Mountain Media’s 26 Random Acts of Kindness

As many of you know, there is currently a nationwide trend to perform 26 random acts of kindness, 1 each day, in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.

In our own effort to show our support for our east coast neighbors, as well as back a huge local effort organized by our very own Mamatoga to make this happen across our beautiful city of Saratoga Springs, NY, Mountain Media has decided to partake in our own 26 random acts of kindness.

Now, the three of us here in the Mountain Media marketing department that are spearheading our company’s efforts aren’t exactly rolling in the Benjamins – so we can’t make large donations to our favorite charities or pick up someone else’s restaurant tab on a whim or anything like that (although we sure do wish we could!). What we can do, though, is small acts that simply bring a smile to someone’s face and that will encourage them to “pay it forward” – and isn’t that what it’s really all about?

So we’ve enlisted the help of our entire staff to complete our 26 days of 26 random acts of kindness, and here’s what we have to share with you so far!

Wednesday, December 19: Act 1

As our first random act of kindness, Ashley, MacKenzie and I all took our lunch break to make the short drive over to Dunkin’ Donuts to purchase a Box O’ Joe to deliver to the construction workers next to our office building. We pass them every day on our walks to and from the office, and we always feel for them, always out there in the cold working like crazy to complete Saratoga’s new BowTie Cinema.

When we brought them the coffee, they were so pleasantly surprised that they didn’t know what to say to us. It was the greatest feeling ever, walking away after having wished them a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday, knowing that we had performed our first random act of kindness.

Thursday, December 20: Act 2

We’ve started off our kindness campaign on a bit of a coffee kick, as our second random act of kindness also involved delivering coffee. For this one, Ashley and MacKenzie took a stroll over to the Stewart’s down the street from our office to buy some coffee. They stocked up on all the fixins for a cup of coffee, and delivered a hot, fresh cup to the man ringing the Salvation Army bell at the Price Chopper next to our office building.

The man began tearing up when the two of them delivered the coffee, and said to them, “You two must be angels.” He then pulled a silver coin out of his wallet that he had received from a soldier who had come back from Iraq. The coin had a prayer from John 3:36 on it that read, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not parish, but have everlasting life.”

Ashley and MacKenzie returned to the office beaming, saying it was the best thing they had ever done for anyone.

For today, we are currently accepting ideas, but Mountain Media’s CEO, James Curley, has an idea to pick up a few cheeseburgers at McDonald’s to deliver to a few of the homeless men that are always outside around town. And Scott Fultz is playing Christmas carols on his guitar to a local elementary school – pictures of which will come on Mountain Media’s Facebook page shortly!

Also, I am considering bringing a few Christmas cookies to the Post Office today. I go on a cookie extravaganza every year, and yesterday, the Post Office helped me locate a misplaced package, and the man who I was talking to over the phone all day sent their delivery driver to my apartment building at 6:30pm last night to hand deliver my package to me after they found it. The delivery man pulled up in his personal vehicle and everything. I was blown away by the kindness, so I feel a need to thank them!

Do you have any ideas for us for our 26 Random Acts of Kindness campaign? Let us know here or over on our Facebook page! Or, just participate yourself – it could be something as simple as leaving a friendly note in your mailbox for your postman to pick up, or picking up the coffee order for the person behind you in line at the drive thru window.

And, of course, all of this is in honor of the 26 fallen victims in the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, who are in our thoughts and prayers for this upcoming holiday season.

What will you do to “Pay it Forward”?

Smiles and cheer,

Share Button

Mountain Media Set To Take on PubCon in Vegas

Las Vegas Blvd.What happens in Vegas will only end up on Facebook, right? That is 100% correct, except Mountain Media is taking on a different spin. We’ve gone through several positive transitions this past year. One of our most exciting is a trip to Las Vegas to attend PubCon. We have announced this via Twitter and Facebook earlier in August. So what is going to happen in Vegas exactly?

What is PubCon?

PubCon is a massive conference that takes place in a few major cities. Mountain Media will be attending the conference taking place in Las Vegas [insert excitement here]. It’s a conference that focuses on everything happening in new media including eCommerce, graphic design, and internet marketing. Attendees get to meet other professionals in the field, and they get to discuss or listen in on seminars to better themselves in their given fields of new media. It’s an investment that we believe will better ourselves as professionals at Mountain Media.

When Is It?

PubCon is taking place from the 15th to the 18th of October. For anyone that’s ever been to Vegas, this is the perfect time of the year. Not too cold, and not too hot for us mountaineers coming from the Northeast.

Don’t worry, Mountain Media will not be closed during these days. There will still be employees at the office if you have questions at any given point. Amanda, Dani, Jim and Mike will be at this conference getting live coverage of the events taking place, so make sure you watch it all unfold on our Facebook account.

Who’s Hosting PubCon?

PubCon is being hosted and organized by WebMasterWorld.Com. They are pioneers in the internet industry and host one of the first technology forums focusing on what the web can offer us. WebmastersWorld.com is benefiting all new media professionals with this conference, and we can’t wait to be a part of history.

What You Can Expect

With all of these informative sessions, we want to share the information with you that we will be learning. Mountain Media is going to be doing live coverage through blogging and social media throughout the week. So if you are not following our Twitter, Facebook and Google+ account, now is the time to start. In the end, we plan to bring new ideas to present to our clients and utilize for our business.

I hope to see you there,

Amanda M.

Share Button

Introducing Our New Video Marketing Services

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, sit back and listen up because Mountain Media has an exciting announcement for you today!

As many of you may have already seen through the Mountain Media Facebook page or in our recent e-newsletter (where the video here originally appeared), there’s a ton of new and exciting stuff happening in our offices as of late, and we are thrilled to be able to finally share what’s going on with all of you, our loyal followers!

Video Production Services

We are proud to tell you that after months in the making, we have finally launched our new video production services. We have the lights, we have the camera and we’ve always had the action – but now you all get to be involved, too.

Our full line of professional studio video and editing gear equips us to make high-quality commercials, interviews, testimonials and product reviews for placement on your website. And, not to brag too much here, but our video production staff has years of experience in the world of videography for television and web. So you’ll feel confident in knowing that you’re getting a solid product at a highly competitive price.

We will work with you to make your video a piece of content that will fit on your website and that will be shareable, which, you’ll find out soon, is one of the most important aspects of a piece of content such as this.

What Can It Do?

You’ve probably heard the buzz lately over the importance of having video on your website – well, there’s a reason for that.

Video content is considered interactive, rich content on your website in the eyes of the search engines. It’s known as one of the whitest hat techniques you can use these days in SEO, and with so many websites getting penalized lately as a result of Google Penguin, isn’t good, quality content something you’re just aching to have on your website?

You might be thinking, “Well, yeah, I know that video is great, but what exactly is it going to do for me?” Good question, my friends – and the answer is that it can do a lot more than you ever thought it could. Studies have been done over the past year or so that show that websites with video content can increase their click through rate by up to 80%.

That means that of all of the people who type one of your search phrases into a search engine, 80% more of them will actually click on the link to your website, rather than just scrolling right past. This is usually a result of the “rich snippet” that will appear with your search results after we get our hands on your video marketing needs!

What’s a Rich Snippet?

Have you ever seen that little thumbnail image that appears next to certain search results? Like when you do a Google search for a YouTube video – how there’s always a little “preview” of the video right within the search result (we have an example here of our own video efforts on our Guest Blogging Services page)?

That’s a rich snippet, and no, it doesn’t just magically appear there. That’s some hard work on our end to optimize your video to its fullest extent and literally tell the search engines that it’s on your website.

Oh, and by the way, when more people click through to your website because of your rich snippet, Google will start trusting you a little more, and they’ll likely start to rank you higher, as well. So, increased traffic, increased search engine rankings, high-quality content that will never “go bad”…what more could you ask for?

Video is a great solution for any and every website, and we’ll work closely with you to determine what exactly your site needs. So don’t hesitate to give us a call or sign up for more information and get started with us today!

Smiles,

Dani

Share Button

SEO: In-house or Outsource?

There continues to be ongoing debate over whether it’s better for an online business to invest in staff resources in order to perform search engine marketing in-house or whether to engage the services of a third party SEO provider.

The short answer is that “it depends”. For some companies, outsourcing is clearly the best solution and utilizing experts who are well-trained and up-to-date on the latest techniques and best practices is a “no-brainer”, while for others, an in-house approach may be a viable alternative… and occasionally, a combination of the two approaches is what works best.

In the scenario of a combined approach, an ecommerce company with the financial and human resources necessary could engage an expert SEO firm on a consulting basis. As consultants, the third-party would provide regular website critique, build an effective and informed search-engine strategy, provide monitoring and reporting and make the appropriate recommendations in order to help the business stay competitive while the business would utilize its internal staff to implement those recommendations and perform the daily workload and upkeep required to maintain a successful campaign. While this approach can work with the right internal and external resources in place, it requires tightly integrated communication between the two teams and can often be difficult to manage.

In general, the optimal approach for most ecommerce businesses can vary widely and hinges on three factors: budget, timetable, and goals.

Let’s take a closer look at the specific pros and cons of outsourcing SEO services versus hiring or training an employee to perform those duties.

Outsourcing

The lack of qualified SEO specialists in the marketplace makes a compelling case for managing your campaigns through a third-party provider. An established SEO company typically has a ready-made supply of experienced people on hand, access to the analytical tools that provide clients with a competitive edge on the Web, and years of experience in helping different types of businesses achieve high visibility in the search engines.

The Pros
The main advantages of working with a seasoned SEO firm are experience, knowledge, advanced skills, and a proven track record of producing measurable results.

In the “real world” of Internet marketing, a competent SEO professional does not learn their craft overnight. Although the basics of SEO can be superficially learned in one day, the nuances, potential pitfalls, and advanced strategies can take years to master and require constant education of the latest trends, techniques and ever-changing search engine algorithms. Since an improperly optimized ecommerce website can result in thousands of dollars in lost sales every month, choosing a well-established SEO firm, rather than relying on an in-house generalist, can literally make the difference between success and failure.

In spite of the fact that the Internet, as we know it, has been around for awhile, there are still ecommerce website owners who delude themselves into believing that “If you build it, they will come”. It makes for a good movie premise, but has no relevance to establishing a Web presence or making money online.

The reality of building a profitable online ecommerce store is that the playing field is increasingly competitive; and the businesses that rise to the top of the search engine rankings generally have an outside SEO expert or firm working on their behalf.

The Cons
A contract with a professional search engine optimization firm will typically be based on a predetermined number of hours, rather than an open-ended amount of time. Conversely, when you have SEO work performed in-house, the amount of time you devote to it can be as extensive or limited as you choose.

Another potential limitation of an outside SEO firm may be the lack of immediate access that you may occasionally encounter, especially if your chosen SEO firm has a lot of other clients. When you work with a busy, in-demand SEO firm, be prepared to sometimes wait up to 48 hours for a response to an email or phone call, unless it’s an urgent matter.

If, on the other hand, your SEO person happens to be a member of your staff, their response time will range from “immediate” to a couple hours. And, if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to consider your marketing budget to engage an outsourced firm. But beware that while some consulting firms may charge more per hour, than you may plan to pay for a hired Internet marketing person. In the end, you get what you pay for and your results may suffer if you do not put the time and effort forth to keep your internal resource well trained on the latest techniques and industry standards.

Bringing it In-house

If, for economic reasons, an in-house model is a better solution for your particular business, then recruiting a qualified, motivated employee is critical to your website’s survival. Adequate experience or intensive training is key to the success of an in-house SEO person. Without the proper knowledge and ongoing professional development, an in-house resource can actually be detrimental to your web site’s rankings. Many techniques that may have worked years ago are now considered aggressive spam techniques by search engines today. These so-called “black hat” tactics could result in your website being penalized or even banned entirely by Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. To drastically reduce the chances of that ever happening, it’s vital that whomever you hire for an SEO position be attuned to the latest trends, developments, and standards in the search engine marketing industry.


The Pros

When you have your own SEO person on the payroll (and they’ve been with you for at least six months), that person will tend to have a more comprehensive knowledge of your business, its culture, and what was discussed at this morning’s staff meeting than an outside SEO professional. It can potentially be an advantage to have an Internet marketer who interacts, in real time, with management, customers, and venders. This direct involvement can be helpful in determining what products, services, and keyword phrases are best to focus on in a search engine marketing campaign. This information can also be communicated to an outside SEO firm, but it comprises an additional step.

From a monetary standpoint, the cost of an SEO employee, especially on a per-hour or basis, would tend to be more economical. There are two primary reasons that it can be cheaper to have an in-house person handle SEO: 1) You, the business owner or manager, exercise complete control over the amount of compensation that’s provided, rather than having the price be determined by an outside SEO company. 2) In-house SEO personnel would typically be assigned a variety of marketing and communication duties; so their value as an employee is spread out, rather than having their productivity and value depend exclusively on Web site results.

The Cons
Everyday, companies and organizations of all sizes make the false assumption that they’ll gain a qualified SEO expert by simply sending their in-house newsletter editor or marketing assistant to a one-day SEO seminar. Granted, that might eventually be true after a year or two of self-study and daily trial and error, but how many businesses can afford the “luxury” of losing sales or – in a worst case scenario — getting banned from Google for bad SEO practices.
The problem is compounded by the fact that in-house SEO generalists may not have access to keyword research tools or know how to use them to their employers’ best advantage. Without that vital data, in-house Internet marketers may attempt to gain high rankings for keyword phrases that few, if any, prospective customers actually search for.

The other shortcoming of many novice SEO practitioners is their lack of understanding of the sales conversion process, as it relates to ecommerce. In other words, they’re not familiar with the copywriting and web design tactics that help convert site visitors into customers. This knowledge deficit can definitely have an impact on the revenue of an online ecommerce store. Additionally, a poor understanding of SEO and link development is a fast track to getting your site tanked by Google.

Summary: Managing a successful SEM campaign requires experience, knowledge, and creative thinking that cannot be quickly and easily acquired. Recruiting an entry-level person or marketing generalist to join your team full-time (or even part-time) will often prove to be a greater expense, in terms of lost sales and other costs, than engaging the services of an experienced, well-established outside SEO firm.

Good SEO specialists have access to resources and contacts that few in-house teams can easily assemble. It all comes down to whether you want to “hit the bricks running” with your search engine marketing program or take your chances with a “hit or miss” approach. The unvarnished truth is that an in-house team or individual will rarely be able to compete with the results produced by an established, experienced SEM/SEO company.

Share Button