Gulf Coast Local Blog


Newsletter: December 2015

Read Our December 2015 Newsletter Here!

From this month's newsletter, learn:

  • How to Improve Social Media Holiday Campaign (and how we can help!)
  • 5 Keys to Building a Better Team
  • Tips for Cleaning Up Destructive Toner Spills
  • How to Give Back to Your Favorite Non-Profit Organization with Our New Contest

November 2015 Newsletter

Read Our November 2015 Newsletter Here!

From this month's newsletter, learn:

  • How to save up to $25,000 in taxes on IT software, equipment and services
  • 4 Tips to create a safer password
  • The top 3 marketing trends in 2016.
  • About copier applications that will simplify your life.
  • The 5 traits of a lead generating website.
  • How your laptop battery could revolutionize the way you drive.

How to improve your social media holiday campaign

Holiday marketing campaigns are a great way to boost sales and increase exposure. And social media plays a big part in making your holiday campaign a success or a flop. As we have preached lately, social media is a powerful player in today’s marketing sphere. People flock to social media during the holidays to review products, research companies and read reviews before buying gifts.  If you’re not using social to help market your brand or product, you aren’t helping your business grow to the best of its ability.

As of this year, almost one-third of shoppers made purchase decisions based directly on social media interactions, according to a MarketLive survey. And these direct purchase decisions based on social media experiences are expected to continue growing substantially.

But just how can you incorporate your social media marketing to your holiday campaigns? Well, for starters you need to remember to ALWAYS incorporate any marketing campaigns into your social media marketing. Social is where you can organically spread the word about your brand and product and encourage your followers to share your campaign with their friends.

Stemming off that point, when developing your holiday campaign for social media, make sure that your campaign is responsive. What does that means? It means that your campaign is accessible on both mobile devices AND desktop. As we have predicted for 2016, mobile is overtaking desktop at an unbelievable speed, and soon will be the main source of internet surfing, putting desktop computers in the dust.

So, make your campaign available on both mobile and desktop computers. Along with this, many social media channels have a “buy” button now that enables users to simply click on their Facebook or Twitter page to buy a product. This is extremely useful because you are taking the product straight to them. Alleviating the hassle of going on your website to shop gives the user a much easier shopping experience- straight from social media.

Some handy social media campaigns:

Content-generated contests and giveaway

Many users enjoy seeing user-generated content. This means developing campaigns that make use of user photos, reviews and voting contests. By allowing users to share their own content, it creates a deeper sense of value for the campaign.

Loyalty Discounts

As people get on social media to research products, brands and reviews, reward your followers by giving them an exclusive social media discount or deal for following your brand on your social channels.

Social media advertising

Facebook offers extensive advertising services to help promote your brand and target your audience, but Facebook is not the only platform offering advertising services. Twitter and LinkedIn now have paid advertising that can help expand your campaign’s reach.


Time-Bound Holiday Campaigns

By creating a sense of urgency and exclusiveness, making a campaign that is only advertised on social media for a short time helps hype customers up to your deal. Also, offering a limited number of a product and “holiday discount” helps incite motivation to participate in your campaign.

Make sure your campaign is holiday-themed

This may sound obvious to some, but it’s a good reminder that if you want to attract holiday shoppers, you should make your campaign look and feel like a holiday offer.

There are plenty of ideas on the internet of good holiday campaigns, but the suggestions listed above are tried-and-true campaign ideas.



As marketers are all getting ready for the holiday deal dash, remember to find a unique selling point to your campaign. Focus on your target audience and figure out what kind of campaign may suit them best. Not all campaigns are created equal.

Something for all social media marketing campaigns to remember to do is to invoke engagement. Whether it is commenting on campaign post, or liking your page, make sure you are asking your followers to interact with your page somehow. This helps expand your post reach, which is now moderated by the new Facebook algorithm. Be the judge of how much you ask your followers to do though. If you give them a million tasks to complete before they are eligible for your giveaway/discount that may discourage them from entering at all.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn! And for more helpful hints, read our other blog posts!  

Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

As 2015 is winding down—with only a couple more months left until the New Year, we want to discuss some marketing trends to look out for in 2016.

One main theme we can expect is the continuing evolution of technology and how it will affect our marketing strategies. We can expect that 2016 will only become more wrapped up in the latest apps, social media platforms, and the mobility of the internet.

We’ve seen a rapid growth in the amount of internet users getting online via cell phone and tablet as mobile devices have advanced. And as mentioned above, with technology only becoming smarter, faster and more portable, it’s clear the majority of internet users are leaving the desktop computer in the dust.

But just what exactly can we expect for 2016 in terms of digital marketing? Well no worries, don’t expect something completely foreign. Actually, there will be many marketing strategies from the past few years still taking the limelight, but just progressing more. For example social media.

Social media has been around for the past decade, at first attracting only a few pioneers and internet savvy-users, but now everyone and their grandmothers have a Facebook account. Social media and the terms we use to describe social media are growing at a light-speed pace. Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, are some social media channels are just a few out there. Everyone is searching for the next social media app. And businesses can make great leaps in their marketing as they embrace social media.

So without further ado, here are the predicted marketing trends we should expect to see in 2016:

1)      Social media is becoming a main resource for articles and information.

Facebook and Twitter particularly have seen a big increase in users reading articles and watching videos on their platforms as opposed to reading articles and videos on the actual publisher’s website.

This means social media marketing will become even more important for your brand. If users are getting a brand’s information straight off social media and rarely going to its website, that means you need to be active in social media if you want to be heard. The more social-media centered our society gets, the more people will be looking for brands on social media to get their information from.

Note: This does NOT mean you should not have a website.  Websites should be a mandatory tool for a company. Websites help in SEO rankings as well as provide necessary information to customers that you just can’t put on a social media channel.


We all know social media is key to creating two-way communication with your customers, as well as creating meaningful relationships with them. A.k.a. not just spitting advertisements and promotional material in their faces. Refresher: social media should be used to engage and entertain your customers and potential customers, not directly promote your brand: Think that more PR and less marketing.



2)      Desktops are being left behind.

Mobile usage has gained rapid popularity and will only gain more traction in the future. In fact, it’s looking like the desktop may never go back to what it once was. As of this year, roughly 2,000,000,000 global internet users get online on a mobile device, which has surpassed the number of global users that use a desktop computer.

Google even decided that in order for a company to be ranked in SEO, the company has to have a mobile-friendly website, but doesn’t have to have a desktop-compatible website necessarily.


Put simply, if your company’s website is not responsive to different devices, then expect to be hidden from a majority of your potential customers.


3)      Video Advertisements will grow.

You’ve seen them in many places already- on websites, before your video on YouTube and in social media, but in 2016 video has the chance to become a mainstream digital advertising component. Currently, Google Search is testing out video advertisements. So instead of just those sponsored ads you see at the top of the search results page, embedded ad videos will live there too.


4)      Personal, meaningful content will be more important than ever.

As mentioned above, digital marketing needs to be relevant and useful for a company’s target audience.


It should be about providing interesting, relevant information that is within your business’s industry. For example, social media is where people want to read about topics that are important to them – not read about why they should buy your product. Entertain them, provide them with information they are interested in, but don’t try to directly sell them.


When it comes to a website’s content, make sure it remains meaningful and interesting to your visitors. Give them targeted messages that appeal to their interests and preferences.


This is true when it comes to content and digital advertising too. There are so many ways to collect consumer insights: what they use, what brands they like the most, what products are of most interest to them. By finding out these insights you can target your content to appeal specifically to a certain group of people.


If you walked onto a car lot and told the salesperson exactly what you wanted and they showed you cars that were completely outside of your preferences, you would be confused and probably aggravated, right?

Create content that is purposeful and specific to your target audience.


We can expect to see more than just these four trends in 2016, but the trends listed above will be more important and influential.


The only question is: is your business ready for the change? We know digital, that’s why we are in the digital marketing business. Our goal is to help businesses get the most out of their marketing efforts and help them navigate effectively through the digital world. Let us help you!

The Importance of Backlinks in SEO for a Website

SEO? What does that stand for?

If you are not sure what the term “SEO” stands for in today’s digital marketing landscape, you have some homework to do. SEO, standing for search engine optimization, is a pivotal function that helps get traffic to your articles, blogs, posts, websites and practically anything you want to get noticed on the internet.
When users search for a specific topic in a search engine, a list of related articles and links are displayed. But how do you get a user to see your article above the thousands of others in a search result?
Well, search results are based on a ranking system that is created using Google’s search algorithm.
That’s where the backlink comes in.

The Backlink

If you have a basic understanding of SEO, you’ve probably heard of the backlink. But although it is a common term in the SEO world, they can be difficult to understand.

When you read an article online that has links to other webpages embedded in the article, like this, you are seeing a backlink. When another page or article online is linking to your webpage, it’s helping your article increase its SEO ranking. In turn making it easier to be found. Get it?

Any article with links to other webpages create a higher SEO ranking, i.e. search engines will pick up webpages with backlinks more than webpages without.

But just understanding the definition of a backlink is just skimming the surface. Backlink terminology is wide and varied.
Here are a few:

Link juice: When another page links to your website, or vise versa, this creates "link juice." Link juice aids in producing a higher ranking for your webpage, domain and article. But take note:Link juice is connected to the quality of the website's link "power," so to speak. An example: If a well-known website such as Huffington Post were to backlink to your webpage, the link juice would be more powerful than if a lesser-known website backlinked to your page. Having a quality website backlink to your webpage is valuable because it increases the power of that backlink in relation to SEO.
No-follow links: If an article creates a link, but doesn’t want to pass the link juice around, they can create a no-follow link. These types of links don’t improve the article’s ranking, but they prevent link juice from being passed to webpages that are not reliable sources.
Do-Follow Links: By default the links you put in your article are do-follow links and pass on "link juice."
Anchor text: the text you click on that re-directs you to a link. It is important the text a user clicks on pertains to what the link is actually about.

Recently, Google Search switched up its search algorithm to prevent webpages with unreliable or questionable links to be pulled up in the search engine. Your article needs to have links to RELEVANT and credible sites backlinking to it, not spam-y bogus sites.
Don’t forget to incorporate specific and relevant keyword out-bound links in your articles.

Quality over quantity

Having credible websites and articles linking back to your webpage is key. You don’t need to have hundreds of links directing users to your webpage to obtain a higher SEO ranking though. Many times if you pay for questionable or non-relevant pages to create links to your website, Google’s search algorithm will penalize you. Quality webpages linking back to your page is what is important- not a million different websites you pay to link, but have nothing in common with what your article or webpage is about.


OK, so we talked about some technical terms, some do’s and don’ts of backlinking, and quality vs. quantity, but let’s summarize:

Backlinks refer to the webpages that are creating links to your webpage. Having substantial, quality sites link to your page is better than having thousands of miscellaneous, irrelevant websites linking to your page (plus you may get penalized by Google).
Create anchor text that is relevant to the hyperlink—this will help raise your SEO ranking instead of creating a link that says CLICK HERE to read more.

Backlink knowledge is a lot more complex than just these few suggestions, but with an overall understanding of what they do and why they are useful you are already ahead of the competition.

Meet Whitney Jones, Digital Marketing Specialist
At BIS Designs, we are excited to welcome the newest addition to our team, Whitney Jones. Whitney will be replacing Chad Hutchinson as Digital Marketing Specialist in our Social Media Marketing Department.

Although we are sad to see Chad go, we will be gaining a hardworking digital marketing specialist with a background in public relations, marketing and design.

COO of BIS Designs, Liz Miller, stated, "From the start, we've built our Digital Marketing Services on value, quality and results. Whitney brings the experience, training and mind for public relations to propel us forward."

Before joining BIS Designs, Jones worked in public relations at Mary Crotty Public Relations in Dublin, Ireland, locally, at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Theodore, and most recently, at the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences where she assisted the PR Director, blogged, coordinated events and shot student videos.

Jones graduated from Auburn University with a bachelors in public relations and a minor in marketing. While there, she worked on public relations projects with NASCAR+ Fox Sports 1, Auburn University Department of Geography and Geology and Surfers for Autism.

Miller went on to add "With Whitney's contributions and expertise, we'll be able to add an even greater depth of services to our clients."

Contact Information:
Whitney Jones

To learn more about our social media marketing solutions, please Jay Friday a call at 251-623-4581.

Why is a Mobile Website a Must?

The Mobile Necessity

In today's world of smartphones, internet browser usage is now dominated by mobile devices and not the desktop. With more and more individuals surfing the web on their smartphone, the requirement of having a mobile friendly website has reached the point to where Google is now strongly influencing website rankings based on whether or not a site is mobile friendly. Here are few more key points on why a mobile friendly website is so crucial:

Always Accessible

Consumers carry their smartphones everywhere, and are able to make instant decisions and follow up those decisions with purchases. Thus making it crucial for you to make your business, services and products accessible to consumers anytime and anywhere.

What They Want to Know

Consumers often access your mobile website for quick information access. They want a contact number, email for to fill out a form for further information. Your mobile website gives them quick and easy access to all the information they want to know about your business.

Consumer Friendly Content

If your website is not a mobile version, your customers and visitors will quickly become annoyed with having to zoom in and out and scroll around the page to find the information and products they are looking for. You mobile website is already built for their smartphone browser, and makes navigating your content and your website a breeze.

Keeping Up with Competition

If your competitors have a mobile presence, you can't afford to fall behind. If a potential customer is stuck between a mobile website and non-mobile site, it could quickly become the deciding factor on whether or not you gain a customer or lose one.

What Traits Create a Lead Generating Website?

Quality Leads Come from a Quality Website

The internet and business are fused together more than ever. And in today's age of online marketing, a business won't last long without an online presence. And the heart of every business and its digital presence, is a home website. However, with snap judgments from customers and users, if you want to generate quality leads from your website, you must present a quality product. If your website is hard to navigate, is of low quality, or doesn't engage your visitors, you can plan on missing your target audience. To help you ensure you have a website worth its weight in leads, follow these keys:

Who Are You Going to Call?

A contact number may seem like an obvious piece to your website. Or, if you sell a strictly digital product, it may seem pointless. However, you can't overlook the value in customer trust that a contact number provides. You'll quickly find that while customers won't often use this number, it does give them a higher level of trust in your company and your website, as they know that direct line of communication is there, should they need it.

Put Forms Front and Center

If you want lead generation from your website, give your visitors easy access to lead generating forms! Include forms on multiple pages, or even every page. Don't make the form the focus of the page, but keep it above the fold to ensure its visibility to the user. Also, don't be too greedy with information requested from your web visitors. Keep the initial info simple and not too personal, and be sure to try and include an incentive for them, such as a "Free Quote" or "Special Discount."

Promote Your Reputation

You always want to include testimonials with your website whenever possible. Show your potential customers that you have a quality reputation backed by satisfied customers. Try to be specific with your testimonials without getting too lengthy. Don't just have quotes that say "They are great" but try to point out what specific areas of doing business with you the customer enjoyed. Take this one step further by including a photo of the individuals giving the testimonial. This humanizes your company, while also creating a deeper level of trust from potential customers when they can attribute a testimonial with the actual person.

Avoid "Build It Yourself" Websites

If you want quality results, you need a quality website...bottom line. If your website doesn't have a professional look, feel and layout to it, you aren't going to get professional results. While your customers may not be professional web designers, they can still tell the difference between a professional website and a website built in your spare time. Think of it like a business card. If the business card looks like it was printed on a home computer with regular stock paper, you aren't likely to trust the person handing it to you.

Are You Using Pinterest to Boost Sales?

Using Pinterest to Pick Up Sales

Pinterest is a great marketing tool for visually engaging your target market and boosting sales. But if you want to take the next step to increase your sales numbers and user engagement, give these social marketing tactics and tips a try:

Sweeten the Deal

Along with creating specific boards and categorizing pins for your products, be sure to include coupons with these items. These coupons won't just encourage your followers to purchase your products, but you are showing them specific products within the board that they can use the coupon for. This greatly increases the point of purchase incentive for your followers.

And the Winner Is...

Along with coupons, give contests a try. This gives your audience incentive to continue to follow and monitor your pins and boards. Be sure to make the contest rules clear and available, make contest entry as quick and simple as possible, and be sure to include prizes that are going to interest your audience and give them clear incentive to enter. Once you get the hang of things, try running contests on a regular basis and switch up the prizes and products you offer.

Spread the Word

Don't limit yourself to just Pinterest. Be sure to cross engage your audience on all social media channels and share the work you're doing on your Pinterest account. Include links and posts to your Pinterest boards on your home website, Facebook, Twitter and even your monthly email newsletter. Let your audience know where they can go to stay up-to-date on all your social media efforts and products!

Are You Using Instagram as a Retail Marketing Resource?

Show Them What You're Working With

Businesses in the retail sector are quickly tapping into the 150+ million Instagram users, and their bottom lines are reaping the benefits. The new social media giant is giving businesses plenty of marketing muscle with great photo sharing tools, branded hashtags and location based tagging tools. Combine all this and a visually appealing product can quickly start attracting followers and sales for your business.

Visual = Value

With it's custom image filters and easy sharing abilities, Instagram gives any retail business a valuable tool to promote and highlight their products. Research has already shown that producing pictures of products to go with your trendy description is sure to offer better brand recall and sales. The key here is design. These images can be great selling tools for your business, but you have to be sure your image quality and designs are the highest possible quality. So don't simply flood your account with sub-par work. Make sure you take the time and effort to reflect the quality of your product in the quality of your pictures.

Get Personal

You want your business and your products to be unique, and your Instagram account and posts should reflect this. Along with the custom designs of your photo posts, make sure to include some custom hashtags to go along with them. If your in the jewelry business, try tagging things such as #CustomJewelry, #JewelryDesign or just simply #Diamonds. These hashtags all your images to be pulled up in relevant searches and boost your reach in your social media marketing efforts.

Keep Up with Conversation

When you have an eye catching product and post design, users are sure to comment on these images. So be sure you comment back. You want to always make sure you are taking the time to engage your followers and let them know you appreciate them as an individual. Be sure to address them by name and make the comment contains a personal touch for the individual. These comments will foster a genuine relationship with your audience and is sure to lead to both brand loyalty and sales.