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Are you tracking the right metrics in Google Analytics?

Posted by: Brittany Norton - 11/26/2015

Are you currently using Google Analytics? If so, then this article will help you determine which numbers you should be looking at. Analytics provides a great deal of information that can help you improve your site, social platforms and overall reach to your customers. Success can not always be measured by numbers, sales and visits but Analytics can get you as close to your definition of success as possible. 

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What is Statigram?

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015
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Meet Team Thrive: Ian Hartten

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

The bossman: Ian Hartten. Ian is the Founder and Director of Thrive Internet Marketing. Ian has a vast Internet development skill set which includes server administration, software development, ecommerce development and a passion for online marketing. When he isn't browsing the web for newest upcoming technology, he can be found typing away on his Mac or raiding the snacks in the kitchen. With an abundance of knowledge on all things digital, Ian is the go to guy for questions about digital marketing or even Google! 

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Meet Team Thrive: Brittany Norton

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

A recent BGSU graduate, Brittany studied Public Relations and Marketing. She has a knack for being picky with words and an eye for misspellings. If you see Brittany's desk, you will notice a variety of items such as a dying bamboo plant, a massive pile of balloons, a stress ball squishy she scored from the Target $1 bins and a tin of Peppermint Mocha Tea. She shares the "Cave office" with Dan and Andy. Brittany is the Digital Marketing Specialist and all things Google here at Thrive. 

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Engage Your Social Media Followers

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015


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Best Days to Post on Facebook Based on Industry

Posted by: Brittany Norton - 11/26/2015

Facebook is known to be a "daily addiction" - where people check up on news, their favorite brands, check in with friends & family etc. It is hard to tell when people will come back to check on their favorite brand pages. 

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How to launch a YMCA Digital Membership Campaign on a budget

Posted by: Ian Hartten - 11/26/2015

Are you wondering what promotion your YMCA is going to be for the New Year?

How are you going to market it? Where are you going to spend your budget? 

Taking your membership campaign can have a low cost and be effect for gaining new members. 

Consider this. Most of your prospect’s eyes are online and inside of social media. As a marketers we need to follow our prospects eyes and get savvy online inside of social media. The average internet user spends 2-3 hours of time online and 75 minutes of that time is using Facebook and Twitter. That is only on average, so the time spent on social media could be much greater. So it’s time to transition some of your traditional marketing dollars into social media. 

Compare the cost of using your budget on digital media versus traditional - the trade off will amaze you. Keeping a simple spreadsheet to measure member lead acquisition is important. You will need to track the total amount of visitors, total amount of lead forms completed, the total cost of the Facebook ads. Divide the total cost by the total leads and you will have your cost per lead. This number should be less using social media than traditional media and get better over time as you polish your efforts. 

Here is a short list of the tasks you need to execute to launch a simple online membership campaign:

1. Change your Facebook cover images to match your campaign. 

2. Update your website front page and have corner call outs.

3. Launch Facebook ads: you will spend anywhere from $.80 to $2.00 based on cost per click to target a specific demographic. 

4. Change "About" info on Facebook page

5. Create tab app for promotion to link to promotion page - include auto play video (less than 30 seconds)

6. Create Facebook badge that is shareable for people who have participated

7. Create a referral page, allowing current and new members to share the information

Overall transforming a small portion of your marketing budget to social media is very important to recruiting new members to your organization. Be sure to take the time to create your campaign and match every aspect to the needs of your viewers and followers. You wil increase your traffic online and awareness. 

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YMCA Web Presence Matters! Reason #1

Posted by: James Harsh - 11/26/2015
As I sit in front of my laptop on a Monday morning, I find myself overwhelmed with ideas to share to the YMCA community regarding the importance of promoting a digital, or online image for YMCA websites.  The reasons are many but how I go about explaining them in one article is nearly impossible.  So, it is with great excitement I present to you the first of many reasons, in a series format, detailing why a “YMCA Web Presence Matters”!  

Reason #1 - Create and Foster an Online Community

I took the opportunity to reach out to Elaine Barnard, a key member of the Lake County YMCA staff.  Elaine has been in and around the YMCA community for over 25 years.  She knows the Y mission inside and out.  I asked her, why should a Y care about its website? Rather than me translate her thoughts, I’d like to provide you Elaine’s comments.

Today, building relationships isn’t limited to connecting to people in person.  Millions of people plug in every day and Y’s need to be there.  An August Harvard Business Review article about the death of marketing explained "Buyers are checking out product and service information in their own way, often through the Internet, and often from sources outside the firm such as word-of-mouth or customer reviews."
When we connect to people online, it’s our opportunity to not only build relationships, but also build a reputation . . . prove we are experts in the community.  This won’t happen magically.  It requires a commitment, strategy and planning.  Our online presence needs to be more than electronic bulletin board for posting events, promoting programs, announcing closings and cancellations.  It’s our opportunity to tell REAL stories, share healthy recipes or simple exercise routines, speak to busy families, tell people what makes us different and PROVE THAT WE'RE MORE THAN A GYM!

Elaine has many good points, and what I like about these points, they are from her perspective.  A view from the inside of a YMCA, not James Harsh the Web Solution Sales guy.  The Internet is always on, your members and prospective members are looking for information at all hours of the day.  Inbound 2012 states “89% of people in the US search online before they make a purchase, even when the purchase is made at a local business”.  That’s an astounding amount of people!  What is your website saying to them?  Is your website easy to navigate?  Does your digital image look professional?  Is a visitor “invited” for a free trial?

Not only are these web visitors on their desktop and laptop, but many are accessing your site on their mobile phone.   Inbound 2012 provides us with another interesting statistic, “2014 is when mobile Internet usage is expected to surpass desktop Internet usage”.  This boggles my mind but I would agree as I use my iPhone more and more to search the web.  Does your website load properly on a mobile phone?  Or, is it just a micro version of your full website that is impossible to read or navigate?  Google states that 9 out of 10 people take action when searching from a mobile device.  If your website is not mobile-friendly, you can say goodbye to that potential member or lost parent trying to find the swim meet from their mobile phone.

There is not much I can add to Elaine’s points above.  Elaine is the expert.  You are the expert.  You know the YMCA mission.  The challenge is to transfer everything you know and do into the digital world.  If you don’t, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, “you will die”.  Sorry to be so blunt, but that is the truth.  The way we do business has forever changed.  And, if you dive into a bit, you won’t be scared because what you will find out is that the ones “who care, are the ones that will win on the web.”  This also comes from Gary Vaynerchuk, social media trailblazer.  The days when doing the right thing for your customer and truly caring about your customer are back.  If this doesn’t fit perfectly into the YMCA mission, then I am not sure what will.  

YMCA web presence matters!  Your website should be the foundation of all your marketing efforts.  What is your website saying about you?
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