get me wrong, this process is not the smoking SEO gun. But this is how Intrada manages websites SEO and Marketing Strategies to provide measurable results. By putting the processes into phases allows us to communicate with our clients and focus on specific goals, removing the confusion and providing accountability. I find most companies don’t know SEO was not working for years. Don’t miss opportunities – hold your SEO company accountable for results and set specific goals to organic placement that will be tested and measured on a monthly basis.

If you would be interested in learning more about Intrada, give me a call or email me today.

David Steele, Partner / Webmaster

djsteele@intradatech.com
570-321-7370
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1706

Jersey Shore Water AuthorityThe Jersey Shore Water System was a privately owned water system that got water from Aughanbaugh Run in the late 1800’s & early 1900’s. It supplied the open reservoir located near Bardo Avenue, in Porter Township. In the early 1900’s, the Oak Grove Railroad installed 10 miles of 16” water main from Jersey Shore to the Larry’s Creek Filter Plant in Anthony Township to service the railroad’s water requirements. The line was soon converted to a public water supply. The first water source was Roaring Run in 1913. In 1914, the Larrys Creek Filter Plant was constructed, becoming the main source of supply for the water system by serving 7-municipalities in 2-counties.

In 1983, the Jersey Shore Area Joint Water Authority was formed and the water system was purchased from General Water Works in May of 1984. The Authority undertook a comprehensive capital improvement plan which continues today. A few of the major capital projects include: Larry’s Creek Filter plant update with a new dam and intake on Larry’s Creek, replacement of the supply lines at the plant, the filter plant was retooled including the pipe gallery, filters and media; and a 750,000 gallon clear water tank to improve service.

Intrada began working with Jersey Shore Water Authority in 2007. To allow a quick response and resolution to water supply situations, Intrada added remote control monitoring and surveillance to each location combined with PRO-Active Network management to notify Jersey Shore Water Authority of any problems. Recently Jersey Shore Water Authority joined in a redesign and modernization of their website in conjunction with the Jersey Shore Boro. This supports the latest optimization concepts, content management tools and responsive design. This design requires high quality images and allows for a great presentation of the water authority grounds and facilities.

Website: www.JerseyShoreWater.com

Launch: November 2015

Address: 1111 Bardo Avenue Jersey Shore, PA 17740

Phone: 570-398-4625

Photos: David Miller Photography - www.photographybydavidmiller.com

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Erin Roush, Owner of FreshlifeFreshlife is the region's number one resource for quality supplements, fresh foods and products for all your health and wellness needs. It all started in 1981, when Barb Jarmoska opened a 700-square-foot health food store in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and called it Freshlife. In 1985, the store moved to the former Thompson's Produce Stand on the Golden Strip in Loyalsock Township. That building was torn down a decade later to allow construction of the store at 2300 East Third Street, now one of PA's largest independently owned natural products supermarkets.

During the first 30 years, Barb focused on educating the Williamsport community about natural health through her Road 2 Health radio program, FreshMail newsletter, Options magazine, and seminars and presentations to many civic and educational organizations. In 2013, Barb passed the Freshlife baton of ownership to Erin Roush, who previously served as the director of wellness services for almost a decade.

Today, Freshlife offers you everything natural from a vast array of quality supplements, to bulk groceries, made-to-order organic smoothies and nutrition counseling. Freshlife is here to educate and empower customers to work towards their overall wellness. Their trained wellness staff has a vast knowledge of body systems and their own specific area of wellness expertise. Together, they are a team that can bring you to your optimal level of health and wellness.

As we started working through the initial planning session with Erin and Jim, wellness coach and webmaster, we quickly realized there was a knowledge and passion their current website was not delivering. The main challenge was to blend this amazing staff with content that supports search engine placement. After several meetings, photo shoots, training sessions and content revisions, Freshlife launched a new e-commerce website using all the latest optimization strategies and content management. Combine this with a continual feed of content from their FreshNews, we are already seeing a rise in organic traffic.

We encourage you to visit the site and, if you’re in Williamsport, visit the store to browse the products and pick their brains. Whatever your health and wellness goals might be, Freshlife is available to help create a unique solution for you. Freshlife is a way of life.

Website: www.FreshLife.com

Launch: September 2015

Address: 2300 E 3rd Street, Williamsport, PA 17701

Phone: 570-322-8280

Photos: David Miller Photography - www.photographybydavidmiller.com

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Contact Information: 
    31 Ashler Manor Drive
    Muncy, PA 17756

Hours of Operation:
    Monday to Friday 8 AM > 6 PM EST
 
 800-858-5745

Mission Statement

Intrada is built on the premise that the management of information technology for business is like legal advice or accounting. It is not a do-it-yourself job.

Smart business people who are not technically savvy need quality resources for reliable hardware, software, service, and support. Businesses rely on these vendors as trusted friends or partners in their business.

Intrada serves its clients as that trusted partner. We make sure that our clients have what they need to run their businesses, with maximum efficiency and reliability.

Many of our client's needs are mission critical. Intrada gives them the assurance that we will be there when they need us.