AI for Small Business: Part 2

group of marketers using ai for small business

Last month, we took a bit of a technical look at what makes artificial intelligence tick. While a look under the hood may be a bit of a mindboggle, it hopefully gave you a small understanding of how AI works. With that out of the way, though, it’s time to get to the “good” stuff: How to implement AI for small business.

From automating routine tasks to getting insights into customer behavior, there are plenty of ways to use AI. Let’s explore the practical applications and other benefits!

Benefits of AI for Small Business

In knowledgeable hands, AI can be a powerhouse of a marketing tool. We’re not talking about the low-quality engagement farming and spam posts you see on Facebook. We’re talking about the companies who grow with the help of AI used in thoughtful ways. Let’s dive in.

Improved Efficiency

No business is free from tedious and time-consuming tasks; after all, invoicing, scheduling, and inventory are important parts of most companies. AI-powered tools can be implemented to handle those things so you and your team can focus on projects and other tasks that drive growth.

Enhanced Customer Service

Chatbots generally induce eye rolls at their mere mention, but a high quality, AI-powered one can provide real value to your customers and enable you to step in when need be. It means 24-hour support that provides answers to common questions and minor issues. These tools can even analyze and learn from previous customer interactions to be more effective in the future by establishing a “knowledge base”.

Data-Driven Insights

Customer data is readily available. It’s knowing how to use it that’s the real trick. Sometimes, though, there’s simply too much data available, to the point where it’s a huge task just to take it all in. With artificial intelligence, the analysis can be taken care of without taking up the time of you and your team. Tend to more pressing tasks while your customer data is organized in a way that helps you strategize, develop products, and improve customer service.

Cost Reduction

Time is money, which is why freeing up your employees’ time is so vital. When they’re not tied up with menial tasks, they’re able to help in significant ways, leaving the tedium to the AI that truly doesn’t mind doing those “bland” chores. We guarantee the fees for even the best AI tools out there will be significantly less than paying an employee to do these same tasks (and take much longer to do them). Put your people to work doing things that inspire them! The technology will handle the rest, with monitoring of course.

Practical Applications of AI in Business

The potential uses of AI for small business goes beyond answering queries and taking care of tedious tasks. If you have a deep understanding of how to implement it, you can take advantage of some impressive potential.

Operations and Inventory Management

Do you constantly struggle with inventory issues? If you don’t order the right amount of inventory, you take a hit. Empty shelves mean dissatisfied customers and packed ones represent money your business wasted. With AI, you can predict future inventory needs using market trends and other data. Additionally, it can help plan supply chain routes and schedules to minimize shortages.

Finance and Accounting

Data entry and other bookkeeping tasks can become quite time consuming and tedious. With the help of technology, you can free up time and reduce errors. Furthermore, AI can be utilized to detect unusual activities in transaction patterns to help combat fraud. When your finances are protected this way, it makes financial planning much easier.

Marketing and Sales

AI has the ability to analyze any data presented to it. We touched briefly on this while discussing data-driven insights above, but it goes deeper than that. It can take in client behavior such as social media activity to help you identify your target audience. Additionally, it can segment your customers for personalized marketing pushes. And of course, it can provide a big assist in creating content that your customers find valuable.

Human Resources

Say you’re in the middle of a hiring push and you’re sitting on hundreds or even thousands of applications. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem, nonetheless. With artificial intelligence tools can screen resumes and identify top candidates, which speeds up the hiring process and helps you select the right person for the job.

Steps to Implement AI in Your Small Business

Knowing the benefits of AI for small business, it’s time to implement the tools themselves. But how do you do that? If you need some pointers, we’re always happy to help, but here are a few tips for making sure you’re handling it correctly.

  1. Identify Areas for Improvement: When you know where your shortcomings lie, you’ll have a much easier time with implementation. If you struggle with inventory, start there!
  2. Research AI Tools: Not every AI tool is the same. Some are built for small businesses, and others are for more personal uses. We suggest opting for something that’s scalable and user-friendly.
  3. Pilot Projects: Don’t trust your new AI software with your biggest project. Start with a small project to measure effectiveness, and trust it with incrementally bigger tasks as you get comfortable with it.
  4. Training and Development: AI is useless if 90% of your company doesn’t know how to use it. Take the time to train your employees and make sure they understand the tools.
  5. Measure and Optimize: Keep track of how the AI is doing. If you have the data to back up performance, it’s easier to make adjustments or leave it as is.

Challenges and Considerations

With every new technology comes reservations and distrust. We’re already seeing a good amount of it in regards to artificial intelligence. Understanding what AI is and does can help to dispel rumors about it being the “boogie man” of the tech world, but there are considerations to take into account that aren’t black and white.

Budget Constraints

AI can offer an appealing return on investment, but that doesn’t make the up-front cost of some tools less intimidating. Take some time to evaluate the long-term benefits posed by AI and make your decision based on your findings. Try out the free level of some tools for a taste before fully jumping into a paid subscription.

Data Privacy and Security

One reason many of your customers have for sticking with you is their trust in you. That’s why it’s important to maintain that trust throughout the AI implementation process. If you’re using AI in business, it’s important you comply with data protection regulations and have good security in place so you can safeguard your customers’ sensitive information. Your business location and where you service customers have a large impact on your ability to utilize data, so be sure to check into regulations and restrictions.

Skill Gap

AI isn’t necessarily an “Easy” button. Technical expertise is required to use it, so investing in training and hiring professionals could bridge this gap.

Change Management

Change can be scary for employees who have gotten used to their roles and the tools they use within them. When you’re getting ready for AI implementation, have a change management strategy in place. Be ready to communicate, train, and take other measures that will ensure a seamless transition to whatever new processes are presented.

The Future of AI in Small Businesses

AI is growing at a rapid pace, constantly shaping the landscape of countless industries in the process. It will continue to evolve by helping with customer insights, automated processes, and advanced analytics. This means your business capabilities will be enhanced, but you’ll need to keep up to stay competitive. If AI implementation never happens at your business while others thrive with it, it can be tough to regain your footing. No matter your thoughts on this technological behemoth, it’s part of our world now. Just as the internet shaped the professional landscape, this is doing the same.

Embracing AI for Small Business

New tech can be intimidating, but the benefits AI offers are undeniable. Improved efficiency, enhanced customer service, data-driven insights, and cost reduction are all benefits made possible by AI, and approaching them in a careful, intentional way can help you keep up and see your business thrive.

If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, trust a business that has taken the time to use artificial intelligence in an effective way. Get in touch with ArachnidWorks and let’s set our sights on the future!

AI for Small Businesses: Part 1

business partners on a laptop

What is AI? We’ve seen it in countless TV shows, movies, and books. From R2-D2 and C3PO wandering the desert to Arnold Schwarzneggar’s T-800 declaring, “I’ll be back,” intelligent machines have long been a staple of science fiction—except now, the “fiction” part is becoming a thing of the past.

Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the last few years, you’ve heard the term “AI” (or Artificial Intelligence) frequently. After all, it’s taking the world by storm and shaking up industries in some pretty significant ways. The entertainment, restaurant, industrial, and even marketing fields are being affected by it. People are utilizing AI for small businesses wherever they can to improve processes and products, and why wouldn’t they? It can be a huge time saver and help you run your business! But as with any technology, how to use AI for small businesses is a skill that requires practice as well as trial and error.

It isn’t just about typing in prompts and using exactly what AI spits out. It’s about making the effort to learn the ins and outs so you can realize its full potential for your business. Using AI for the sake of using AI won’t help you in the long run, so let’s go over the knowledge you’ll need to know how to use AI—more specifically, how to use artificial intelligence for businesses. 

How It Works

We don’t want to bore you with too much technical stuff, but a general understanding of how these systems work can help you utilize these tools better.

Machine Learning

Machine learning enables computers to teach themselves using data and its patterns. Say your friend is trying to perfect a cake recipe, and they’re using you as their test subject. They bake several cakes that are slightly different. Some have more sugar, while others use different icing.

After you try out each cake, your friend asks for your opinion. You give feedback like, “This needs more sugar,” and your friend adjusts the ingredients to take that into account. With enough recipes and feedback, they refine their recipe to make the perfect cake. That’s the general process the machine learning model uses.

Deep Learning

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that focuses on neural networks that are modeled after the human brain. Essentially, it goes through a learning process similar to our own. There’s a lot of trial and error that helps it learn and improve based on its mistakes.

Say you want to teach a computer how to play Pac-Man. Before deep learning, you’d have to tell all of the rules in excruciating detail. Now, you’d simply tell it to play the game until it got the hang of it. It would start out moving randomly, collecting a few dots by accident and getting killed by the ghosts. But it would learn from those experiences; eating dots is good and ghosts are bad. Eventually, the computer would get really good at the game. It would develop strategies to avoid the ghosts, learn the ideal routes to take, and teach itself how to maximize its score.

The processes that drive this kind of AI learning come together to achieve a huge array of things. Image and speech recognition, healthcare diagnostics, and natural language processing (NLP) are all able to be handled by a deep learning model. Speaking of natural language processing…

Natural Language Processing

Using AI for small businesses relies heavily on Natural Language Processing (NLP). This is how computers are able to understand and generate language in a way that makes sense. If everything we’ve discussed so far is what powers C-3PO’s “brain,” NLP is what helps him speak his mind!

In order to understand Anakin Skywalker (his creator), C-3PO used data available to him to learn things like sentence structure, word classification, and implied meaning and generate coherent words based on them. His artificial brain formed thoughts as data, and that data was translated into audible words that Anakin could understand. Thus, they were able to have conversations! 

Identifying Your Business Needs

Now that you have a basic understanding of how AI works, let’s take the first step to utilizing it to help your business. Before you even begin to type AI prompts, you need to identify what your business goals actually are.

Assess Your Challenges

What does your business’s current landscape look like? What are your pain points and where could you improve? Consider all of these things and imagine the possible solutions you could implement with the help of AI. Whether it’s improving your processes, better understanding your customers, or bolstering your product offerings, there’s a use for AI here!

Define Your Objectives

What do you want to achieve by implementing AI? SMART goals are probably something you’re familiar with, so let’s start there. Make sure your objectives are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. As an example, you could set a goal of increasing customer engagement by twenty percent within four months by using recommendations from AI.

Blend AI With Your Overall Business Strategy

AI initiatives should never replace your processes. Rather, they should be used to bolster your existing ones and align with your business strategy. Integrating it into your big vision helps it become a valuable addition rather than a pet project.

Next Month: Implementing AI for Small Businesses

The inner-workings of artificial intelligence are complicated and technical. We hope you stuck with us through that, because in part 2, we’ll get to the even better stuff! You’ll learn to use your understanding of AI to improve your processes!

In the meantime, we’d love to answer any questions you have about artificial intelligence for businesses or marketing in general. Reach out and strike up a conversation!

How to Handle Negative Reviews

woman using her cellphone to write a negative review about a business

The digital landscape can seem unforgiving—especially if you’re a business owner. You have to make sure your website is attractive and functional. Social media is a constant beast that needs to be tamed. And of course, there are reviews coming in from a plethora of platforms.

We’re here to discuss that last bit with you. While positive reviews can be a great boon for your company when they’re positive, poorly handled negative reviews can have the opposite effect. No company is immune to bad reviews, so it’s important to be prepared to address them.

What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Say

Wording is key when responding to negative feedback. The customer who provided it is likely irritated, so it’s up to you to perfect the balancing act of acknowledging their critique while offering compensation or letting them know their words have been taken to heart.

First of all, don’t dance around the subject. “Grab the bull by the horns,” as they say, and don’t shy away from this feedback. If a customer leaves feedback complaining of an accidentally foul-mouthed plushy, tell them you’re sorry for their poor experience. Assure them that the toy they just gave to their niece wasn’t supposed to start shouting obscenities at her. Offer a refund or store credit, and don’t hide behind made-up excuses. Let them know that this issue will be addressed as quickly as possible, and invite them to keep in contact to maintain a dialogue.

And then there’s what you shouldn’t do…

We’ve all seen those viral responses in which a company goes on the defensive and roasts a customer who may have been too aggressive in their review. While this route may be cathartic in the short term, it will rarely work out in the long run. Instead, be prepared to answer their concerns, but don’t be overprepared. Having a highly templated response that you can just plug some words into can add fuel to a fire. These responses are often easy to see through, and the lack of sincerity is noticed immediately.

Crafting an Effective Response

Hopefully, you’ve chosen to take the high road when responding. Hopefully you’ve put some thought into your response strategy, but what should your response actually say?

Let’s stick with the theoretical foul-mouthed plushy example. You just got a one-star review on Google because, through a programming error, the toy was saying wildly inappropriate things. Your response might look something like this:

“Hi, Melanie. We appreciate you reaching out to let us know the plushy you gifted to your niece was saying things that weren’t appropriate for children. This is not how the toy is intended to function, and we’re already looking into the issue to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future. We would like to offer you a full refund for your troubles. Please contact us directly if you’d like to discuss this further. Thank you for voicing your concerns.”

This is likely a delicate situation, so be sure to double-check your response for spelling, grammar, and professionalism before sending your response.

Don’t Ignore the Positive Reviews

While it’s important to address negative feedback, responding to positive reviews is just as important. A satisfied customer has paid for your product with their hard-earned money, and now they’re taking the time to let you and other potential customers know how happy they are. We’d say that warrants a response. Tell them you’re ecstatic that they loved that plushy, and giving kids joy is why you started your business in the first place! A simple response like that can go a long way towards making a repeat customer.


Hopefully, this detour from your doomscrolling gave you a little more confidence in responding to online reviews. The short and sweet of it is this: Respond to your customers, whether they left a good or bad review. They took the time to provide feedback, and you should let them know it wasn’t for nothing. Engaging them in this way shows them and other users that you’re paying attention to feedback and focusing on the people behind the purchases.

If you need further assistance in managing your online reputation, we’re here to help! Get in touch with us, and we’ll help you level up your digital marketing. And remember…

If you play your cards right, you can turn even the most negative review into a win!

7 Ways to Boost Engagement & Conversions with Email Marketing

small business owner utilizing email marketing tips

When you send out an e-newsletter you want people to read and engage with it. Hopefully, they’re sending you replies and sharing your content with friends and family. 

An e-newsletter can be a highly valuable marketing tool that helps you build lasting relationships with your customers. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure as many people as possible find it compelling. Here are seven of the best email marketing tips and tricks you can use to ensure your newsletter’s both far-reaching and highly engaging.

Segment Your Audience

Many emails are never even opened. However, segmenting your audience can increase the chance your message will be well received. Each segment can receive slightly different versions of your newsletter, and by understanding your audience’s interests, you create content speaking specifically to them. This personalization can dramatically improve how effective your newsletter is.

Use Compelling Subject Lines 

Readers decide to open 50% of their emails solely based on the subject line’s appeal. So, you need to know how to create attention-grabbing subject lines. Some of the most popular ways to do this include:

  • Asking a question
  • Including a number
  • Being funny or starting with a joke
  • Using your readers’ fear of missing out to your advantage

You can also increase your email open rate by using clever strategies. Personalize your subject lines and add a dash of urgency, for example, “Hey Sarah, time’s running out; better go catch it!” This will make your audience curious to open your email and dive right into your newsletter.

Employ Valuable & Concise Content

You want to include things your audience values. That might be information, advice, or promotional offers. Be sure to keep your newsletter concise and scannable so it’s easy to read. You should also use interesting visual elements and multimedia content to keep them engaged. Remember, if you continually give readers something relevant and relatable, they’ll learn to trust you, and their brand loyalty will grow.  

Create Call-To-Actions (CTA) 

Your newsletter should strategically direct your recipients to take a desired action. This is your chance to direct them to visit your website, purchase one of your products or services, share your newsletter, or leave you feedback which can be used to further increase email engagement. You may want to experiment and test out which types of CTAs render the best results.

Use Interactive Elements 

You can actively drive engagement by incorporating interactive elements into your e-newsletter. Make it friendly and fun. People often enjoy participating in polls or taking quizzes. You should also consider encouraging readers to share their opinions and participate in discussions with you and other readers.

Offer Social Sharing Options

You can get conversations going and grow your audience by providing social sharing buttons in your e-newsletter. You can even drive the direction of discussion by suggesting a hashtag they can use on various social media sites. Once everybody’s talking, the social media marketing party really gets started.

Test & Analyze

There are many components of your e-newsletter, and you’ll need to figure out which ones are working and which ones need to be refreshed. Sometimes it’s difficult to see where your content’s stress points are. However, A/B tests can tell you what’s going right and what’s not. 

It lets you see if shorter or longer subject lines perform better. It can also show how your message’s length affects performance. You can even test if you receive more engagement based on time of day. This allows you to make sound decisions driven by data so you can optimize your e-newsletter’s performance for maximum effectiveness. 

The Importance Of Experimenting & Adapting Strategies 

As you’re enhancing your engagement, it’s important to continually try new things. If something isn’t as effective as you’d like, don’t be afraid to try something else. Start conversations and provide open lines of communication. By following these tips, you can enhance your e-newsletter’s engagement, broaden your customer base, and in the process, establish lasting brand loyalty.

At ArachnidWorks, we know how to boost e-newsletter engagement successfully, and we design your content to encourage high engagement with readers. If you’re ready to grow your marketing strategy, contact us now!

The Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Social Posts

woman taking holiday photo for social media

Every fall, when temperatures dive and the Maryland nights grow longer, Brian, our CTO, starts his tradition of listening for the first annual playing of “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Released 28 years ago tomorrow, Mariah Carey’s blockbuster, officially launches the holiday season around here, whether we’re ready or not.

For our content marketers and social media marketing strategists, the sappy tune also triggers our holiday social media planning. At AW, our team has been handling the social needs of our clients long enough to know that holiday posts need a little something extra. By keeping in mind a handful of Dos and Don’ts, we can ride the coattails of the most important seasonal trends and avoid any eleventh-hour social media crises.


Review your typical posting schedule and adjust it so you can reach clients and potential customers during the ramp-up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah. Organize the dates throughout the holiday season that are most relevant to you, schedule those posts, and set reminders so you can stay on top of plan. Keep in mind that it’s a fine line between keeping your base up to date and inundating them with TMI.


Even the best holiday social media posts don’t take the place of a personal connection with the people to whom you owe your business. Do your best to communicate with your clients in non-digital ways when possible. You know you can’t speak with or visit everyone, so make sure your holiday posts for social media are authentic and meaningful enough to foster genuine connections.


Ignore the hackneyed and the trite colors and images in favor of the visual components that make up your brand. The goal is to make your content stand out from the rest and appeal to your audience, so if a color palette of magenta and melon make your message pop, go with it—leave the red and green, and the blue and gold, for those with more traditional brands. Don’t be shy!


During the month of December, one well-known social media site lists the following dates as “not-to-be-missed” opportunities for reaching out to your clients and customers: Eat a Red Apple Day, Let’s Hug Day, National Roast Suckling Pig Day, Answer the Phone Like Buddy the Elf Day… You get the idea. Unless any of these reflect your brand and give you an opportunity to tell an authentic story about your company, skip them. Before you post anything, especially a holiday social media post, ask yourself why. If you don’t know the answer immediately, hit delete.


Your loyal followers will likely enjoy the chance to win something from you that they’re pining after. Choose an item that’s appealing to your regular base, but also shareable to encourage new followers.


Holiday observances around the world are becoming more secular, but for many, Christmas and Hannukah have deep cultural or religious meaning. Be respectful in your choice of images and words. Most people want warm wishes and cheer rather than links to your best-selling product’s page.


Try including 1–2 photos in a social media post from a holiday tradition you or your team members enjoy observing, and invite your followers to do the same. Encourage the authentic, the genuine, and the meaningful—you’ll build your digital community and engender the type of trust and goodwill that elevates your brand.

Keeping in mind these couple of dos and don’ts, some careful planning, a solid strategy, and a commitment to brand awareness will go a long way toward a successful social media strategy this holiday season…and you don’t even have to wait to hear “All I Want for Christmas is You” to get started.

Too much on your plate for the rest of Quarter 4? Do you know how important a solid social media strategy for the holidays is for your company? No one ever said you have to do it alone. ArachnidWorks is here to help! Let’s talk.

Why Your Website Needs a Blog and How to Start One

Let’s cut to the chase––you need to start blogging.

Blogs are not just for those ranting because the sour cream was missing from their grocery order. Starting a blog doesn’t mean you must spill the tea on why you will never wear parachute pants again, but we’d love to read it if you do (#welovethe80s). Blogging is one of the most powerful marketing tools business owners can wield to grow their audience, boost sales and establish a brand voice. By the way, all kinds of fabulous content can help you stand out from the crowd. Yet, for this piece, we’re covering the OG.  

At ArachnidWorks, we know a thing or two about blogging. You’re kind of reading one now, right? 


So, we gathered our collective marketing brains to share why your website needs a blog. 

Three Little Letters: SEO

A quality blog can boost your entire website’s SEO ranking. Here’s how. 

  • Content & Keywords – Blog posts are a form of content. Content adds keywords to your site. Search engines crawl through your site and read your content to determine what your business offers. That helps search engines find your website over others. Nice, right?
  • Relevancy – Blog posts are a deep dive into a topic. They help you gain traction and position your content in front of more eyes, leading to more conversions. And with Google’s latest algorithm update, there is a heavy focus on intent––your relevancy––which provides value for the posted content. 
  • Tag, You’re it! – Categories and tags are metadata mysteries that are not so mysterious. They tell search engines where to find your website and drive users to it.
  • Stay Awhile – A quality archive of material keeps people roaming your site longer. Extra dwell time on pages tells search engines people loved hanging out with you because your content was on point and fabulous. 
  • Internal Links – Links, links, and more links within a blog to your previous posts equal more clicks on your content. It’s all a part of strategic thinking to help users find your brand and message. 
  • Share & Share Alike – Think of it as the more the merrier. Internal linking in posts means more opportunities for other websites to find and link back to your site. The more websites linking to you as a source, the merrier, right? Right! And when you tag and repost your blog on social media, you tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, you’re going to have more eyes on your content. 
  • Where the Heck Are You? – Tagging locations to your post is a must for location-based businesses. For the local donut shop that needs those eclairs to fly out the door, you want donut-lovers to know where to snag the best in town.

If You Write it, They Will Come

You want to set yourself apart as an expert in your lane. It helps customers get to know you and build trust. It’s not a matter of just writing content for content’s sake. You want to give the masses material that solves a problem, gives them actionable steps, and shows them YOU are the one who feels their pain (points). 

Who Are You?

You have a brand to define for the masses. That starts with creating a voice people recognize. You immediately know when you see that circular, green sign that it’s calling you toward caffeine. That smirk on a cardboard box? Something special is on your doorstep, right? These companies have defined their brand to the point that you don’t even need a name on their logo to know who they are. You know their voice, identity, and how they improve your life with their services. You can get there too! It starts with becoming an industry expert who builds rapport and connects with others.

My People!

You can’t grow your audience without content, and content helps you grow your audience. You want traffic to be bumper-to-bumper on your site to generate new leads. These leads mean you’ve found your people! A great way to keep the interaction alive on your site is to include a call-to-action (CTA) that offers them a little something. You know what we mean by CTA. Things like: 

  • But wait, there’s more!
  • Free gift just because you’re fantastic!
  • Act now. Space is limited! 
  • Sign up today, and you’ll receive an invite to my virtual bad holiday sweater party! 

Other CTAs we love include:

  • Free eBooks
  • Downloadable whitepages 
  • Fact sheets
  • Video lessons or webinars
  • Free trials
  • Donuts. The ones with sprinkles.

Okay, maybe not the donuts, and it’s obviously sugar-rush snack time at ArachnidWorks HQ, yet you see where we’re going with this. Anything you can offer users to jump into that funnel and start a relationship can drive long-term results. 

Ready to start that blog? Awesome! Want to turn to the Frederick, Maryland, marketing pros who can help you get it done? Even better! ArachnidWorks is a multi-disciplined design collective dedicated to bringing clients strategic marketing, top-quality design services, and SEO strategy that gets businesses noticed. Let us help you make some crazy-cool content. Reach out, and let’s get started!

Content and SEO Strategy––It Matters

person using google search on laptop

Believe it or not, organic search visibility, rankings, and traffic take a lot of effort. What makes a big difference in your success? Creating stellar, optimized content. 

Content and SEO are in a relationship, and their union could launch your website to the top of the rankings. Are you utilizing their partnership to get noticed? Well, you should be. 

Content That Impacts Your Bottom Line

Content is everywhere, and we mean ev-ry-where! You want your brand to stand head and shoulders above the rest. That’s why having an SEO-driven strategy is critical. It separates you from the others and gets attention. How does it work? The team at ArachnidWorks is glad you asked! 

SEO + Content = Eyeballs on Your Brand

We promise this isn’t an algebra lesson, and the math isn’t hard to master. When you marry the science of SEO with beautifully-crafted words (ahem, content), that sweet little combo produces focused marketing. It’s not just throwing words on a page, or spaghetti at a wall, hoping something will stick. It’s a strategic approach that impacts your business and a ROI that makes your bottom line happy. 

SEO combined with purposely-created content is the perfect pairing. Here’s why:

  • SEO optimizes the on-the-page experience and increases the likelihood of launching you towards the top of the search engine results page (SERP).   
  • Content marketing is the vehicle for your message to the masses, offering information and advertising your ____________ (insert company, brand, product, nomination for an ADDY award, etc.) 
  • Adding them together equals traffic that contains more than just rubberneckers. They’re stopping by, staying, and engaging because they’re enticed to investigate further. The added bonus: potential conversions that become customers, sales, and the like. 

Each company’s measuring stick for success is unique. No matter how it’s calculated, everyone wants to reach their goal numbers for growth. 

It Starts With Killer Content

You want every visitor to have the VIP experience while engaging with your brand. That begins with quality content. SEO and SERP should intertwine with your message. These are not hindrances to crafting that magical tagline or a blog post that goes viral. Think of them more like The Three Muskateers rather than The Three Stooges. When you combine their superpowers, you’ll receive:

  • Better search visibility that translates into more eyes on your page. 
  • Information accumulate about your customers, their needs, and insight into solving them.

Wait. There Are Different Types of SEO?

Yes, yes, there are. Let’s break them down and provide a snapshot of what they do. 

On-page SEO – Content, keywords, internal links, and metadata: these work together to help your page gain ranking. 

Off-page SEO – Guest bloggers, building backlinks, and social media marketing: these items build brand awareness. Although they have nothing to do with your website, they help boost your ranking with every little share and click. 

Technical SEO – Mobile-friendly, page speed, sitemaps, and site structure: these enhance user experience and engagement while also helping search engines look through your site. 

Local SEO – Google Business profile listings, relevant keywords, up-to-date company information, respond to reviews: if you want searches to convert, start local. These valuable leads in your own backyard can quickly become conversions, and that’s golden, friends. 

Every good strategy begins with a plan. From finding your brand voice to strategically sourcing strong content to drive traffic, ArachnidWorks can help you take your business to the next level. Our multidisciplinary marketing and design collective in Frederick, Maryland, is dedicated to creating unique and successful marketing strategies for our clients. Ready to make content and SEO work for you? Reach out, and we’ll get busy making your brand shine.

Customer Relationships: How to Keep Them in Tip-Top Shape

marketing team meeting with client

Good customer relationships matter. Excellent relationships with clients are what we all should strive for. Unfortunately, agencies can become oblivious to signs that—well—they’re becoming off-putting without realizing it. 

Ouch, right? 

There you are, doing everything to collaborate, exceed expectations, and meet project goals. At least that’s what it seems like from your perspective. Yet, are your clients happy? Are they fed up: teetering on the edge of breaking up with you? 

Our team at ArachnidWorks has put together a few of our favorite ways not to annoy clients and how to build lasting relationships. 

Communicate, Communicate, and—Our Favorite—Communicate

How’s your response time? There isn’t a hard and fast rule when returning business phone calls or emails, yet not responding within 24–48 hours will put you on the client’s naughty list. The best way to avoid their frustration is to clarify communication processes during onboarding, block time during your day to respond to those who reach out, and verify you’ll get back with them in greater detail if you can’t promptly touch each point of concern. 

Wait, You Wanted to be Involved?

Sometimes we get so busy doing the work and making it awesome that we forget about the most essential input—the client’s. We know it’s not intentional, but creatives can become mini silos churning out content. That can leave our customers feeling iced from the process. The last thing you want to cause is friction and distrust, right? The best ways to avoid giving clients the cold shoulder is to keep them involved, specify roles and expectations on both ends during onboarding, use collaboration software when appropriate, and set routine check-in appointments. 

You’re Not the Boss of Me! 

Well, they are the client, so they kind of are friends. 

Customers come to you for your help, knowledge, and expertise. They do not come to you to make them feel small, uneducated, or like a nuisance. You know how to get their brand noticed and make their product sing. The thing is, no one likes a know-it-all. Be the person who invites the client to speak freely, listens to them intently, and never overpromises or overreaches to impress. Own up to it, apologize immediately, and make it right if something goes wrong on your watch. 

Smarty Pants

Have you heard the expression about how words are like toothpaste? Once they come out, you can’t squeeze them back in. Using buzzwords, jargon, or acronyms you understand doesn’t mean your client knows what you’re referring to. Also, phrases like “to be honest” or “I understand your concerns, but…” or the all-time fave “with all due respect” can give clients the wrong idea. Unless you’re speaking the same industry language, never use words and phrases that alienate, be careful of certain words and phrases that could offend, and fight the urge to have the last word. Sometimes restraint, even when responding is warranted, says more than words ever could. 

It’s a Date! 

Deadlines matter. Period. End of story. Not delivering on time or sticking to agreements frustrates clients. They’ve made launch plans internally and externally based on your deliverables. Hiccups do happen, yet only promise what you know you can hand over promptly. Communicate immediately when there’s a bump in the process. Help keep those deadlines intact by looking ahead for obstacles during the creation timeline. It’s better to turn over work early to an ecstatic customer than explain why it’s late. 

At ArachnidWorks, we’re in the business of giving our clients the best experience possible, from that first handshake to the celebratory launch of your project. Ready to put our experienced teams to work for you? Contact us now.

How to Find Your Brand’s Voice

man and woman collaborating in office

What do some of your favorite brands communicate to you? What personality do you associate with them? Did you even realize they have personalities? This is their voice, and finding yours is an important part of your strategy.

What is Brand Voice?

Your voice is the distinct personality of your brand. If it was a person, how would it dress? How would it speak, and what other quirks would it have?

This personality, once created, will carry across all forms of communications from blogs to newsletters, website copy, emails, and social media. 

Voice and tone are two sides of the same coin: Voice is what your brand itself says to your customers, and tone is how you communicate that message. 

Finding Your Voice

This means defining your buyers personas. Once you do that, it’s relatively easy to “talk” in a way that resonates with them. Is your product or service geared towards Gen Z, for instance, or is it focused on B2B? Is it a small business, or an enterprise? If you’re addressing a young audience, you may want to keep your voice relaxed and “hip.” B2B, on the other hand, may require content that is more authoritative or geared to C-suite audiences.

You may find that your tone changes across audiences. How you present your brand when you launch a new product or service will be different from how you address the media or communicate with someone regarding a customer complaint. Messaging should be consistent, yet with a flexible tone to suit different situations.

Take a look at some of your current content. How does your audience engage with your posts, communications, and website? Once you see what your target audience identifies and engages with, you can begin to build your brand’s personality.

Lastly, truly define your voice. What three words do you think best represent you now? This should be a team exercise; break out the whiteboard and have fun with it.

Staying True to Your Voice

Now that you’ve found your it, it’s important to stay consistent. If you have several people on your team touching each piece of content, this may be harder than you think. Documentation will help you maintain brand standards. This should include:

Your business’ mission and values statement: The tone of your mission statement should be reflected in your voice.

Consistent terminology: Every product or service should remain consistent with its name and description, regardless of what platform you’re using to promote it.

Personality: Fun, clever, and irreverent, or authoritative and strictly professional? Once you choose your brand’s personality, be sure to document it so everyone connected with content and website creation stays consistent.

Routine Audits

You’ll need to reevaluate your brand’s voice to make sure that your chosen strategy is working for you, and that your team is working to represent it consistently. You may find that you need to tweak your ideas before finding one that works for your business.

We take branding seriously. We know how important your voice is, and we’ll not only help you find it, but we’ll also help you maintain it. Ready to put our experienced teams to work for you? Contact us now.

How to Choose the Perfect Colors for Your Brand and Logo

person designing logo on laptop

The first thing your customers or clients will see on your website is your logo, and when it comes to creating it, every decision you make counts. After all, this is the face of your brand and it needs to represent your company’s services, style, and core values. How can a simple concept do all that? It all starts with choosing the right colors.

Establish Your Brand Identity

Understanding your brand’s personality, goals, and target audience is the first step to choosing your colors. Are you a fun-loving teen-focused company, or catering to a more serious crowd of CEOs? What’s the nature of your product and service? What are a few upfront things you want customers to understand about your business?

Color Science is a Real Thing

Certain colors bring certain companies to mind. Why is that? Creative design and careful color selection make these logos and brands memorable. There’s nothing accidental about color choices. 

Color science, or chromatics, is the study of the psychological effects colors have on viewers. It’s accepted that green, for instance, indicates healing and nature and reds invoke more passionate feelings such as love or anger. Blue triggers feelings of calmness and loyalty, while yellow feels happy and cheerful.

Think of some of your favorite logos; what’s the color science telling you about the brands?

Use the Color Wheel to Find Pleasing Combinations

If you’ve ever cringed at colors that clash, you already subconsciously understand the color wheel. There are several ways to use different colors for contrast and harmony, and ways to use variations of the same color palette to keep your logo simple and clean. 

Simplicity is Usually Better

Try to stick with a few key color concepts. Remember, your brand colors will be seen across all platforms, from web pages to social media and print. Will your choices look as good in a large-scale application, like a t-shirt or billboard, as they do on your business cards? WIll the logo lose effectiveness if it’s printed in black and white?

Black and White for Elegance and Simplicity

In a world full of splashy colors competing for center stage, maybe black and white is the answer for you. This minimalistic combination can mean many things to your customers, including authority, practicality, and sophistication. Where colors require specific settings to maintain consistency, choosing black and white for logos and brand colors make them easy to replicate for any platform.

Research the Competition

The intent behind choosing colors for your brands and logos is to stand out from the competition. You may find that many environmentally-conscious companies choose greens, for instance. You can opt for a different color direction, like a palette of blues, to stand out from the crowd in your industry.

Got questions? Let’s connect and talk about it!