Company Social Media Records Required For Litigation – Are Yours Easily Accessible?

It may be time to start collectively gathering and indexing all your social data.


Meet the ETHOS Rating—A new, unbiased quality scale for loan officer performance


Ethics. Everyone has them, whether we’ve consciously established them or not. Even if people come from similar backgrounds or cultures, their ethics are going to vary in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

We get the English word from the Greek word “ethos,” which translates to mean “character” or “credibility.” The extended concept speaks to a person’s overall morality (usually in a positive context)—plus the reputation a person has for acting in an ethical manner. Has their life…has their work…been ethical? Do people recognize him or her for adhering to positive standards such as integrity, quality, and knowledgeable service?

In the same way, within the mortgage industry, loan officers are expected to adhere to a high level of excellence and ethics. Their job is to serve the consumers seeking help with their mortgage. But just like everyone might hold to variable ethics, loan officers aren’t ever quite the same from one to the next. Where one client might encounter excellent communication and speedy filing turnaround with one loan officer, that same client could struggle with poor accuracy and slow response times with another.

How can consumers know beforehand what their experience with a particular loan officer might be?

Introducing…the ETHOS Rating! Thanks to our comprehensive (and growing) database of loan officers, we’ve empowered consumers to provide highly detailed feedback on their experiences with loan officers from across the country. Using the info they provide, we’re then able to cull unique data-points pertaining to each loan officer in our registry and assign them a calculated rating that reflects their performance in essential areas.

Thanks to such consumer-driven reviews, we’re able to offer a rating that is:

  • Unbiased – All loan officers undergo the same algorithmic analysis. We don’t play favorites!
  • Informative – Consumers can see how loan officers rate in areas such as communication, turnaround times, responsiveness, accuracy, and overall experience.
  • Accessible – We make it easy for laypeople to understand a loan officer’s 1-5 star rating and how it relates to their industry background.

These ratings can then directly help consumers make informed decisions when seeking a loan officer’s services in the future. So if you’ve had experience (either positive or negative) with any loan officers before, search them out on our review and recommendation platform and be sure to provide your honest opinion. The more feedback we get, the more accurate our ETHOS ratings will become!

Visit for more info

Step by Step Guide to Flawless On-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the process of optimizing specific sections of your site content to make it more clear for users and search engines. The goal is to have any given page of your site — from top to bottom — be aligned with a certain topic. And as someone who is in charge of optimizing your company’s site, it is your responsibility that all of your site components meet both a user’s and search engine’s demands.

That’s … a lot of responsibility. How the heck does a marketer get started and actually do all of that? Well, we created a handy dandy Excel template to walk you through the entire process.

Our SEO Template will guide you through the process of optimizing your website’s on-page SEO — that includes “doing” SEO, but also formulizing a plan, making it easier to coordinate pages and keywords, and tracking changes and results all in one place. The components of the template allow you to plan your SEO in advance, and to either implement everything step-by-step, or pass the whole thing off to someone else to easily execute.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, this blog post is going to make it even more awesome, because it’s going to walk you through how to use that template. Consider this your owner’s manual! So let’s get started… download the free Excel SEO template here to follow along and learn how to use it to improve your site’s SEO.

How to Use Your On-Page SEO Template

(Note: is being used as an example throughout this post. It’s serving as an arbitrary example that serves to make the implementation easier for you — you can imagine your own website in these examples if that makes the process clearer!)

Step 1: Crawl Your Site

Start by getting an overview of all of your content by downloading all indexed pages of your website. A free tool like Xenu’s link crawler can give you an export of all of your pages, which can serve as an audit of your site that delivers all the pages you’ll need to optimize.

xenu site index export

The output will include some data that you do not need. You will, however, want to keep 3 of these columns: The address (which is the URL), the title (which is the page title of your pages) and the description (which is the page description). Delete all the other information to make the Excel sheet more user-friendly. Then copy and paste over the address, title and description into the template. The address should be pasted into column B, the title into column C, and the description into column E.

Step 2: Define Site Architecture

Now that you have a basic index of your site pasted into the template, you’ll want to start to organize and prioritize your content. You can start by defining where within your site architecture pages currently sit. Note whether a page is your home page (ideally you’ll only have one of those), or an internal page — and if so, what kind of internal page.

seo template defining site architecture

Step 3: Update URLs, Page Titles, and Descriptions

Review your current URLs, Page Titles and Descriptions to see if they need updating. This is part of the point of using a template like this, so you get a larger overview of the type of content you have on your website.

calculating page title and description length

Notice how column D and column F automatically calculate the length of each element. The recommended length for page titles is 70 characters. Actually, a quick and easy optimization project is to update all page titles that are longer than 70 characters or repetitively use keywords.

The recommended length for page descriptions is 150 characters. Make sure you’re not too repetitive with keywords in this space. Ideally, this is a sentence that you would use to describe that page to a person in conversation, too.

(Note: For some sites you may have to also update the URLs, but that is not always the case and thus was not included as part of this optimization template.)

Step 4: Establish a Value Proposition

A very important next step, but often overlooked, is establishing a value proposition. In column G, define what the purpose of a page — and ultimately, your website — is. The page itself should have a goal aside from just ranking for a particular term.

describe the imageStep 5: Define Your Target Audience

In column H, you have the chance to define who you are targeting. In other words, who is your target audience? Is it one, or multiple, buyer personas? Everything you’re doing while you write and optimize your content is for this person or group of people. Remember, you are optimizing for humans, not just robots.

content must have a target audience

Step 6: Plan Page Titles

Using the template, you can note/plan what you want your new page title to be for a particular page. Best practice for page titles is something like “Keyword Phrase | Context.” The goal of the page title is to lay out the purpose of the page without being redundant or over-optimizing this space.

plan for new page titles in seo template

Step 7: Add Your Page Description

Your page description should be a short, declarative sentence that incorporates your keyword, as you laid it out in your page title, in some form. It should not have content verbatim as it appears on the page itself.

plan for new page descriptions in seo template

Step 8: Track Keywords and Topics for Each Page

Keywords are important, so you will want to note and track clear topics/keywords for each of your pages. Think of your target keyword as the designated topic for a particular page. Define just one topic per page — this allows you to go more in-depth and provide really detailed information. This also means that you are only optimizing for one keyword per page.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule. Your home page is a classic example — the goal of your home page is to explain what your entire website is about, and thus you’ll need a few keywords to do that. Another exception is overview pages like services and product pages, which outline what all of your products and services may be.

keep track of target keywords as you optimize

Step 9: Review and Edit Page Content as Needed

Good content needs to be thorough, clear, and provide solutions. So be compelling! Write for your target audience. Write about how you can help them. Compelling content is also error free, so check your spelling and grammar. Aim to have at least 500 words per page, and format content to make it easier to read and digest with the use of headers and subheaders. Columns O-Q can be used for you to keep track of changes that you’ve made or note which changes need to be implemented.

content is the most important part of seo

Step 10: Incorporate Visual Content

Content can be more than just text. Think about what kind of visual content you can incorporate into a page (if it adds value and serves a purpose, of course). Columns R-U allow you to note what media elements need to be added. The more engaging you can make your content, the more likely people are to stay on your page longer, and share and talk about your content.

visual content like images are important too

Step 11: Link It Up

Incorporating links throughout content is a must, but something that’s easily overlooked. Consider this to be part of polishing your content. Use columns V-X to plan for these elements if you don’t already have them… or to at least spruce them up.

social and linking are also important in seo

Be sure to include the latest sharing networks like Pinterest and Google+, too. While not that new, both have proven to be highly valuable in search and can improve overall click through rates on your search results.

You may have noticed that we recommend you make anchor text less keyword-centric (don’t use an exact match). This is an important change that has evolved with recent Google Algorithm updates, so make sure that your anchor text include more than just your keywords. Simply incorporate relevant text surrounding that keyword as part of that anchor text, and you should be all set.

Step 12: Optimize for Conversions

SEO has no point if you’re not optimizing your site to increase the amount of leads, subscribers, or fans. Columns Y-AG allow you to plan for conversions. Every page of your website is a conversion opportunity. That means every page of your website should include at least 1 call-to-action, though many pages may have multiple calls-to-action. When possible, include a CTA at each stage of the buying funnel — top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel. As you add, edit, or update CTAs, be sure to also note conversion rate changes.

seo optimize for leads and conversions

Once you finalize your SEO plans, implement these changes on your website or pass them along to someone to implement for you. This will take time to complete, so aim to work on 5-10 pages a week. The template ultimately is something that you can use whether you are doing SEO for the first time, or the tenthousandth. It keeps everything in one place and lets you track all of your changes, too, which is important because SEO is not a once and done deal.


Source: Hubspot

Download Free Excel Spreadsheet Guide Here

What is OmniChannel?

Defining omnichannel and the value of the omniscient customer experience.

In marketing and technology you often know that something is still new when you can’t find one unanimous way to spell it. Ecommerce, eCommerce, e-commerce – remember those days? We now find Omni-channel, omnichannel and omni channel across the web, each attached to prestigious brand and pundit thinking. Instead of arguing about the correct spelling, we just see it an indicator of something new and yet to be decided by the masses. By no means is the concept under-noted or fledgling. And, as with most things that are new, there are still developing ideas.

Omni comes from the word Omnis which can mean all or universal. This is in comparison to other categories out there, like “multichannel”, from the Latin word Multus, meaning multiple or many and from crosschannel, derived from the Latin word Crux, meaning to go across. The way that many are explaining omnichannel today is: ‘cross channel being done well’. Examples are often that the mobile app should match the responsive design of the website which should thematically reflect the look and feel inside the store. We’d argue that doing cross channel well with the user in mind, is not worthy (nor useful) enough to  deserve a new category. Instead, we hold the belief that Omnichannel is something new and notable, even revolutionary, not just a marginal evolution of existing thinking.

Great, so now that we’ve stated that omnichannel is being used merely as a buzzword for crosschannel with finesse – what is  omnichannel? Omnichannel is about true continuity of your experience. But what’s key is that it extends beyond a single brand’s universe. Being omniscient is perceiving and understanding all things.  Not all things at Best Buy. Not all things at Target. Not all things at Gucci. Omni is perceiving all things. And the best way for a customer to perceive everything is to allow them to own their data and experience, then give them the ability to use it to guide creation and context of every future experience.

Think about it. Today our life is continuous, but our customer experience is anything but that. We learn and have memory of all the good and bad things in life. We strive to limit or eliminate the negative ones and increase the good. These patterns that we strive to replicate are our preferences. The ability to have a continuous experience across brands, across format and across devices that is completely bespoke – that is the promise of a new way of thinking and marketing that has been long unnoticed.

Myriad examples abound. I’m shopping for shoes. I go online. I see things I like and I save them in my Burtons account. I leave the website and go to Westfield to hit the shops. I walk in the door and I have no way to easily use my Burtons experience in an Office shoe store. I see some shoes at Office, then I end up going to Top Shop where I start fresh looking at what is in front of me in the moment. I can give 100 more examples of how my investment of time in research offline and online is a fragmented experience with some tools to make it more coordinated, but only within the bounds of a single brand. Which would be fine if I only shopped for shoes my entire life at Burtons. But the vast majority of the population likes to browse and compare to see what else is out there and once that happens, the ease and functionality of my omnichannel experience crumbles.

But wait you say, you can’t be suggesting that Burton’s help people buy shoes in Office. That would be counter to everything retailers try to do.  The idea that retailers can stop people from shopping across brands or devices is mocked each time a bar code was scanned in a store to check competitors’ pricing.

When brands think customer experience they need to think omni. Its not about your customers or theircustomers, its about all customers.

With the rise of NFC and personal device use in store, brands need to awake to the idea that the days of closed data and 75% off for loyalty points from only shopping at their brand are changing quickly. If a brand wants to start thinking omnichannel, then they need to be open and involved in making the customer’s experience continuous and universal. Have doubts? Look at the role of social media and customer relationship. Remember those brands who have refused to evolve and engage and have a dialogue? Many of them aren’t with us today.

As much as the social media revolution has meant the two-way exchange in dialogue and interaction, omnichannel is the realization of social business. If the first phase in the evolution of the customer relationship was messaging and media, the future is product research, selection and payment. With personal prefence data that can be used universally on devices, brand can either jump at the opportunities made real by omnichannel or wait until their brand is the only one not integrated and playing nicely to allow consumers to be continuous.

The brands who can best interpret omnichannel data and understand all customers are the winners. There will be a new dimension of customer decision. As a final decision is being made to purchase, price, relationship, service and continuity will all be considered.

If you’re thinking that matching the colors and content across devices is omnichannel, we would encourage you to reconsider. If you are ready to lead in the next phase of social business and get the most out of the promise that our new identity as customers is truly omniscient, then let’s connect. This way of thinking is the future promise on which we founded CloudTags.

There are a few key tennets that to acknowledge in order for this idea to be made reality:

  1. In exploring and discovering products in your brand domain that data should be transferable for me to collect and use universally.
  2. In exchange for this data, the customer will give you access to other data they have collected that will far outweigh the value of the limited data in your brand universe.
  3. All experiences offline and online should allow an individual to identify themselves and present a brand with the opportunity to access my preferences.

Ride With Cox Race Recap – Mt. Borah Epic 5/31/14


Dearest interweb,

First and foremost, thank you for all the positive feedback and inquiries regarding Ride With Cox.  The Facebook page has recieved a lot of likes and shares with our month of #RideWithCox   which has been incredible.  Keep posting, sharing, and liking!  It’s a pleasure and honor to have the support of Cox Motors of New Richmond, Osceola Auto Sales in Osceola, WI, and 1:16 Digital Media in Stillwater, MN.

For those that read Mt. Borah Epic and subsequently made this face:

bored owlI would like to explain what this event is.  It is an annual mountain bike race that takes place between Cable and Hayward, WI.  It’s a beat down, it’s rough, and it’s long.  34 miles to be exact. 34 miles of rocks, roots, climbing, descending, and negotiating.

I have a problem.  I constantly think I’m in better shape than I am.  I still have the mentality that I…

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