WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS TO FOCUS ON SEO

When operating a small business, it’s important to get the name of your business out there for people to see. One of the best ways to garner attention from consumers is through internet search. In Arkansas, 66.7% of households have access to the internet, meaning it can be very quick and easy to get your small business noticed if done right. 

SEO is one of the most important ways you can help your small business grow. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which means to optimize your company’s website so that it will gain traffic from search engine results pages. The more website traffic your business gains, the more attention your business is getting. SEO will allow you to expand your company to much broader areas and reach potential clients that you never considered. 

Here are some ways to improve your website content:

  • Create and produce quality social media content that is relevant

  • Include videos and audio recordings when appropriate

  • Use infographics and other visuals along with text

  • Post relevant blogs and articles that coincide with your company’s message

  • Keep your website frequently updated and organized

  • Include a title tag and subheadings on your pages and articles

SEO is beneficial to small businesses because it can improve the amount of traffic brought to a website. This, in turn, can help a business really take off and garner them the attention of consumers that they need to succeed. Implementing these points can help small businesses get higher up in search results which could possibly put them up alongside bigger businesses who pay for their ads. 

While it is not guaranteed that search engines will display your content, these tips can be very helpful in putting your website closer to the top of the search engine results page.


Political Ad Disclaimers: What you need to know

If you are a new candidate running for office, you might not know that Facebook recently set up an authorization and disclaimer process to run political ads on their platform. Twitter recently rolled out a similar process also. 

Any political ad ran on either of these two platforms will need a disclaimer. Failing to add a disclaimer to your political ad will stop it from reaching your audience which can ultimately cost you time because getting authorized can take a few weeks.

After you have been authorized, you’ll need to link your ad account to any relevant pages.

How do you add a Facebook disclaimer?

To ensure your ad has a disclaimer, you’ll first need to be authorized by Facebook to run ads on your page. You can start this process underneath the ‘Settings’ section on your page and then clicking the ‘Authorizations’ tab to the left.

  1. To confirm your identity with Facebook you will need a copy of your US-based, government-issued ID. This can be a driver’s license or passport. 

  2. You must provide the last four digits of your SSN.

  3. Provide your mailing address. 

Once you have requested authorization, Facebook will send you the verification code to the mailing address you specified. Keep in mind this may take up to 1-2 weeks. 

Once you are verified, linked your ad account to your page, you can now designate a disclaimer to your page and begin running political ads on Facebook. 

How to get certified to run political ads on Twitter? 

This process is slightly different than Facebook’s process. Their process only refers to US Federal elections and US advocacy issues, but we recommend going through this process just in case. 

If you are an individual not registered with the FEC, you will need a copy of your US-based, government-issued ID and your passport. You will need to also fill out this notarized form

Advertisers need to have access to the email address linked all handles from which they want to run ads with. 

In addition to being certified, your profile must contain a profile picture, header and website consistent with the profile. You must also have a disclaimer in your bio.

Once you have applied for certification with Twitter, you will receive a letter to the mailing address specified. The letter will have further instructions on how to complete your certification. 

Online Fundraising 101

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Whether it be a non-profit, advocacy, or political campaign, money is the main driving force. Without donations, the impact of any campaign can be diminished. 

Today there are several avenues that make it easy for you to raise money, the main being through online efforts. Online fundraising makes it easy for anyone to donate quickly anywhere. 

Where do you get started? How do you know which is the best platform to use? Is it free? How do you lead people to donate? These are all questions we can answer for you to help get your campaign off to a good start.

Platforms

Raise the Money

Raise the Money is a one-stop fundraising platform that combines fundraising, financial reporting, mass emailing and crowdfunding in one hub to make it user-friendly. The fee for this platform is 4.9% of funds raised plus a .25 cents per transaction. 

Anedot

Anedot is another non-partisan fundraising platform that offers a free version. If you need to upgrade to the paid version, it is 4% of funds raised plus. 30 cents per transaction. Anedot also lets you customize your donation page so that all branding is consistent. 

Revv

Revv Fundraising Platform is another non-partisan fundraising platform that can be used for non-profits, political campaigns, and advocacy causes. A major plus side of this platform is that it recognizes anyone who has donated using Revv before, allowing a one-click donation process for higher conversion rates. The fee for this platform is 4% plus 30 cents per transaction. 

How to get people to donate?

You’ve set up your online fundraising platform and you’re ready to start accepting donations. But how do people know where to donate?

Sharing a link to your donation site on social media would be the first step. If you have less than 2,000 fans on your Facebook page, you will have to share a direct link to your contribution form in a post. 

Do you have an email list? Another easy way to spread awareness and push people to your donation site is by using an email service like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact to share your donation link.

QR codes are also helpful for promotion on print products. By taking a photo of the QR code, people can get directed automatically to the donation site without having to type in a link

Things to keep in mind..

How quickly does it take for someone to donate? How many steps are there for this process? Keep it simple. The fewer steps and buttons someone has to go through, the chances they are willing to donate is higher. 

Make sure your donation site is mobile-friendly so that people can easily access your form and complete a donation in seconds. 

Always keep promoting your campaign to optimize your donations until your goal is reached. 




Five Ways to Improve Your Subject Lines

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How many emails do you wake up to every morning? For a typical American, it’s not uncommon to see 15+ unopened emails waiting in your inbox before starting your day. 

Our email inboxes have become cluttered with messages begging for attention. How do you ensure your email breaks through the clutter and takes the attention away from another competing email? 

The key to improving your open rates: having an enticing email subject line.

Subject lines are the first thing you notice in your inbox. It gives you the first clue as to whether or not the email is worth your time opening. In fact, 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line.

Before hitting the send button on your next email, review these simple tactics to create the best eye-catching email subject lines: 

Less is More

WIth  56% of emails getting read on iPhones or in Gmail, people are constantly bombarded with emails, videos, texts, pictures all at the touch of their hands. The amount of attention and time it takes to read lengthy sentences is a struggle.

Keep your email subject clear and succinct with as few words as possible.

Ask Questions

Questions are a good way to spark curiosity and grab attention because they cause the reader to pause and think of a possible answer.

Highlight Timeliness and Importance

Create a sense of urgency that prompts the reader to act in that moment. Examples: “Only a few hours left”, “Don’t miss your chance” or “Today is the last day”.

Lists
Recipients love to learn and lists are a good way to format emails in an easy-to-read format. Lists in subject lines like “5 new updates we adding” can draw a recipient into opening your email by having them wanting to learn more.

What Can You Do for Them? 

Why does someone want to open your email? Are you offering them a discount or an opportunity? Let them know upfront in your subject line. 

Remember, a good way to improve your open rates to see what works best is to do AB testing. Send two different subject lines to segments of your audience to see which one performs better. Over time you will begin to see a pattern. 


Facebook Update That Might Affect Your Contribution Forms

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If you're running a political campaign page, Facebook created a policy around the beginning of the year that will not allow a page with less than 2,000 likes to add a third-party app to their page. 

What does this mean? If you are using a donation contribution platform, you will no longer be able to have that easily accessible “Donate” button visible on your page until you hit at least 2,000 likes. Until you reach that magic number, you will need to use the “Secure Link To Contribution Form,” in a regular Facebook post. 

 For pages with less than 2,000 likes, you will need to note this change and adapt appropriately. 

Post Secure Links 

Create specific posts asking with a call-to-contribute by using a direct link to your contribution form

Pin Contribution Links to Top of Page

To ensure this doesn’t get lost in the sea of posts, be sure to pin the post to the top of your page. By doing this, each time someone visits your Facebook page, the first post they will see will be your call-to-action contribution form. 

Encourage Supporters To Share

Regardless if you are able to host a third-party contribution tab or not, you should always encourage your supporters to share your contribution form on their own page! You’ll be able to reach more people in your area that you might not have been able to do so on your own. 

Ensure Your Donation Page is Mobile-Friendly

More people are surfing the web and social media on their phones. Make it easy for people to donate by ensuring your contribution form is mobile-friendly!

Does Your Small Business Need a Lobbyist?

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According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses made up 99.3 percent of Arkansas businesses and employed more than 47 percent of employees in the state in 2018. 

It’s clear that small businesses in Arkansas play an important role in our state’s economy. But when you look at national lobby spending, the top three biggest spenders are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Realtors Association, and the Open Policy Center. 

With all of this big money being thrown around by national organizations, it might seem impossible for small business owners to keep track of what is going on at the Arkansas state capitol. In addition to keeping a business thriving with day-to-day operations, many small business owners simply don’t have the time to keep up with government legislation, committee meetings or any rule changes that could have an impact on their business.

Joining a trade or industry-specific association may be in the best interest for small business owners. Many of them require joining fees, but these organizations are geared to represent your and promote your interests. 


The benefit of hiring a contract lobbyist in Arkansas to further protect your business is that contract lobbyists understand the complexity of the legislation process. With years of experience in politics, public policy, and maintaining key relationships, we are positioned to help our clients manage issues, and develop a long-term strategy.

You don’t have to spend millions of dollars to have a voice at the capitol. Hiring a team of professional lobbyists in Arkansas and engaging with your local officials can help ensure you don’t miss out on anything that could negatively impact your livelihood.

How Advocacy Groups Can Leverage Slacktivism

Slacktivism, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is “the practice of supporting a political or social cause by means such as social media or online petitions, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment.” The term became popular with the rise of social media and viral posts.

Typically, slacktivism encompasses posting images or words of hope and inspiration after disasters utilizing a specific hashtag or liking a charity’s Facebook page and posts. It’s also used to raise money and awareness for a certain issue through viral movements.

For a brief period, we saw examples of slactivism flooding our newsfeeds. In 2014, we saw videos of the #icebucketchallenge to raise money for ALS research.  Before that, there was the explosion of the 2012 Kony campaign. Both of these campaigns had the intention of raising money, but instead, people opted to simply share a video or change their profile picture to show support as a way to feel like they did their part to help the cause.

This can cause a struggle for nonprofits hoping to raise funds. However, when it comes to bridging the gap between legislators and citizens for political movements, slacktivism can be a major benefit.

In today’s fast-paced world, our time is limited and valuable. Many Americans often work 40+ hours a week. Some even have 2 jobs. Between working and spending time with family and friends there is little time to get involved with local advocacy organizations or motivate support.

Slacktivism, allows the average American to be able to get involved or contact a local legislator about a certain issue affecting their community by simply connecting with them digitally. People can now multitask their personal lives along with engaging in the political process. With the quick click of a button, anyone can email a forwarded message from an advocacy group directly to whomever they are trying to motivate.

It might seem simple, but when hundreds of the same message flood an inbox, it is hard to ignore.

As we’ve begun to see, activism through digital platforms is making it easier than ever for people to get involved with the political process without having to physically hold a sign on capitol hill or attend a rally.

While it might be seen as negative or lazy, Slacktivism is a new way to communicate and can be a useful tool for advocacy groups to leverage.

How to Get Better Results on Facebook Ads

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For a lot of small businesses and campaigns in Arkansas trying to create brand awareness online, the idea of creating Facebook ads can be confusing and daunting. While Facebook has improved their ad manager interface to make it easier to understand, Facebook advertising can be puzzling when you haven’t done so before. One mistake could cause you to waste a significant chunk of your ad budget.

With more than 2.37 billion monthly active Facebook users, it’s safe to say facebook isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Using a few of these tips will allow you to get better results from your facebook ads, so you can improve your performance online, and ultimately retain more customers.

Customer Lists

If your business regularly uses email or direct mail to communicate with your customers, you can also use this list to target those same customers online with your facebook ads. You can create a custom audience by uploading your customer lists on facebook. This allows you to reach your existing users already doing business with you.

Targeting Lookalike Audiences

If you are trying to expand your customer base, lookalike audiences can be one of the most efficient ways to do so. Finding a lookalike audience allows you to build from a previous target audience. Once you have your source audience, Facebook then finds customers that are similar. This allows you to capture the most relevant customers in a new audience pool.

You can base lookalike audiences on your customer data lists or through behavioral and other demographics.

Video Ads

Video is continuing to grow. It’s no surprise that Facebook has a goal to surpass Youtube as a dominant digital video platform. Roughly 87% of marketers report using video. WIth that in mind, if you’re not using video as a component of your digital strategy, you may be missing a big slice of the pie.

3D Photos

Since Facebook launched 3D photos last fall, we’ve slowly seen users and marketers utilize this new tool to share experiences with others. 3D photos can now be shared on your newsfeed and in your stories to gain even more reach. This is just another new creative tool that marketers can use to elevate their brand and interact with their audience.

If you’re new to advertising through Facebook or other social media platforms, it’s helpful to know that they are constantly evolving. Facebook just announced a variety of changes that the platform will undergo this year including new updates to business and ad manager, different bid options, and changes to our newsfeed. It’s important to always stay up to date on new additions so you can get the best ROI on your digital ads.


Maintaining Key Relationships During the Summer

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As an advocate, you might’ve noticed a drop-off in the interaction between legislators, association members, or clients during the summer months. As the session winds down and comes to an end, the pace around the capital also slows down. With kids out of school and families going on summer vacation, it becomes more difficult to get face time with many clients. Limited face-to-face interaction can leave clients feeling under-appreciated.

These 3 strategies are key to letting your clients know you value your relationship year-round.

Communication

An important saying to remember: “out of sight out of mind”. If you're not being seen, then at least be heard. It’s important to stay in contact with clients and members during slower months. One efficient and easy way to do this is through a regular email blast. This can be as simple as updating members on what is going on around the capitol or about any relevant news articles or industry-related news that might be beneficial for them to know. This will show you’re invested in the relationship and ensure you’re staying at the forefront of your their minds.

Keep in mind that email blasts do not always warrant a response. Engage your recipients by asking their opinions and what they’d like to see more of.

Events

Not only is this a fun way to stay involved, attending events are a great way to network. Stay up to date on any charity functions, networking events or association lunches. These can present great opportunities for you to invite clients or association members, giving you more time to build upon your relationships.

Lunches

Invite your clients or association members to lunch. This is a good way to develop a more personal relationship and can be less formal.

While it’s a good rule of thumb to use these tactics year-round, they are critical to use during slower times of the year when interaction might be more limited.


When Digital And Governmental Affairs Collide

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The main objective of any online advocacy campaign is to bolster awareness and to get people passionate and advocate for your cause.

According to a 2015 Public Affairs Council survey, more than 60% of respondents said they met their primary goal by utilizing online tools.

Much like a digital marketing campaign, digital media can help expand and boost the influence of any advocacy campaign. Many organizations use social media but may not know how to use it effectively or cohesively with traditional and grassroots efforts.


Tell a Story

Complex issues make it difficult to get your point across. A lot of messages get lost in translation. Having a presence on social media can allow you to tell your story in a creative and efficient way so that it can easily be interpreted. Utilizing personal stories from individuals through photos and videos can have a massive impact on how the public perceives an issue.

Awareness

Incorporating a digital component to your advocacy campaign can be a powerful tool to widen your audience and expand influence. With a few simple clicks, Facebook and other social media ads allow you to target thousands of specific individuals you are trying to reach with your message. In coordination with creative content and compelling stories, you can construct a cohesive brand by utilizing a hashtag, which can also broaden your reach.

Communication

Another beneficial element of combining digital media with advocacy is that it makes it easy to mobilize and persuade individuals to contact their representative. Digital forms of communication like email blasts and social posts shouldn’t exclusively be used. But in conjunction with grassroots and traditional initiatives, people directly can tweet, comment or message their legislator. This also helps to amplify your message because friends of friends are now seeing these posts.

As the influence of social media broadens, we expect to see more agencies and associations regularly utilizing a digital component for their advocacy campaigns.


How Social Media Has Changed Politics

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What’s the first thing you do in the morning? If we were to ask that question 10 years ago, we would probably hear answers like: make the bed, take a shower, or check the weather. But it’s 2019 and the answer to that question for nearly half of Americans is that they check their phone before getting out of bed.

It’s estimated that there are nearly 2.77 billion social media users worldwide. That’s up from less than 1 billion users in 2010. In fact, the average social media user will spend 2 hours of their day checking platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others.

Social media is entwined in our daily lives. We post pictures of our children, family, and friends. We post about where we are, what we’re eating and what we’re doing. It has been used to help bring people together and has been known to be the demise of others.

As we have seen over the course of a decade, social media has been playing a larger part in our culture, particularly in the world of politics. Social media has become a barometer of how issues are perceived to the public.

But if you’re running for office today, it is necessary to have a presence on social media. It has changed the game of politics.

It’s Free

Twenty years ago, campaigning consisted of voter contact through door knocking, sending mail pieces, making phone calls and using paid media like commercials and radio ads. While we still use these methods today, it has become more prevalent to utilize social media to efficiently reach voters because it is free. Creating a social media profile doesn’t cost a dime and is a good way to let voters see what you are doing.

Target Specific Voters

With social media advertising, you can now effectively target who you want to see your message on a budget. You can target voters by location, age, sex, and behaviors. You can’t do this with any other form of paid media.

Accessibility and Accountability

Before the use of social media, the main form of contact between constituents and elected officials was by phone or mail. Now there is an easier way for constituents to contact who is representing them. By having a social media profile, voters and constituents can comment on posts and send messages to public servants. However, this makes it easier for people to complain publicly and adds a layer of accountability that we haven’t experienced in previous generations.

Instant sharing with videos

Now with the invention of Snapchat and Live streaming capabilities through Facebook and Instagram, civilians can capture anything on their cell phones and instantly share it with the world. Public servants now have to assume anyone can record their actions or words at any given moment.

Social Media Posts are Quotable

Because social media platforms are so popular, they have now become reliable sources of information for journalists. Now more than ever, we are seeing journalists quote tweets and facebook posts for their stories. What you say and post on social media has to be treated the same way as if you were in an interview. And better yet, these posts are archived and anyone can go back in time to see what you’ve said in the past. Basically, if you don’t want it reported on the news, don't post it!


Before Running for Office

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The path to becoming a public servant is not always a walk in the park for most people. Campaigning is not only a full-time job in itself, but it’s also is a huge financial commitment. However, if you succeed, it can provide rewarding experiences by helping people within your community.

If you’re considering running for office in Arkansas, you might want to ask yourself a few simple questions and run through this checklist first.

1. Why am I running for office?

This might seem like an easy question, but you’d be surprised how many people stumble on this when asked. First, try to put why you’re running for office in a statement to help determine what your views might be. This will help you better articulate your message to voters.

  • What about the current office holder are you unhappy with?

  • How can you do a better job?

  • What do you want voters to know about you?

  • What is your message?

2. Have I done my research?

It’s always a good idea to stay ahead of any possible crisis. Make sure you research aspects of your personal life along with your opponent’s before running. You never want anything harmful to come out once you have filed to run.

  • Clear up any financial and legal issues you might have (foreclosures, lawsuits, etc.)

  • Has there been support of certain issues or donations made to candidates in the past?

  • Do you meet the qualifications to run? (do you meet residency requirements, etc.)

  • Are you up to date on current ethics and campaign finance laws in your state?

3. Update your information

You will need an updated biography for your press release to announce your intentions to run. Updating family pictures and getting professional headshots are always a good idea so that you can use them for campaign advertising, including mail pieces, push cards and social media.

  • Does your bio lay out why you are qualified to hold this position?

  • Are your photos high resolution and usable on campaign literature?

  • Is your personal social media up to date with your basic background information that you would want people to know?

4. Fundraise

One of the most integral parts of your campaign will be your ability to raise money. For a successful campaign, you will likely need to buy signs, push cards and send out mail pieces. This is a huge financial commitment, so unless you decide to use your personal finances, you need to get comfortable with the idea of asking people for money.

  • Have you prepared a written budget outlining potential expenses and showing the amount you will need to raise?

  • Do you have a list of personal contacts you can ask for a donation?

  • Have you set up a campaign bank account you can legally deposit funds into?

  • Have you registered for your financial disclosure database?

5. Social media audit

Social media has completely changed the game of politics. A simple 140 characters are all it takes for someone to use that as a direct quote. A simple rule: If you don't want it to be reported in a newspaper, don’t post it on social media.

  • If you don’t have a campaign Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, go ahead and create one

  • Add new pictures and logos to your pages

  • Update your biography on your social media platforms along with a link to your website (if you have one)

  • Post issues that are important to you and your voters

  • Do an audit for controversial posts