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Why Every Small Business Needs a Website in 2024 - Jan., 2024


In the digital age, having a website is not a luxury, but a necessity for any small and micro business that wants to grow and succeed. A website is your online storefront, your digital identity, and your most powerful marketing tool. Here are some of the reasons why every small and micro business needs a website in 2024:
 
A website is a must-have for any small and micro business that wants to thrive in 2024. If you need help with creating and managing your website, contact us today and we will be happy to assist you.
 
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Goodbye to Google Websites: Changes Coming March, 2024 - Jan., 2024

As per the recent announcement by Google, the Business.Site websites will be shut down on June 10, 2024. If you are currently using a Business.Site website, it will be redirected to your Google Business Profile (GBP) listing that’s associated with that website starting from March 1, 2024. To ensure that your business website remains accessible to your customers, it is recommended that you switch to a new website provider before the transition, like the locally-owned TMS Digital.
TMS Digital is your local digital marketing agency that specializes in website design and development, SEO, and social media marketing; helping businesses connect with their audience for over 25 years and are consistently ranked as one of North Carolina's top web design and digital marketing companies.
If you currently have a Business.Site and need a reliable and experienced website provider, TMS Digital is the perfect choice. You can schedule a free consultation with our team of experts to discuss your goals and get started on building your new website.
Don't wait until the last minute to make the switch. Contact TMS Digital today to learn more about how we can help you create a new website that meets your business needs and ensures that your customers can continue to find you online.

The takeaways:
 
  • March 1st, 2024, if you have a Business.Site (a Google Website), the content on your “website” will be gone and the URL will redirect to your GBP (which is confusing to people clicking on the website button).
  • June 10th, 2024, the redirect ends and when – not if – someone clicks on the website button on your GBP, your URL and “website” will show as unavailable (which means the potential customer(s) are moving onto the next company)
  • Call TMS Digital to keep from any of this nonsense happening to you and your company.
Book Your Consultation
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Exploring the Importance of Google Business Profiles for Small Businesses in North Carolina - Feb., 2024

As Johnston County's highest reviewed website developer, we strive to help create a Google Business Profile for your North Carolina small business; in the past year, there have been several updates which have kept TMS Digital from being able to fully create, claim, and verify the Google Business Profile on your behalf - like their video verification. Let's take a look at why the verification of a Google Business Profile is essential to any small business in North Carolina:
A Google Business Profile is a free and easy-to-use tool that allows businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. It helps businesses to connect with customers, share information about their products and services, and attract new customers.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are over 900,000 small businesses in North Carolina, accounting for 99.5% of all businesses in the state. With such a large number of small businesses, it’s important to stand out from the competition. A Google Business Profile can help small businesses in North Carolina to do just that.
Here are some reasons why a Google Business Profile is important for small businesses in North Carolina:
 
  • Increased visibility: A Google Business Profile can help small businesses to appear in Google Search and Maps results, making it easier for customers to find them.
  • Improved customer engagement: A Google Business Profile allows businesses to share important information with customers, such as their hours of operation, phone number, and website. It also allows customers to leave reviews and ratings, which can help businesses to improve their products and services.
  • Better search engine optimization (SEO): A Google Business Profile can help small businesses to improve their SEO by providing accurate and up-to-date information about their business. This can help them to rank higher in search results and attract more customers.
  • Free advertising: A Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows businesses to advertise their products and services to potential customers.

  • Creating a Google Business Profile is easy and only takes a few minutes. Simply go to the Google My Business website and follow the instructions to create a profile for your client’s small business. Once the profile is created, make sure to keep it up-to-date with accurate information and respond to customer reviews in a timely manner.
    In conclusion, a Google Business Profile is an important tool for small businesses in North Carolina. It can help businesses to increase their visibility, engage with customers, improve SEO, and advertise their products and services for free.
    Call our team today to learn more: 919-553-9042
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Social Media Management vs Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference and Why It Matters - Mar., 2024

Social media is a powerful tool for any business that wants to reach and engage with its target audience, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and boost sales. However, not all social media activities are the same, and there are two main terms that you need to understand: social media management and social media marketing. In this blog post, we will explain what these terms mean, how they differ, and why they are both important for your business.

What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to promote a product or service. It involves creating and sharing content that is specifically designed to achieve a certain goal, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving traffic, boosting sales, or building customer loyalty. Social media marketing can help you:
 
  • Reach a large and diverse audience and expose them to your brand name, logo, products, and services
  • Establish your brand as an authority and a thought leader in your industry
  • Create a two-way communication with your audience and foster a sense of community and loyalty among them
  • Drive more traffic to your website and landing pages and generate more leads and sales for your business
  • Reduce your marketing expenses; social media marketing options are both affordable and effective

What is Social Media Management?
Social media management is the process of creating, scheduling, publishing, and monitoring content on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, etc. It also involves interacting with your audience, responding to their comments, questions, and feedback, and building relationships with them. Social media management can help you:
 
  • Maintain a consistent and professional online presence for your brand
  • Provide customer service and support to your audience
  • Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Gain insights into your audience’s preferences, needs, and challenges
  • Identify and collaborate with influencers and advocates in your industry
  • Manage your online reputation and handle any negative feedback or crisis

How Do Social Media Management and Social Media Marketing Differ?
Social media management and social media marketing are both essential for any business that wants to grow and succeed in the digital age. However, they are not the same thing, and they require different skills, tools, and strategies. Here are some of the main differences between them:
 
  • Social media management is more focused on creating and maintaining a positive and engaging online presence for your brand, while social media marketing is more focused on creating and executing campaigns that drive specific results for your business.
  • Social media management is more about building and nurturing relationships with your audience, while social media marketing is more about influencing your audience to take a desired action.
  • Social media management is more of an ongoing and long-term process, while social media marketing can be a short-term and goal-oriented process.
  • Social media management requires more creativity, communication, and customer service skills, while social media marketing requires more analytical, strategic, and data-driven skills.

Do You Need Both Social Media Management and Social Media Marketing?
Social media management and social media marketing are not mutually exclusive, but complementary. You need both of them to create a holistic and effective social media strategy for your business. Here are some of the reasons why you should remain active across social platforms as well as invest in a social media marketing campaign:
 
  • Social media management can help you build a solid foundation for your social media marketing efforts, as it can help you create a loyal and engaged audience that is more likely to respond to your marketing campaigns.
  • Social media marketing can help you leverage your social media management efforts, as it can help you reach a wider and more targeted audience that is more likely to convert into leads and customers.
  • Social media management can help you optimize your social media marketing efforts, as it can help you monitor and analyze your social media performance, evaluate your results, and identify what worked well and what needs improvement.
  • Social media marketing can help you amplify your social media management efforts, as it can help you create and share more valuable and relevant content that showcases your brand value proposition and differentiates you from your competitors.

Social media management and social media marketing are both vital for your business success. If you need help with creating and managing your social media strategy, contact us today and we will be happy to assist you.
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Y2K is Back in 2024 - Mar., 2024

Hey all you 90s kids, this one’s for you! We’re already a quarter into 2024, and we’re seeing a resurgence of a trend that’s as nostalgic as it is futuristic: the Y2K effects in web design. It’s a throwback to the days when the internet was a new frontier, and now, it’s being reimagined.
Y2K Aesthetics – A Blast from the Past Meets the Future The Y2K aesthetic is a visual homage to the turn of the millennium—a time when the world was brimming with neon colors, geometric shapes, a sense of wonder about the future, and fanny packs…  Today, web designers are tapping into this rich vein of nostalgia, blending the old with the new to create web experiences that are both familiar and fresh.
Why the Y2K Revival? There’s something about the Y2K era that captures the imagination. Ahh, I can just hear the buzz of dial up just writing this. Whatever the reason, the Y2K aesthetic is making waves across various areas, from fashion to graphic design, and now, web design.
Key Elements of Y2K Web Design:
 
The Future is Retro: As we embrace the Y2K effects web trend for 2024, we’re not just looking back—we’re also looking forward. This trend is more than just a revival; it’s a redefinition of what it means to be modern. It’s a reminder that the future is not just about new technology but also about the emotions and memories that technology evokes.
So, whether you’re a 90s kid or not, the Y2K web trend is a celebration of the past and a vision of the future, all rolled into one. Get ready to see more websites that dazzle with a digital aesthetic that’s both retro and radically new. Welcome to 2024, where the past is present, and the future is now.
 
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Why Hire a Web Design Company When I Can Get a "Free" Website From [Insert DIY Company Name Here]? - Apr., 2024

Free website services might sound appealing, but the reality is they often come with hidden costs. You might get a few basic pages hosted on their platform, but to have a truly independent website with your own domain name, a unique design, analytics, removal of the builder name from the URL, and removal of ads - all require additional fees. Often, these fees add up to more than what you'd pay with a low-cost hosting company that provides those features from the start.

Not only that, but, at the risk of sounding crass, there’s a reason each of us are in business. You’re not a web designer. If you were a web designer, you’d have your own digital marketing company. You'd be the one writing this blog. But you’re not a website developer; you’ve perfected your craft. By trying to also be the head of digital marketing at your company, you’re taking away valuable time from your company which could be better spent speaking with customers, replying to customers & reviews, headed to appointments, and most importantly, time spent figuring out & keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends leads to time spent away from your family.

Okay, so why choose TMS Digital over the rest?

Sure, we’re not the cheapest – but we also don’t want to be the cheapest. We’re also definitely not the most expensive in town. Our pricing can be as low as a cup of coffee per day from the nearest Speedway or upward of the daily Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks. Some of our “competitors” in the area having the Starbucks analogy as their starting price… So why the difference in price? You might expect better customer service from the more expensive options, but that's not always true. At TMS Digital, we're a small, locally-owned business with lower overhead costs. This allows us to offer competitive pricing without sacrificing on personalized service. We may not have a 24-hour customer service line like some large companies (but let's be honest, “customer service” is kind of an oxymoron when it comes to these big guys), but you'll always be working with a dedicated professional right here in North Carolina.

If you're looking for a cost-effective website solution with a human touch, contact our team at info@tmsdigi.com or 919-553-9042 and let's discuss your needs.

 
Let's Discuss
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What's the Point of a Maintenance Plan for Your Small Business Website - Apr., 2024

Every so often, we find ourselves being asked “How much for you to just build it?”
To which, we respond with the following:
A) If you’re going to do something, do it right; leading us to...
B) It does you no good to have a website with no ongoing maintenance.
Having a maintenance plan for your website is crucial for several reasons:


Security: Regular maintenance ensures that security patches and updates are applied promptly. Vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers, leading to data breaches or other security issues.

Performance: Over time, websites accumulate unnecessary information and outdated code. Regular maintenance optimizes performance by cleaning up and streamlining resources.

SEO: Search engines favor well-maintained sites. Regular updates, fresh content, and responsive design contribute to better search engine rankings.

User Experience: Broken links, slow loading times, or outdated content frustrate users. Maintenance ensures a smooth experience, improving user satisfaction and retention.

So when we get asked “Why can’t you just build it?” think about this:
You wouldn’t purchase a car and never bring it in for an oil change, would you?
You wouldn’t get a plant and never water it, would you? Or at least, if you did either of those things, you wouldn’t expect the car to run well and don’t expect that plant to live long - even cacti need water.

A maintenance plan safeguards your website’s security, enhances performance, boosts SEO, and provides a positive user experience.
Book online today or give us a call to learn more about making the most of your digital presence:

919-553-9042
 
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Branding v. Marketing v. Advertising
What's the Difference?
- May, 2024

As a small business owner, navigating the world of promotion can be confusing. While often used interchangeably, marketing, branding, and advertising are distinct tools with unique roles:

Marketing: This is the big picture. It's the overall strategy of promoting and selling your products or services. It involves understanding your target audience, their needs, and developing ways to reach them effectively. Marketing encompasses a wide range of activities, from research and content creation to email marketing and social media engagement.

Branding: This is your business's personality. It's crafting a unique identity that sets you apart from competitors. This includes defining your values, mission, and visual elements (logo, colors, etc.). Branding builds trust and recognition, making customers remember and connect with your business.

Advertising: This is the paid promotion of your brand. It involves creating and placing ads on various platforms like TV, radio, social media, and search engines. Advertising aims to generate awareness, interest, and ultimately, sales for your products or services.

While distinct, these concepts are interconnected:

 
  • Marketing forms the foundation: It provides insights into your target audience and helps define your brand identity.
  • Branding shapes advertising: Your brand messaging and visuals guide the creation of effective and memorable ads.
  • All work together: To succeed, your marketing strategy, brand, and advertising campaigns need to be aligned and work in unison.

Understanding these differences and how they work together is crucial for small businesses. By utilizing these tools effectively, you can create a strong brand, reach your target audience, and ultimately achieve your business goals.

The Importance of Listing Management & Why it Matters to Your Small Business - May, 2024

Domain, check. 
Website, check. 
Website maintenance, check. 
Listing management, check.  Maybe? If you haven’t yet invested in our listing management (aka Local SEO) service, it’s probably time you do. If you’re already capitalizing in Local SEO, we’re just going to do a little recap here of the importance of listing management and the benefits this service presents for your small business.

Imagine your small business like a hidden gem in a crowded city. Listing management is like putting up signs all over town pointing people towards your store. Here's why it's important:

 
  • Helps people find you: When your business information (name, address, phone number) is listed accurately across various online directories (think Google Maps, HotFrog, Yellow Pages, etc.), it's like putting up multiple signs saying "Hey, I'm here!". This makes it easier for potential customers searching for businesses like yours to discover you.
 
  • Boosts your credibility: The more consistent your business information is across different platforms, the more reliable you appear to search engines and customers alike. It's like having multiple people vouching for your existence and legitimacy.
 
  • Improves your search ranking: Search engines like Google use citations to understand your business better and determine where you should rank in local search results. So, the more accurate and widespread your citations are, the higher your business might appear when people search for businesses like yours in their area.
 
  • Drives more traffic and customers: By being easily found online, you increase the chances of people visiting your website, calling you, or coming to your physical location. It's like having more people following those signs to your hidden gem!


Simply, listing management, aka citation management, aka local or off-page SEO, is a crucial part of online marketing for small businesses. It helps you get discovered, build trust, and ultimately attract more customers.
Contact our team today to learn more about our Local SEO services.

Don't Rent Your Online Presence: The Power of Organic Search  - June, 2024


Building a strong online presence is crucial for businesses today, and organic search offers a powerful set of tools to achieve that:
 
  • Sustainable Growth: Forget short-term bursts of traffic. Organic search fuels long-term visibility that keeps your website attracting visitors.
 
  • Smarter Investment: SEO requires effort – and often a robust budget – but it pays off. Compared to the volatile costs of paid ads, organic search offers a more cost-effective approach in the long run.
 
  • Building Trust: People trust organic results more than paid ads; a whopping 94% of online consumers skip over paid ads! Ranking high in organic search renders your business as a reliable source, leading to more clicks and conversions.
 
  • Attract the Right Audience: No more scattershot marketing. Organic ranking helps you target consumers actively searching for what you offer, ensuring you get high-quality leads genuinely interested in your products or services.
 
  • Dominate Your Niche: Consistent SEO propels you to the top of search results, leaving competitors behind. Become the go-to authority in your industry and watch your business thrive.


If you’re looking to build trust with your consumers, rank higher in search results, and gain more traffic and visibility for your business, give TMS Digital a call today for your complimentary SEO audit.