March '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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36 || P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 7 Kelly "Rags" Ragland is the owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising specialty company that provides a range of services, from Web design and development to customized ap- parel. Read his blog at INTERNET STRATEGIES B Y K E L LY " R A G S " R A G L A N D I 'm sure you've heard the phrase, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" The phrase was presented to raise questions, and you can find interesting responses. I was recently reminded of this from the angle of internet marketing. The tree falling is your message being broadcast through the vari- ous channels of the world wide web. Was anyone around to hear it and get that message? The answer is: absolutely. The tree, however, has to fall and fall often to make a sound. If you're not knocking down trees and creat- ing a bit of a raucous, it doesn't matter if anyone is around to hear it. This came to mind towards the end of 2016 when I was hanging up my web developer's hat and moving back into my duties as an apparel decorator during the holiday break. For reasons I'll keep to myself, I had taken a leave of absence from blogging, promoting, socializing, and engaging my audience on social media. I hadn't up- dated any of my sites in more than two years; I hadn't broadcast any message at all. I left my website there, getting whatever sales came in, and allowed it to go static. I knew the results were going to be damaging, and my sales numbers proved that to be true. Upon picking myself back up to get back into the graphic design- er's chair and put my apparel business back in the fast lane, the pieces of the puzzle that once provided me a spot on page one of Google's organic search were all exactly as I left them. However, I hadn't been making any noise to draw attention to it; I had not been knocking down trees. When you knock down trees and make those sounds, you know there are internet users out there to hear it. In addition, bots hear every tree that falls. So, simple logic says to do it and do it often. Here are a few examples of ways to better clear the forest. BLOGGING Blogging is beneficial, period. Many online retailers let this strategy go due to reasons such as time restraints or feeling that writing skills are an essential part of it. But, consider this: Bots read every word you blog, every time you post a blog. And every keyword you include in your blog posts trigger the bots to the fact that you are there, knocking down a tree, and mak- ing a noise. Further, they apply those keywords to create answers for users asking them questions. SOCIAL MEDIA Posting often is necessary no matter how big or small your pool of followers may be. Followers are important of course, but part of the strategy to gain followers still requires frequent posts and engage- ment. Now, back to the bots. You can have a Twitter account with only 10 followers, post three Tweets about your products and services in one day, and only reach four of the followers due to the time of day or another of many factors. But, the bots read every Tweet and remember them. UPDATING YOUR WEBSITE If your website has been online for a reasonable amount of time, the bots know your site is there, and chances are users are coming across it in one form or another. What are they discovering? Is there anything on the site that encourages them to visit often? Are they receiving email broadcasts reminding them to visit? And, again, the bots know. They also know the last time you updated anything. If it has been a long period, the bots won't tell users you're relevant to them anymore. Picture a conversation between an internet user and a search engine bot: User: Have you heard anything about T- shirts in Dallas? Bot: I have thousands of results. I've heard from these companies in the last week, these in the last month, etc., etc., etc. User: Have you heard anything about darts T-shirts from Rags in Dallas? Bot: Nope, not a word. That's why I moved him to page five. A radio station broadcasting silence has no listeners. A magazine that publishes nothing has no readers. And a tree that does not fall makes no sound. Keep all your online properties knocking down trees, making sounds, and creating vibrations all over the internet. In doing so, you will find stability and build a solid foundation for the success of all your internet strategies. If a Tree Falls How to make some sound on the internet

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