Month: December 2017

December 28, 2017

Small Business Saturday | Christmas Village

Momentum Digital is back with another episode of Small Business Saturday, where we highlight a deserving company in the greater Philadelphia area. This Saturday we bring to you a special, holiday edition focused around the annual Christmas Village tradition in Dilworth Park, located under the shadow of City Hall. We met with three companies: La Vie Boheme, Chef Ido’s Sauces, and Amazing Light. Each of these companies offers unique products ranging from healing remedies to children’s arts and crafts.

The original Christmas markets that our current version is modeled after, began in the late Middle Ages. Farmers from the city of Nuremberg in the state of Bavaria, Germany began by selling the last of their crops and in open area before settling in for the the cold, dark winter. This event evolved into what is now the world-renowned Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, where vendors from all over the world come to share in the festive atmosphere.

Philadelphians with German roots wanted to bring a similar experience to our city, so they began a branch of this great tradition a few decades ago. It is now one of Philadelphia’s most anticipated holiday events, attracting businesses from all over the east coast to come and display their goods in 1 of the 80 wooden booths setup by the organizers.

La Vie Bohème
An enticing fragrance lead us to our first stop, La Vie Bohème. An artisanal conglomerate comprised of three individual companies, La Vie Bohème is a play on a French phrase that was made popular by the musical Rent.

Samantha, with whom we conducted the majority of the interview, is the founder of MASscarves. While working as a costume designer in 2013, Sam noticed a problem with the amount of waste produced by the fashion industry. She then began thinking of a way to consolidate some of the materials into a functional, yet fashionable piece. Sam simply attached a faux fur hood to a scarf, and viola, MASscarves was born. Soon the custom orders began pouring in. Shop her inventory here, or visit her on Facebook and/or Instagram.

AC Stauble is the second member of the trio, although you may know her as the Traveling Herb Farmer. AC tours the country in her retro school bus, The Butter Bus, brining her all-natural herbal remedies with her. She has variety of products that are meant to soothe and heal your aches and pains. Whether it is something as simple filling your room with the wonderful aroma of a crisp woodland morning, or a rosemary bath salve aimed at promoting healthy skin, it can be found in AC’s repertoire. Check her out on Facebook and Instagram.

Last but not least is Katherine Cooper Sliclen, founder of Stone Cooper, which specializes in handcrafted Bohemian adornments. Created with a conscience and appreciation for quality, Stone Cooper strives to provide distinctive, wearable pieces that tell a story and make you feel your best. Inspired by nature and beauty in the unexpected, it is a collection of meaningful jewels including original designs in silversmithing, casting, beadwork, metal-stamping, wirework, and repurposing. Check out her inventory here, or visit her on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Chef Ido’s Finishing Sauces & Jalma Farms
The second stop on our Christmas Village tour was at an interesting booth once again combing two businesses. The gentleman that was manning the booth was John, a representative of Chef Ido Shapira. Chef Ido has been trained in classic Italian cooking, but found a calling when his Chipotle Pepper Finishing Sauce became a huge hit at the restaurant in which he was Head Chef. Soon after, he enlisted the help of John (his pastry chef at the time) and a few others to start his own company. Now his sauces are wildly popular along the east coast, so much so that they almost ran out of their supply before the Christmas Village came to an end! Check out all of his varieties here, as well as some recipes and suggestions from Chef Ido.

Sharing a booth with the Chef Ido crew was Jalma Farms, a family-owned business that has roots dating back to the 1600’s!! Located in Cap May County in Southern New Jersey, Jalma Farms specializes in growing Beach Plums and Aronia Berries, two fruits that you might not see in your everyday supermarket. Their jams and syrups are made with all-naturally ingredients, meaning fresh fruit and pure cane sugar. In fact, their products contain about half the sugars as typical store bought brands, while still maintaining that delicious taste. Definitely check them out here to see a full list of their products and where they will be popping up next! Also follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Amazing Light
Last but certainly not least we found our way to the booth of Wahid Hamidi and his Amazing Lights. These wonderful and festive lanterns come in a small package and are very easy to put together. They are customizable, so it is likely that no two lanterns are alike. They are perfect for young children or adults that are looking for a way to add a remarkable and dynamic light fixture to their home.

We certainly enjoyed bringing you this first hand look into a few of the many unique businesses that make up the community that is the Philadelphia Christmas Village. Although the current season is drawing to a close, we hope that this will inspire you to visit in 2018 to see even more wonderful and creative small businesses.

Until next Saturday!

December 19, 2017

Small Business Saturday | Mad Rex

Momentum Digital is back with another episode of Small Business Saturday, where we highlight a deserving company in the greater Philadelphia area. This Saturday we sit down with Michael Johnigean, the owner of Mad Rex in Northern Liberties.

You’ve NEVER experienced a restaurant like Mad Rex before… I guarantee it! That’s because Michael and his team have spent over a year and nearly $1 million turning the space into a futuristic, post-apocalyptic dwelling that would make even Rick Grimes shake in his boots.

They have gathered some of the most bizarre, one-of-a-kind artifacts, mannequins, weapons and all sorts of gnarly memorabilia to create a truly remarkable aesthetic, in what is now one of Philadelphia’s hottest new restaurants.

Subtlety was definitely never part of the plan whenever this project came together. In fact, they have a massive truck parked out front on the corner of Frankford and Delaware Ave that looks more at home in a monster truck rally than on the street of the up-and-coming north Philadelphia neighborhood. That beast certainly sets the mood as patrons approach the factory style building where Mad Rex is housed.

Once inside, you’ll think you walked into Hannibal Lecter’s fantasy play land. Fear not, however, the staff is very attentive and welcoming. You can either post up at the spacious bar, grab a booth with some buddies, or just walk around and gawk at the crazy scenery.

Not only does the decor match the “survivor” theme, but Mad Rex has a diverse food and drink menu as well. One of the best sellers is the Black Rock Dining option that allows customers to cook their own choice of meat on a 700 DEGREE black rock that is delivered piping hot to the table! The meal comes with your choice of meat (fish, chicken, or steak) which is prepared medium rare and left for you to finish off however you see fit. It comes with a bevy of sauces and spices, so each bite you devour is as spontaneous and diverse as the restaurant itself. This ode to our ancestors is definitely one of the most unique ideas we have ever encountered.

However, the proverbial icing on the cake is definitely the Virtual Reality Lounge! While waiting for your food, customers are encouraged to check out the VR room where they can pick from up to 30 different experiences. In addition, each station is equipped with your own drip bag! That’s right, you can fill it up with your favorite cocktail and sip it while you’re in a world far away from the Delaware River (because who has the time to deal with a regular glass while you’re floating through space.)

Mad Rex definitely gets a 5/5 from our staff… but you have to visit them at 1000 Frankford Ave if you want to see for yourself.

Until next Saturday…

December 18, 2017

Using Google Alerts to Get An Edge Over Your Competition

Google is a serious source of buyer traffic for each of our clients and making sure we squeeze the most out of every service Google offers only makes sense.

From the G-Suite platform Mac wrote about earlier this year, to Google Trends giving us an idea of what we could or should creating content around, there is tremendous value in free tools that even novice business owners can use to get an edge on local and national competitors.

There will be further posts on how to use individual tools within the stable of Google products, but for this week’s Momentum Monday, I’ll explain how you can go about using Google Alerts to effortlessly keep tabs on your your own brand, competitors, and overall movement in your niche.

Google Alerts: Mediocre Name, Critical Tool

google alerts

When I think of Alert, I think of two things.

The most northern, permanently habitable place in the world – and those annoying fire alarms that went off in residence during college. Despite the boring name, Google definitely has built a tool you can use to keep tabs on what’s going on with almost anything on the web.

With news and blog posts coming out literally every day you need to keep know what your competitors are doing, trends in your industry and new opportunities to connect with influencers and curate content.

You can do all this and still keep your sanity with just a few strategic and well thought out alerts.

Google Alerts basically allow you to be notified as often as you wish whenever new content that meets certain criteria or contains certain phrases is indexed or mentioned on the internet.

Using Alerts To Make Your Digital Marketing Campaigns Easier

Setting up Alerts is dead easy.

Simply login to your Google account and go to google.com/alerts. Any phrase you insert will be monitored and should a mention of these keywords, phrases or brands will trigger an email to your Google account at the interval you’ve specified.

Practical Uses For Google Alerts

You’re already getting tons of emails everyday, so setting these up so they provide the most value and don’t end up annoying you is key.

Here are my favorite alerts and how to leverage them, specifically for SEO.

Brand Mentions: This is easy – insert your brand, and get an email at the frequency you specify whenever your brand name is indexed. Monitor good and bad press, and take it a step further by monitoring brand mentions of your direct competitors.

Any mention of your brand that isn’t linking out to your site is an opportunity for outreach and to get a link placed.

For example if we found a blog or news site mentioning Momentum Digital, without directly linking out to us, we’d send a nice email letting them know our site is http://needmomentum.com and it might help their readers learn more about our services.

Links matter significantly as ranking signal even as we end 2017, according to Search Engine Land so any new indexed and relevant links you can acquire definitely make a difference.

Competitor Creep: The best defense is offense, and you can set up Google Alerts to make sure you keep tabs on your direct competitors marketing strategy online.

Moving into 2018 earned or acquired placements are just a reality, and it can be daunting keeping up with  these opportunities and making sure you capitalize on them all.

Plug your competitor into Google Alerts and get notified anytime they are mentioned in the news, a blog or any other indexed content. What are they doing to get media attention? What are they doing to generate buzz? Giveaways, charitable acts, even bad press – these are all opportunities to learn and replicate what seems to be working for your own brand.

For example, if you see another local business owner has been mentioned in the press as an authority on a certain subject or being recognized for his or her contributions locally, those are all opportunities that can be replicated. Reach out to news or blog sources and let them know you can offer the same insights and are available to comment.

I’ve even setup Google Alerts for my competitors first name in the past to see if they ever get mentioned for other reasons which I could leverage for links.

Content Curation: On a bigger scale, you’ll want to keep tabs on what the general trends are in your industry without manually digging around. Setting up alerts for certain commercial keywords can bring you opportunities for networking and content that you may not have found otherwise.

For Momentum, we love getting out and doing our Small Business Saturday series, so Google Alerts for phrases like opening in Philadelphia, opening in Philly, small businesses in Philadelphia do a good job of keeping us abreast of what’s new in the city and how we can help new businesses that are making a difference. Set them to once a week to avoid being annoyed and yes some results won’t be immediately actionable, but should still be an opportunity to network.

Setting up alerts for broad matched terms like local digital marketing also lets us find similar competitors who may be getting press and blog mentions, and we can always work on reverse engineering these to get ourselves links by creating similar or better content.

You can also use terms in quotes to further narrow down results. Google Alerts previews potential results so you can make changes in real time so you don’t end up with a bunch of potentially irrelevant emails.

Keeping Organized With Google Alerts

Email overwhelm is something every business owner deals with and I’m constantly trying to cut down on my notifications, and compartmentalize inbound messages.

Alerts should be set to as-it-happens under how often, but here’s the key. Setup a filter in your email client to put these Alerts aside in a folder and check them when convenient – here’s how to do it in Gmail.

These can then be handed off to an intern or marketing ninja and be followed up on systematically. Building a network like this can definitely help if you’re running a specific promotion and need a media push, but it starts with being proactive and knowing how to get your links and content out there fast.

By admin
December 11, 2017

Top 3 Hosting Providers For WordPress in 2018

When deciding on which hosting provider to choose for your new WordPress website, there’s a good chance you will become overwhelmed with how many options are available. Finding the perfect marriage between price, performance, reliability, and support is everyone’s ultimate goal, but with all of the “promotions” and “guarantees” that a lot of these service providers push onto their customers, it can be a real headache.

Luckily, I’ve been been building WordPress websites for many years and have dealt with my share of really good hosting providers as well as some I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. In an effort to make your life easier, I am going to highlight the top 3 hosting providers I have used and break them down into 3 tiers:

  • Tier 1 = Basic WordPress usage (Personal blog)
  • Tier 2 = Full-scale WordPress buildout (Website)
  • Tier 3 = Selling products or driving over 25,000 monthly unique visitors to your website (Ecommerce, large organization, etc.)

Now that we have some context, let’s find the perfect host to fit the needs of your personal brand or business.

Tier 1 – GoDaddy

hosting providers godaddy

GoDaddy has been around a very long time and is typically one of the first names that come to mind when talking about what is needed to build a new website. There’s a really good chance that most of you reading this right now have used GoDaddy at least once to purchase a domain or check if a domain you might want to buy is available.

GoDaddy is tailormade for beginners and people who are looking save a few dollars without completely sacrificing the quality of service they are receiving. They make it very easy by taking you through a guided, step-by-step process of setting up WordPress Managed Hosting that is even easier if you already have your domain purchased within your GoDaddy account.

The two main drawbacks of GoDaddy compared to the next two services are its overall performance and customer support. If you’re planning on making your website load as fast as possible (which is one of the most crucial SEO best practices), GoDaddy, especially on the lower-priced options, will not get the job done. I’m not saying your site will take forever to load, but depending on the amount of content and plugins you are using, the likelihood of underreporting in the speed area is significantly higher than with other platforms.

When it comes to customer support, you are better off trying to use the help forums and Google before attempting to contact GoDaddy as a last ditched effort. The live chat feature is spotty, only being on at certain intervals throughout the day, and seemingly never when you need it. If you aren’t a millennial and actually prefer picking up the phone and talking to a support agent, you better make sure you have some reading materials handy, or use the time to go grocery shopping, because the wait times can be excruciatingly long, again depending on the time and day you are calling.

In the end, for its few downsides, GoDaddy is an option I recommend for newbies at the web design game and for those on a really tight budget. Pricing starts as low as $3.99/month.

Overall Grade = B

Tier 2Dreamhost

hosting providers dreamhost

Dreamhost is the sweet spot that a good portion of your websites will fall right into. We here at Momentum Digital use Dreamhost for our own website and all of our local service industry clients. Using its proprietary WordPress installer, Dreampress, you are able to follow a similar process to that of GoDaddy in that it takes you through a guided setup of your hosting account.

Live chat support is available 24/7, meaning you will always have access to a professional agent whether you need help at 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning. Moreover, the support staff is always friendly and more than happy to answer all of your questions. Unlike with GoDaddy, Dreamhost support will actually take it a step further and make some changes for you if you’re uncomfortable changing the settings yourself.

Perhaps one of the best and often overlooked features of Dreamhost is that all Dreampress installs come with a free SSL encryption. Not only does this green validation in the URL give your website visitors more confidence in browsing your site, but Google also gives you credit in search rankings for protecting your website.

The problem you might run into is if your domain was purchased elsewhere, you won’t be able to directly link it with your new host install without taking a few extra steps. You can read more about this process here, or simply contact support and they will be more than happy to guide you through the installation.

For those of you interested, you can watch this short video on how to setup your Dreamhost account and properly link your new hosting service to your domain. Pricing starts at $19.95/month.

Overall Grade = A-

Tier 3WP Engine

hosting providers wpengine

WP Engine is the premier and industry leading service for hosting WordPress websites. It has everything you need: high performance, great customer service, easy to follow documentation, and the ability to meet whatever hosting requirements you are looking for.

If you have an Ecommerce website where people can buy products directly from your website, this is the service you should go with. Its capabilities are unmatched and you will be hardpressed to find a comparable mixture of support and speed.

In addition to 24/7/365 day support, WP Engine makes sure that your hosting is properly configured for your business with real-time security sweeps, free SSL Encryptions, a proprietary caching technology to enhance page speed even more, and a global CDN.

Never again will you have to worry about your WordPress website being compatible with new updates, or stressing over high amounts of usage causing your site to slow down or even go offline for a short period of time.

WP Engine’s pricing starts at $29/mo, and they offer a 60-day, risk-free trial so that you can try it out for yourself with no long term obligations!

Overall Grade = A

Remember, choosing a hosting provider should not be as simple as going with the one you have heard of on TV. Having all of the facts and information about what each one can do, as well as knowing the overall goals and vision of your website, will put you in the best possible position to succeed and not run into problems down the road. If you have any questions about any of the three hosting services above, or if you would like a recommendation or review on another service such as Siteground or Hostgator, feel free to contact me at [email protected].

See you all next time!

December 4, 2017

So what is Small Business Saturday?

This past week (following the actual Small Business Saturday), we met with the social media team from Visit Philly, the largest and most well known media source for all of Philadelphia. The meeting took place in our WeWork office in Center City, and it went incredible well. Below we cover some of the discussion that took place about our main nonprofit initiative known as “Small Business Saturday”.

Well, this idea actually stems from the original Small Business Saturday by American Express where they help promote shopping small the Saturday after Black Friday. Their initiative started back in 2011 as a marketing campaign and a way to give back to local businesses that want to offer local deals the day after Black Friday. Most of these businesses can’t afford to compete with the big box retailers on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so AMEX made a day just for them, and it’s grown organically from there. Below you can see a YouTube video for the 2017 Small Business Saturday promotion. Also, as a small business you can sign up and partner with AMEX to get Free marketing material and support. To me, as an entrepreneur and small business owner, this is incredible….

So I started thinking …..  why stop there? Why just one day per year? We wanted to take this to the next level by helping small local businesses in Philly EVERY Saturday, not just one day a year.  The reason behind this is because, here at Momentum, we truly believe in the American Dream. In fact, most of our services encompass helping small business entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are the backbone of this amazing country!

According to Fundera, small business accounts for 99.7% of all businesses in the US. Crazy right? The problem though, is that these business owners don’t have the time, money or resources to stay competitive in this digital era. The main problem they face is digital marketing. So, that being said, our goal is to highlight, film and promote a small local business in Philly every Saturday, completely for FREE. Not only do we aim to showcase what makes them unique, but we also help promote their business through our own digital and social platforms. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you can see our weekly posts. Our long term goal (Spoiler alert!!!) is to create a massive following on YouTube and Facebook to have this weekly channel where people look forward to and watch out show.

That being said, we do post weekly to YouTube, so PLEASE SUBSCRIBE 🙂
small business saturday youtube

So how and why did you start Small Business Saturday?

So 3 years ago I was working at Google as a consultant for a lot of small businesses, and what I realized was that most of these owners were amazing people with cool companies, but had NO idea how to perfect digital marketing. Consequently, this forced them to spend a lot of money on unsuccessful marketing campaigns. These people weren’t dumb, they just didn’t have time to learn digital marketing. Naturally, as a digital entrepreneur, I asked them about their other marketing and advertising initiatives. Having a small business myself, I was curious if I could help give some advice about their website, SEO, social media, and more. However, this interfered with Google’s agenda and I felt conflicted because I love being able to help other people using my knowledge of digital marketing. After consulting a few people and having conversations with agency owners and entrepreneurs, I realized that I had what it takes to start my own company, a digital marketing agency where we provide this digital momentum for small businesses.

small business saturday

So, not long after I decided to follow my passion and skillset to leave Google and start this agency so that we could truly help the people who need it the most. From there Momentum was born. Having met so many people that previous year, it made starting out a bit easier. I already had a book of leads to call to offer my encompassing digital services and consulting. Now, in order to grow the company we of course have to charge for our services, but a lot of small businesses couldn’t afford us and it was really discouraging. As I grew the agency (I started Momentum in August 2015) I realized I wanted to start an initiative to give back to small businesses for free. In doing so, I knew I would meet and help a lot of great people, while also spreading the name and awareness of Momentum.

So this year we decided to launch a non-profit initiative to dedicate 20% of our time and resources to what we call Small Business Saturday, so that we can help really cool local businesses completely for free.

So how does a business get involved with Momentum?

To be featured on Small Business Saturday all you have to do is reach out to us on our website or social media and just start a conversation. Tell us how you found us and what makes your business unique. We tend to only work small local businesses that really fit the culture as to what this mission stands for, but please don’t hesitate to try. All that we ask in return is that you return the favor by sharing your story by re-posting the video on your social networks, and by also telling another business owner who this could benefit.

Also, a big shoutout to our SBS Leader and Momentum’s content manager, Austin Dunhour, for helping lead this initiative. You can reach me or Austin at the emails and instagram handles below. 

Mac Frederick = [email protected] → @MacFrederick

Austin Dunhour = [email protected]@adun80

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