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Unfortunately, that no longer holds true today. There are a number of reasons why you should have an SSL Certificate on your site.

It used to be said that if you weren’t using your website for e-commerce purposes, meaning had a shopping cart on your website, you wouldn’t need to utilize an SSL (https).

First off, what is an SSL Certificate? SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol, allowing secure connections from a web server to a browser. Typically, SSL is used to secure credit card transactions, data transfer and logins, and more recently is becoming the norm when it comes to websites.

The image below gives you a better idea of exactly how it works:

The security during the transfer is called the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS). The procedure for exchanging public keys using SSL Certificate to enable HTTPS, SSL and TLS is called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).

Google and SSL / HTTPS

Now you’re probably asking yourself, “but why do I need this for my website?” Well, effective July 2018, Google’s Chrome browser will mark non-HTTPS sites as “not secure.” Potential Customers will see that the website is “NOT SECURE” and probably won’t go to it. Think about it this way, if you were on the internet and Google flagged a website as “NOT SECURE,” are you going to risk clicking on it, or are you going to be worried about malware/viruses and decide it’s not worth it?

By not having a secure site it is also forecasted that Google will lower your rankings in the Search. A lot of this is going to have to do with users simply not wanting to click on your site, because it looks unsafe, lowering your traffic significantly. This will result in your competitors (who have the secure website) showing up ahead of you, taking away
the traffic/users that would of been your customers.

What sets us apart- Communication!

As your digital marketing partner, we believe that communication is essential. We have a very open relationship with our clients and tell them up front that it is very important for us to set expectations for each of us to ensure that goals and results are being met. Whether it is a website design meeting or a press release that is being sent out about the fundraiser that you are helping to host, timeliness is of the essence, especially in digital marketing. When we meet for our initial meeting with the team, no matter what the project is that we are working on, we will explain to you our step by step process. This will ensure that you know what our plan is on how we are going to work for you to get you results.

Depending on each individual service, you will have meetings at our office, we may meet at your location or you may have a phone meeting or a conference call. Each of our marketing programs has different needs but again we are here to educate you on what it takes to get your business results digitally. We recommend to our clients to set aside time every week to work on your “web stuff.” We may be doing most of the work, but you will be responsible for your business and providing us information as well throughout our partnership. You know your business better than we do, but we know marketing better than you. Digital marketing is a different beast. We need to communicate to know what is working and what is not. Some programs require a monthly meeting, some not as often.

Be prepared in the beginning to give us all of your ideas and really help us to understand your business. We need to learn as much as we can about you and your company. This is the crucial stage of getting everything set up, started and it is the not so fun part. It is like a Band-Aid. The sooner you get us what we need the sooner you will feel relief and start seeing the results. Keep in mind it takes time. Google is a robot and there is no telling what the algorithm may be in a month. Nothing happens overnight, but we will track our results month after month and learn from it and adjust to get better results. We also compare those results to your competitors so that we can see if we can see a trend and help achieve better results.

We have a complete customer portal that all of the programs that we are working on live in. You will have a login for your account and will find lots of information including any reports, google analytics and articles. You have access 24/7 and we also have built in a support ticket system that is there for you in case you need help. We like for at least one person on your team to be trained on content updates on the website if we are rebuilding that for you and include a training class with the developer. This is your website; we are building it custom for you. We want you to be able to use it when you need something changed in your business. We do have clients that prefer for us to do all of the work. If that is what you prefer let us know. We can help you with that too. We also have created an entire video series on website edits for you to have as support for those times you just forgot. These are available in your customer portal 24/7.

When we put together a package for you, we talk about goals and we sit down with our team and talk about what it is that will really impact the results. From there, we put together a plan of action that is a smart plan for those goals. Once you approve the plan we can get to work. We have an intake form that captures all of the information that we need to ensure the team is ready to get started. Our project manager assigns the team their responsibilities and then we get started. You will receive a welcome kit and emails and invitations to meetings, and then the fun starts. Let us know how we can help you with any of your marketing needs.

Philosophy on Marketing- How do you make clients feel?

Customers, whether they are internal, external or potential clients are the only thing that matters at the end of the day, and it goes back to how you made them feel. There are many businesses that do not have that philosophy and have completely destroyed their business and their reputation because of how they made someone feel. Think how powerful that is.

These philosophies on marketing goes back to you have one chance to make a great impression and with all of the choices out there to buy, or eat or whatever it is. Now more than ever, you better make sure that you stand out from all of the rest.

In Digital Marketing, whether your customer is a repeat client or a first time buyer. They made the choice to go to your website. What got them there? Reputation, a referral, you had what they needed? But how did they find out? Probably from Google, they typed in words or a phrase that got them to see your link. Existing clients are your biggest fans and your best referrals. The most amazing thing is that once your client purchases from you then you kind of know they like you.

Tying in social media and mobile marketing with them is a no brainer, but you have to think outside the box and know how to do it. Building your reputation online and branding yourself and setting yourself a part of the rest of the competition is what gets you noticed. In this world right now when you google marble counter tops Pittsburgh there are over 237,000 search results that come up. Most potential customers if they do not know who you are scan right down the search until they find a real business; there are so many directories and articles now. So there you are number 5 on the page. Perception to the consumer is that higher you are the better your reputation is. Once a potential customer clicks on your site. You have about 6-10 seconds to make an impression and then if they like what they see they stay. If they don’t they “bounce”. It is an actual term used in the digital world. At the end of the day, both existing and new clients are equally important.

Higher Images’ Founder and President, Bryan Thornberg

Bryan Thornberg has always been community minded and involved in outside organizations other than HI. Along this altruistic mentality, Bryan was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Keystone Alliance for Performance Excellence (KAPE). He joins a list of 10 other community minded, business leaders from across Pennsylvania.

KAPE is a non-profit organization that promotes competitiveness throughout Pennsylvania through a three-tiered assessment and award process. This helps to recognize and encourage performance and organizational improvement. The KAPE process is open to all organizations in business, education, health-care, government, and non-profit. The idea of helping another business achieve their goals is a perfect fit for Bryan! He started HI to fill the digital marketing niche and has helped hundreds of companies to become more successful. This is what Bryan said about his appointment to KAPE:

“I’m excited to join the KAPE Board of Directors. As president of an established digital marketing firm that has helped thousands of companies develop and grow their businesses, I realize that it is crucial to improve and maintain an organization’s goals and operations. KAPE’s mission is to help all types of organizations across Pennsylvania improve their performance and outcomes, so my tenure on the KAPE Board is a great fit.”

KAPE will benefit from Bryan’s expertise and HI will benefit from what Bryan brings to us from his experiences that he
gains during this time as well. It’s a win-win!
Congratulations, Bryan! Keep looking for big things from HI. All of our staff is top of the line!