Westchester Chimney Company Earns Prestigious Award

In any small region, you’ll find hundreds of local businesses competing for the same customers.  Some of them are family-owned, some hire only veterans, and others are simply an amalgamation of experts from the nearby towns and cities.  Each of these companies aims to be the best, which is why it feels great to win awards.  It validates all of the hard work and effort the company and its employees have put in up to that point to achieve their goals.

Yesterday, Expert Roofing of Westchester was awarded the Chimney Repair Excellence Award by Chimney Sweeping Magazine.  This prestigious honor came after Expert Roofing was voted the top Westchester chimney repair company out of 32 local companies for the 2nd straight year.  The Chimney Repair Excellence Award is bestowed on one company each year who exemplifies quality workmanship, industry-leading customer service, and volunteerism the region.  Looking at Expert Roofing’s social reviews, they clearly display an unmatched level of quality for their chimney repair and cleaning services.  A seemingly endless supply of 5-star reviews on Home Advisor, Angie’s List, Facebook, and Google point to a plethora of satisfied customers.  Many of the reviews mention repeat business, which is always a great sign of a quality chimney sweeper.  Regarding volunteering, many of the employees work with the local food shelter on occasion, and they also serve food at Equinox.

We stopped by their Yonkers location to speak with the owner who said:

“We’re really excited to win this award.  It means a lot to be named the top firm when there are so many great ones competing against each other.  I’m just proud of my team.  Our guys travel in from NYC, Jersey, and a few even out of state for work each day, ready to help our customers by delivering quality services we can stand behind.”

Congratulations to Ben and his team on another great year of service, and we look forward to seeing them go for the 3-peat next year.

Free Marketing Ideas from the Owner of Sarah’s Flowers

One common presumption is that marketing your business should cost you a ton of money. But there are a lot of ways to do an affordable marketing campaign that really works. Here are just some of the marketing ideas that are free or will cost you close to nothing.

  1. Utilize social media to your advantage

Social media is a popular thing and you need to use that to your advantage. Social media marketing has proven to be one of the most effective and cost-efficient method of attracting and retaining your customers. All you need is a good internet connection, your time, some creative content, and you are good to go – no need to spend a huge amount of money.

How do you market your business using social media? One idea is you can set up a blog and publish free and amazing content that people will surely go back to. Promote your business and give it enough exposure through your blog. Build a community for your customers and create a welcoming and engaging atmosphere. Reach out to your customers in real time. Initiate online contests or giveaways. The marketing possibilities with social media is boundless – get creative and be fearless.

  1. Create valuable and shareable online content

Create online content that your target market will be interested in and will also share on their social media profiles such as tutorial or instructional videos and infographics. Include your business name and logo on these materials so people can trace it back to your website.

  1. Set up photo booths at events and tag people on social media

Given that you have some photography skills up your sleeves, you can definitely set up a photo booth at events or even roam around and take photos of the attendees. Ask for their name and tag them on social media; or to drive even more traffic, give them your business card and tell them that they can check out their photos in your Facebook page. Watermark their photos with the name and the logo of your business so that you can also advertise to their online friends.

  1. Get active within your community

For businesses with physical locations, try connecting with your surrounding community by being active in the local events. Distribute some small tokens during these events, like foldable fans with printed name and logo of your business during noontime parades. Keep abreast of your local events and participate in them with the goal of promoting your business.

  1. Collaborate with other businesses

Team up with other businesses around your area to double your reach. Come up with promo schemes in partnership with the other businesses. For example, if a customer spends a certain amount in your shop, they are then entitled for a discount at the other shop, and vice-versa. Or, if a customer buys something at the other shop, he/she will then get a freebie at your shop. It’s your pick!

  1. Ask for a review from your satisfied customers

If you are certain that a customer is satisfied with your products or services, ask them right away for a good review on your website or on other popular and well-trusted review sites. Most of your happy customers will not mind to do the favor.

  1. Design unique and fun business cards / flyers

A lot of people can easily throw away common-looking business cards and flyers – so make sure that yours is something unique and fun. Do not underestimate anything that you give out as it may just generate enough curiosity and exposure for your business.

  1. Have you heard of business awards?

Do some research for any awards given in your industry and try applying for these. Some awards do require you to spend money so carefully select one that will not be too costly for you but will still give your business enough exposure to your target market.

Story of Snapchat

Snapchat has outgrown other social media platforms to be a leading platform allowing the users to reach out to others across the globe. In the modern era, Snapchat is not all about capturing the picture-perfect moments. It is more about communicating with the wider range of human emotions –not just what might appear perfect or pretty.

Evolution of Snapchat

Evan Spiegel –the CEO & Co-founder of Snapchat released a blog post on the Snap Inc. –as it was named back in the year 2012. On the Snap Inc. platform, the users were only allowed to post photographs and this platform used to run only on the iOS platforms. Since the time of the first-ever blog by Evan Spiegel, Snapchat has managed to ensure making a huge impact on the overall global content marketing and the social media.

Instant and social messaging has become the norm since the inception of Snapchat. In fact, since Snapchat has made its arrival on the social media platform, other platforms like Instagram and Facebook started launching their own versions of some of the most popular features of Snapchat. Given the rising popularity of Snapchat, it is predicted that the existing competition will only continue growing between Snapchat and the other famous social media platforms out there.

History of Snapchat

2011: Launching of Snapchat, then Picaboo

Spiegel along with his co-founder of Snapchat –Bobby Murphy, told Forbes that they had met at Stanford University. It was then they went forward with the creation of Picaboo –the very first version of Snapchat in the year 2011. With the help of Picaboo, they wanted to create an application through which the users were able to send photos that would later on disappear.

2012: The Arrival of the Videos

In October 2012, Snapchat for the Android platform was launched on the Google Play store. This helped the platform in increasing its overall user base. By December the same year, the Snapchat users were able to send over 50 million photos on a daily basis. At the same time, the app rolled out its innovative update that allowed the users to upload 10-second videos as well.

2013-2014: Stories & Chats

In October 2013, Snapchat launched the concept of adding Stories –a short narration of the snaps that lasted for around 24 hours. In the year 2014, Snapchat took a step further by launching the Chat features that allowed the users to interact with each other through the app.

This is how the world-famous app Snapchat evolved!

New York Towing Company of the Year Award

Please help us give a big congratulations to Albany Towing Services for winning the New York Towing Company of the Year Award!  Through their tireless dedication to helping customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the sun, rain, or snow, their employees show true commitment that serves as a shining example of what companies should aim for.

Every year, a local committee of small business owners and volunteers get together to vote on the company of the year for Albany, NY.  This award honors one local company that has gone above an beyond the call of duty through extensive volunteering, providing outstanding customer service, and striving to consistently improve their craft year over year.  Companies must be voted in, then selected from an array of criteria, such as number of 5-star reviews, contribution to the Albany area, and recommendations from other businesses, among other things.

This year, in 2018, Albany Towing Services was selected from 56 companies that were voted in.  A couple items in particular separated them from the pack, including a heartfelt video message from a partly-disabled veteran whose car broke down on the side of I-87 in a snow storm near Christmas.  Not only did the tow truck get to him fast, but when the vet couldn’t find his credit card, the employee towed him for free.  The other main difference was that the company selects 7 days a year where everyone, including the CEO leaves to do volunteer work at the day.  This ranges from helping at the food shelter to serving meals with Equinox around Thanksgiving time.

Albany Towing Services provides car, motorcycle, truck, and SUV towing, in addition to offering auto lockout services, junk car removal, emergency roadside assistance, refueling if you car ran out of gas, and flat tire changing in Albany, NY and the surrounding areas of the Capital Region.  Their service area near you extends through Cohoes, Latham, Troy, Waterford, Watervliet, and many other cities in Albany County.  Albany Towing Services can be reached by phone at (518) 925-8552 or by visiting their website above.

An Innovative Business Idea for 2020

We live in a highly digitized world. Every day, new online businesses keep coming up around the globe. The online market is brimming with various startup as well as seasoned business ventures –all with a single motive to earn maximum profits from the end users. Over the years, new online business ideas keep coming up with the aim of delivering high-end customer experiences to the online visitors.

If you are looking forward to starting out a new online business, there are chances that you must have exhausted out of them. This is because there exists potentially something relative to any idea that comes up in mind. However, there are a few areas that are still untouched by the online business scenario. Here are some of the fresh online business ideas that will play a major role in the people’s lives all across the world in the coming years:

  • Online Customized Tailoring Business: There is no denying the fact that people all across the globe are increasingly becoming conscious of their overall looks. As such, they are in the constant search for the best-fitting and the most fashionable clothes that complement their overall appearance. Understanding this rising need, the apparel stores all over have already commenced offering a series of online services that aim at delivering perfect fits to the online buyers. This is the reason online custom tailoring business is on the rise and various leading clothing platforms are already diving into this field. These platforms allow the buyers to customize the clothes as per their preferences –as per the personal size, style, color, and fabric.

 

  • Ondemand Service Marketplace: The on-demand online services are gaining a huge impetus in the recent times. The world that we live in is a hectic one and there is no time left for self-care in the busy schedules of life & work. As such, the on-demand services including laundry services, salon, cooking, baby-sitting, and so more are becoming popular day by day. Owing to the existence of the huge need for such a marketplace, there are higher chances of the online websites penetrating into this business scenario.

 

  • Online Appointment & Professional Searching Marketplace: It is extremely difficult & time-consuming to stand in line for hours at your doctor’s appointment. At the same time, if you are seeking for an appointment at some other professional service, it is quite difficult to avail the services in a timely manner. Towards addressing this global problem, the business ventures are nowadays coming up with professional searching & appointment-making marketplace to help the end users. These platforms not only serve as reliable online directories of the list of services in the given niche, but also help in confirming the reliability of services offered by a particular online service provider.

Look up for these innovative business ideas to start your own online business.

The Story of Digifly Marketing

Digifly Marketing was formed in 2012 by Luke Van Der Veer, a New York native and successful entrepreneur.  Based in New York City, the company provides search engine optimization services, website design & development, Facebook advertising, and Google ad management to clients in 27 states.  Despite only existing for 7 years officially, the talented group of individuals behind Digifly Marketing have more than 135 years of experience between them in the areas of advertising, e-commerce, franchising, internet marketing, sales, search engine optimization, and web design.

The story of Digifly Marketing revolves mainly around its founder, Luke Van Der Veer.  He graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Albany with an MBA and began working at General Electric directly out of school.  6 months into his tenure at GE, Luke flew to Las Vegas for an international business conference and was planning to stay a few extra days for vacation.  During the conference, he met 9 of his future employees through networking.  As Luke puts it, “It’s tough to find people with an entrepreneurial fire who are willing to put in the work…It’s sweat equity.  But, when you speak with them, you know.  And whether it was accidental or fate, we we’re all in the right place at the right time.”  Shortly after his trip, Luke returned to New York and formed the LLC.  While working full-time, he used Skype and Whatsapp to keep in touch with his team and began building Digifly Marketing.

Each member of the team had a role to play, mostly in fulfilling client needs.  3 of the employees handled research and reporting, 4 built websites, 2 managed link building, and Luke brought in the clients.  Luke had established standard operating procedures for each task to make the process easy to learn and repeatable. To find clients, he started by targeting profitable niches in large cities and using a virtual assistant to email all the companies not ranking near the top of the search results for their primary keywords.  He would then schedule sales calls during his lunch breaks, after hours, and on weekends.  Despite having limited sales experience, he averaged a 30% closing rate.  After 2.5 years Luke resigned from GE, moved to New York City and began working full-time at his agency.

Unlike most SEO firms, Digifly Marketing is very upfront about their service and what it entails.  Even the pricing is more straightforward; there are no hidden fees and no upselling. Multiple review sites and our own interviews point to an overall quality service that delivers as promised, which frankly, is hard to find.  Their management style is unique as well – very hands-off.  You hire them to get your business ranked higher and they get it done without bothering you.  However, the most impressive thing about the company is the personal touch.  Most often, you’ll be in contact directly with Luke, and he’s very responsive to emails and calls during business hours.

If you’re struggling to find new customers or are just sick of watching your competitors succeed online, it’s time to do something about it.  Contact the Digifly Marketing team and tell them about your business.  You’d be surprised what you’ll learn on that phone call.  And who knows, maybe you’ll talk to Luke.

Latest Google Algorithms & SEO Trends 2018

Google algorithms keep changing every now & then. As technical as they might get, there are times when the high-end Google algorithms also get beaten up due to certain flaws. Recently in 2010, Google was highly criticized by the global media for increasing the overall amount of content clutter in its search results. As such, soon after, Google released the Google Panda update which was particularly aimed at removing low-quality & spammy content from the search results.

Whether or not some kind of knowledge-based trusting algorithm or method might be enough towards combating the fake news, it is clear that Google is keen on making its truthfulness as a matter of ranking factor. With the recent updates to the Google’s algorithms, there are some top SEO trends that you can expect in the coming times:

  • Featured Snippets & Voice Search will Grow Hand in Hand: A recent study reveals that around 5 queries with respect to mobile searches come from voice search. This number is however, likely to increase with the advent of Google Assistance-enabled technology & devices like Google Home –which continues to rise in popularity. As the voice searching technology grows, you can expect observing an increase in the usage of featured snippets as Google sources its voice search results from the same. If the given trend continues, featured snippets might have to start competing with the topmost organic listing if your site wishes to get noticed.

 

  • AI (Artificial Intelligence) Will be Powering More Aspects of the Search Engine: Since the world’s introduction to RankBrain, several aspects of Google search results have changed significantly. RankBrain is the machine learning AI (Artificial Intelligence) system by Google which is aimed at helping the search engine in processing the given search results. Since its launching 2 years back, RankBrain has advanced itself from searching around 15 percent of the search queries to nearly all of them.

 

The overall interest of Google in Artificial Intelligence tends to extend much more than RankBrain. However, Google has also come up with the latest Cloud Vision API –which is known to be capable of recognizing several objects. Definitely, Google tends to possess a wide range of high-end machine learning capacity such that it is now considering selling its own range of products. However, more interestingly, Google is on the verge of building an AI (Artificial Intelligence) system that overpowers the imagination of the humans all over.

 

  • Mobile-First Indexing: Google recently announced that mobile searches have finally surpassed the overall desktop searches on the Google’s search engine. Just last year, BrightEdge claimed that around 57 percent of the overall traffic amongst its clients was from the mobile devices instead of the desktop systems. As a response to this gradual change in the user behavior, Google is on the verge of introducing “mobile first indexing”. This implies that Google will be creating & ranking the overall search listings on the basis of the mobile version of the given content. This will be applicable for the listings that are available for the desktop users as well.

 

  • Mentions without Links: Recently, Bing has confirmed that they practice tracking the unlinked brand names or mentions and make use of them as a ranking signal. Similarly, a particular Google’s patent claimed that Google might be doing this as well in the coming times. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is beginning to play a major role in the overall ranking scenario, it is not unlikely to expect the use of “linkless” mentions of the given type to begin playing a major role in the overall search rankings of different web portals.

 

The tricks used for earning the brand mentions are no different from the tricks that are used for earning the links. However, as the total number of people who would be mentioning brands tends to be much higher than the total number of people who would be linking to them, this trick could offer an excellent boost for the small-scale brands out there that might be falling below the earning press threshold.

 

  • Rise of the Manipulative Guest Posting Trend: Last year, Google had warned the webmasters across the globe that utilizing the method of article marketing as a major link-building trick turns out to be against the guidelines & might result in a hefty penalty. As this piece of knowledge is well known in any reputed SEO community, the announcement made by Google is likely signaling that a recent algorithm update might target manipulative guest posting to be on the trends in the coming times.

Look out for more on the latest SEO trends!