Marketing Insights From Mid Minnesota Marketing

Mid Minnesota Marketing is your local resource for Web Development, Social Media and Marketing.

"We help small companies do the things that make large companies successful, in a way they can afford."
Tim Haas | President

Your Website Must Be Done Right

The Debate Is Over

As the internet grew in popularity and became accessible for a greater number of people, business owners began to debate over the necessity of having a website. Well that debate has ended and is far behind us. Of course your business needs a website. Today's consumers shop, research and make decisions based upon what they find online. You need good representation on the web in order to compete.

The New Debate

Now the question before business owners is how to best present themselves on the web. There are plenty of opportunities, but which should they pursue?

  • Professionally designed website with professionally written content and a strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) foundation.
  • Do it yourself "easy to build" options provided by mega hosting companies.
  • Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites.
  • Blog website.
  • Online advertising.

The right Stuff

First of all let's tackle the inner debate on whether or not you need to have your website professionally developed. The key to a successful website is twofold, your potential customers need to be able to find your website and then they must find the information they need in order to make a buying decision.

    It isn't magic and it doesn't happen by accident. Creating a website that the search engines can accurately index is a science. The search engines crawl websites collecting data and run it through proprietary algorithms designed to determine what your website is about and how it relates to specific key words and phrases.

    If your website ranks well for a search term or phrase, your site will appear on the search engine results page. Where it appears within the results depends upon how relevant the search engine believes your website is to the search phrase.

    Today's search engines rely on more than 200 unique signals when determining your website's value in relationship to specific keywords and phrases. Some of these signals are:

    • The written content.
    • Images & information related to the images.
    • How well written is the coding for the website, is it compliant to current standards?
    • Key words within the content. Are they used appropriately, too little, too often?
    • Is there a connection to social media?
    • How frequently is content added to the site?
    • Is there a call to action?


    The buying decision can be a variety of actions.

    • If you have an online store you want them to add products to the shopping cart and complete the checkout process.
    • If you sell your products from a storefront, you want them to come into the store.
    • If you sell services, you want them to contact you to set up an appointment to either have the work done, or investigate further and get a quote.

A professional web development company, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing, will be able to develop your website in a way that will rank well and help viewers make the buying decision. The process is complex and requires a great deal of specialized knowledge and experience.

Do-it-yourself websites very often fall short and produce little or no results.


It is important to realize that all of your online business activities need to tie together. At the very least you should have a professional website and active social media pages related to your business. Part of the professional website should be a news and events area (blog). This is an excellent way to add fresh content to your website on a regular basis.

Other opportunities provided on the web include online advertising. This may or may not be a good fit for your business. Common forms of online advertising include:

  • Ads sold on search engine result pages, they are usually displayed above or to the right side of the organic search results.
  • Ad placement on other company's websites.
  • Guest blogging.
  • Listings and online reviews within directories.

Mid Minnesota Marketing has over 12 years of experience developing websites for businesses just like yours. Your content is professionally written and the website is constructed to help search engines properly index your site as well as provide visitors with easy and fast access to the information they need.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing to develop your company website. 320-582-2288




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According to Netcraft, a UK research company, as of August, 2016 their web server survey indicates that there are 1.285 billion sites and 6.1 million web facing computers world wide. To help put this in context, Dorret Hoffleit of Yale University has determined that there are 9,096 stars visible to the naked eye in both hemispheres combined. To get a visual reference to how big 1.285 billion is, take a photo of the night sky (both hemispheres) and superimpose it onto itself 141,270 times.

Does that make your company website seem a bit small?


A website that works is simply one that can be found. It takes a great deal of skill and experience to develop a website that stands out from the rest. There is no single  "magic bullet" to making your website successful, there are many things to consider. 

  • Design: The site must be designed to be user friendly.
  • Code: Your site must conform to the latest acceptable standards in code.
  • Content: Your content must be unique and of value.
  • Search Engine Friendly: Your site must comply to the standards of the search engines in order to be accurately indexed. Stray from that path and you will suffer ranking penalties that may even include being banned.


Your best bet is to hire a professional web developer, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing,  to assure your website is properly built. Over the past 12 years I have worked with many companies that have tried to go the do-it-yourself route. I have noted a few things over that time:

  • The low cost, do-it-yourself service provider's concept of "easy" does not meet the expectations of the average user.
  • Above average users may be able to put together a design that looks pleasing, but it lacks usability and effectiveness.
  • The majority of people who do manage publish a site have little or no concept of how to make the site work for both the viewer and search engine.
    • The viewer must find the site useful  and the search engine must be able to accurately index the site.
  • The appeal to the "easy" solution is always the apparent low cost. However, there are a couple of ways they make up for the "savings" offered upfront.
    • They suggest to frustrated subscribers that they can build the site for them, for an additional fee.
    • After the basic site is built they begin to offer additional services. The site is built, but how will anyone find it? They offer to sell you optimization services, enhanced content, etc, etc, etc.


If you are ready to step up to the next level with your website, call Mid Minnesota Marketing today for an appointment. 320-582-2288.

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Check Your Website For A Pulse

Check Your Website For A Pulse!Top Ten Reasons Your Website Needs Attention

Just as there are dog years, there are web years. It has been said that a web year is equal to three months. That means if you last redesigned your website three years ago, it is 12 years old in web years! Would you leave a product display set up for 12 years? Then why would you let your website age as much?

Here are the top 10 reasons your website needs to be redesigned.

  1. Your website isn't performing.  A website exists to build your customer base. If that goal isn't being reached your website is wasted space. There are many reasons your website may not perform.
    • Poor design, not just appearance but marketing design.
    • Lack of effective call to action.
    • Your site does not speak to your customers.
  2. Outdated technology. It wasn't that long ago that downloading a photograph gave you enough free time to fix a cup of coffee and eat a donut. The web changes constantly and it is quite easy to fall behind.
  3. Is your website mobile friendly? This technology issue I will list separately, it is that important. Your site must be friendly to all the mobile devices your customers are using to access the web.
  4. New products and services. If you are introducing new products you will want to at least update your website to highlight the new additions. 
  5. Your marketing strategy has changed.  Most companies adjust their marketing strategy fairly regularly to keep up with changes in the market. Has your website kept pace with those changes?
  6. Your website is broken. Websites with broken links, outdated content and other issues are highly annoying to your visitors. Any kind of distraction is a reason for them to leave your site and look for the next.
  7. Your competitors have updated their website. Sounds kind of petty, but in the world of business you can't afford to look like you have fallen behind.
  8. Your website loads slowly. A slow loading website can kill visitor engagement. The rapid advancements in web technology have played a major roll in making people impatient. They want information and they want it now.
  9. New Branding. I cannot tell you how many times I see websites using old logos and tag lines. As your branding message changes you need to make sure your website changes along with it.
  10. Your website looks horrible. Your website is the storefront of the web and first impressions count.

Are you ready to take a closer look at your website?

We can help you examine your website with our free website analysis. Call Mid Minnesota Marketing to request your free website analysis. We will examine your current website and provide you with a free analysis of what is good vs. bad.

Set up your appointment today 320-582-2288.

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It's That Moment When . . . .

Your website needs to be professionally developed to reach its full potential.Terrifying, heart pounding, stomach aching moments.

I was recently at a Networking Referral Group meeting where I stood and presented my weekly 60 second commercial. I looked at the crowd of business people in attendance and and told them,

"It is that moment . . .

  • When you start brushing your teeth and realize that wasn't toothpaste you put on your brush.

  • At three O'clock in the afternoon when you realize you have been walking around all day with your fly open.

  • When you open the car door in a crowded parking lot and realize this isn't your car."

I asked if that was the feeling they had when last visiting their website. Did they notice it was lacking in interest or really not doing much of anything to draw new customers into their business? I hope not, but many business websites seriously lack power.

You have less than 10 seconds to grab your visitors attention. Can you do it?

Small business owners will often cut corners on their web development budget by using an "easy to use" template or having cousin Ernie's "techno" kid build the site. Inexpensive, yes. Effective, No. The site may look OK externally, but when it is examined from the inside out, it may be lacking in power.

There are some very common, and serious issues with this strategy.

  • Effective content: Consideration needs to be given to keywords & phrases, your call to action, frequency and positioning of contact information and more. Your content must be written in a way that will appeal to your customers and be easy for search engines to accurately index. This is not an easy line to walk.

  • Effective Layout & Formatting:  Does the layout of your website adhere to marketing best practices that are proven to help catch and retain the attention of potential customers?

  • Obfuscated Code: I am sure cousin Ernie's kid is bright, but internet technology is continuously changing.  Your website needs to stay current to allow for the best cross browser functionality possible.

  • Reliability: Will cousin Ernie's kid be available to help you when something goes wrong? What about getting help from the hosting provider that offer's those inexpensive templates? They say they offer support, but how fast is that support and at what additional cost?

Studies have shown that website visitors will spend 10 seconds or less determining if they want to spend more of their valuable time looking at your website.* For this reason alone, it is critical to enlist the services of a professional website designer.

Make the most of your 10 seconds.

Mid Minnesota Marketing has 12 plus years of experience developing websites and writing professional content designed to make the most of your 10 seconds. We believe small companies need to do the things that make large companies successful in a way that small companies can afford.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing and take control of your 10 seconds. You may reach us at (320) 582-2288


* Study Source: Nielsen Norman Group

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When Is The Right Time to Rebuild Your Website?

Is it time to re-design your website?If you are asking . . . it is probably time.

The web changes constantly, a website built today is out-of-date tomorrow. Not to worry, that doesn't mean it is obsolete or an embarrassment to you that quickly. However, if you are questioning the quality or effectiveness of your site, it is most likely time to do a redesign.

Some clues that scream, "Time for a redesign!"

Today's website visitors are very sophisticated. They want the information they are looking for and they want to find it fast. The typical viewer scans your site, if you do not catch their attention within a few seconds . . . they move on to the next site.

  • Time:
    If it has been two or more years since you have re-designed your site you should give serious consideration to an overhaul. Trends and technology change quickly these days, falling behind can not only make you look bad . . . but make you a security risk.

  • Security:
    The older your website is, the more vulnerable it is. You may find that your site is ripe for hackers to use for spam and other nasty actions.

    A good hosting company, such as Mid Minnesota Marketing, will keep their servers up-to-date and secure as well as providing patches for your website when it is possible. But the fact of the matter is, over time your site will likely become more and more vulnerable.

  • Drop In Ranking: The search engines change their algorithms very frequently to help them better index your website as well as foyle spammers. If you are noticing that fewer people are finding your website, it may be an indication that you have fallen too far behind with your Search Engine Optimization.

  • It's Ugly: Perhaps the last time you looked at your website a quick thought shot through your mind that the site sure is looking old or dull. It happens, design trends change and what once looked sharp as a tack can look a bit dull today.

  • Non-Responsive: If your website does not format itself to display properly according to the device your visitor is using to view the site . . . you definitely need to redesign your site. If it is difficult to read or follow, they will move on.

  • Professionally Written Content: It is important for your content to be written in a way that catches the visitors attention when scanning, provides detail when being read and allows the search engines to properly index the content of your website according to its content.

  • Stale Content: If you haven't been adding content on a fairly regular basis, it has affected your ranking potential. Search engines like to see fresh content.

Time for a website analysis.

If you read through this list and noticed anything in the list applies to your website, the place to start is with a website analysis. Mid Minnesota Marketing offers a free website analysis that looks at these items and much more to determine the health of your website.

Call Mid Minnesota Marketing to schedule your free website analysis. You may reach us at (320) 582-2288

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Help! My Web Developer Has Fallen Down On The Job And Can't Get Up!

Meeker Sportsman's Club Gun a Week giveaway in 2016Non-Profit In A Jam Needing Help

A good client of mine is on the Board of Directors for the Meeker Sportsman's Club in Litchfield. They are developing a new club that will offer a 400 yard riffle range, trap shooting range and other amenities. They are offering a raffle drawing giving away one gun per week in 2016, with the proceeds going to help with the construction of the facility.

Here is the jam.

A friend of the group with good intentions offered to build their website for them . . . it never got done. The ticket drawing is coming up in less than a month, there are tickets left to sell and they have promised to post the winners online after the drawing.

The Solution

Mid Minnesota Marketing was brought in and a site with basic necessities has been created virtually overnight. We will be working with them further down the road to add additional content to the site as they proceed in developing the organization.

I would like to suggest that everyone reading this visit their website and check out the information about the raffle. Post on your Facebook and other social media sites and let's help them sell the last of their tickets so they can get off to a great start. Click here to visit the Meeker Sportsman's Club website.

Lesson to learn

Sometimes you get what you pay for when it is free.

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Does Your Website Need to Be Entertaining?

Entertaining No . . . Captivating YES!

Your website visitors are much more sophisticated and impatient than they were in the past. Today's web users want to find the information they are looking for fast, easy and hassle free.

You must meet three basic criteria to satisfy the needs of your website visitors.

  1. Usability
  2. Informative
  3. Visually Appealing


With the development of technology over the past couple of decades a retraining of society has occurred. An overwhelming number of people have become impatient expecting immediate satisfaction. In my youth shipping products was expected to take a minimum of several days. Today consumers are demanding next day and even same day delivery.

Visitors to your website expect to find the information they are looking for immediately. If you do not grab their attention fast . . . they simply move on. There are several concepts you must keep in mind when developing your website:

  • Visitors scan, they don't read: Studies have found that website visitors scan a website looking for triggers that indicate they have found the information they are looking for. Once they have determined that the site provides information worthy of their attention, they will read content.
  • Avoid Clutter: Too much visual stimulation will distract the visitor causing them to miss the content they are looking for. A visually appealing site that directs your visitor's eyes smoothly to the content you want them to read will result in higher conversions.
  • Clear navigation: Don't make your site visitors search. Your navigation scheme should be clear and easy to use.
  • Responsive Design: Make sure your site will detect and display according to the format of the device your site visitors are using.


Your site visitors are looking for information, give it to them.

  • Visitors want quality content that is credible: Your site visitors want solutions to their problems . . . that is the product or service you are selling. They don't want to read a bunch of fluff or hype, give them the facts. Demonstrate how you are able to meet their needs.
  • Make it easy for them to get what they need: Make your contact information easy to find on every page of your site. Provide clear instructions on how to proceed . . . phone, online contact form or purchase online.

Visually Appealing

Make sure your site is easy to read and pleasant to view. Part of our conditioning has become to avoid things that are unpleasant or unappealing.

  • Place content "above the fold": Get right to the point and put the most important content at the top of the page. If your visitor is interested they will scroll down until they loose interest or make a decision to buy.
  • Make it easy to scan: Remember people scan, they don't read. Don't bunch information together in thick looking paragraphs. Use images, short paragraphs and bullet points.
  • Use color and design: Careful use of colors and design principals will help to grab your website visitor's attention. Use color and design to focus their attention on the content you want them to read.

By designing your website to help your visitor's find the information they are looking for quickly and easily, you are certain to increase the number of conversions generated by your site. Higher conversions mean increased sales.

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