All posts by Jake Layton

Lunasin- New Strides in ALS Research @LunaSmart

Check out Web-Op’s new Lunasin product, LunaSmart, here!

It’s often said that ALS is one of the cruelest diseases ever to exist. Quiet and often so subtle it’s initially disregarded as “fatigue,” a cure has yet to be discovered. Patient care to date mainly consists of therapies and treatments focused on lessening pain and prolonging lifespan. Physical therapies, experimental medications, and even (in its late stage) ventilators and feeding tubes can help, but ultimately ALS is terminal in all save for a few exceptional cases.

Modern medicine is incredible, however, and there’s been some good news as of late. The hugely popular “Ice Bucket Challenge” of the previous year raised millions of dollars for ALS research, with 87% of funds going directly to research, as well as patient and community services. In June of 2016, the University of Massachusetts Medical School announced that money raised by the challenge allowed their researchers to discover a gene called NEK1, the third to directly cause the disease.

Additionally, new research shows a promising link between the reduction of ALS symptoms and a peculiar little peptide molecule called lunasin. It was first isolated and identified in 1987, but its exact purpose puzzled scientists for years. Found naturally in soy, lunasin’s unique properties weren’t known until relatively recently, when a team of researchers led by Professor Ben O. de Lumen, Ph.D. of the Dept. of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, Berkeley started testing in 1999. As it turns out, the lunasin peptide seems to slow- and in some cases even reverse- the progression of muscle weakening indicative of ALS.

Until very, very recently, the lunasin molecule was prohibitively expensive to synthesize. This made studying its properties difficult, until a method was developed to extract lunasin directly from white soybean flake- a byproduct of soy production already widely used to produce soy flours, meals, and similar commodities.1 With the widespread availability of soy, studying lunasin suddenly became a whole lot easier.

In 2013, a man named Mike McDuff started a regimen of the peptide after a 2012 ALS diagnosis.2 His quality of life rapidly declined after the disease was identified. He could no longer walk, raise his arms, or even eat on his own. Speaking became an ordeal. Three months after the lunasin regimen, however, McDuff started to notice the impossible- improvement. Not much, mind you, but inch by inch, little by little Mike McDuff has regained the ability to eat on his own and speak clearly again. Other patients have shown promise as well, bringing some much-needed hope to an otherwise bleak subject.

Today, ongoing studies hope to positively confirm what many have already observed.3 Much, much work is needed before lunasin can be considered an official treatment for ALS. Studies lead to trials, trials lead to more trials and federal involvement, so it’s bound to be a long road. Progress takes time, but it seems research is moving in the right direction. Fingers crossed.

1. SOURCE
2. SOURCE
3. SOURCE

Customer Lifetime Value

“Anything worth selling is worth selling twice.”

-Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #12

Big data rules everything. With a large enough sample size, sellers and marketers can glean just about any piece of information they could ever want out of datasets. This one aspect of online sales- data collection- is a key tenet of the industry, allowing companies to tighten their marketing efforts, save money where it’s being wasted, and anticipate results, including costs and revenue, well in advance.

Perhaps the single biggest roadblock separating retail sales from online is that in a majority of cases, branded products are provided to brick-and-mortar stores from outside vendors. Because of this, vendors selling products inside often aren’t privy to data collected. All of that information (names, purchase dates, reorder rates, etc) goes to the store, and transactions are processed through the store’s own processors. It’s a closed system, and retail vendors are often left in the dark with only the number of products sold, accompanied by very basic gross/net revenue information. Business decisions are then made based on such broad, general data, leading to slow growth or even worse.

This means that online sellers have a major advantage, in knowing both their audience’s “Cost Per Acquisition” or CPA, and their “Customer Lifetime Value,” or CLV. CPA versus CLV is an enormous component of the online marketing industry, so let’s break it down here.

Every cost associated with a customer making a purchase online is known as the CPA. Advertising spending, cost of a click that led to a sale, operating costs, and even staff wages factor into the CPA, all neatly wrapped up into a dollar amount. Let’s say our intrepid test customer Mike buys a product from us, paying $50 to have it delivered straight to his doorstep.

Mike found us by searching Google and clicking an ad link, and that click cost us $25. Add in the rest of the associated costs, and Mike’s purchase ended up costing our company $75 total, leading to the Mike’s sale losing $25 overall. NEGATIVE $25 therefore becomes Mike’s CLV up until this point.

Sounds bad, right? Well we consider that $75 Mike’s CPA. Now with all of the time and effort and funds spent acquiring Mike as a customer, he’s become loyal to our company (and with data collected per sale we can see each time he orders), and chooses to purchase our product from us regularly. Each time he does, that adds to Mike’s CLV, and we can watch it grow with each purchase. Over the course of the time Mike is a customer, he spends $2000 total. Mike’s CLV jumps to $1975, and over time with the proper data collection, we see enormous profits taken from just the one customer. It’s why Amazon sells its famed Kindle at hardware cost- to build CLV- and it’s brilliant.

If we didn’t have that data available to us, we wouldn’t be able to see CLV and CPA, potentially causing our business to treat customers simply as yet another order number. With these figures here, we can see that keeping loyal customers loyal reaps great rewards. There are a few things we can do to “bump up” customers like Mike’s CLV, as well! Well-targeted email marketing and drip campaigns can be hugely successful in retaining customers, as can marketing on social media! Remarketing, or specifically-targeted marketing aiming to have customers reorder, is another successful tactic often used online.

Just think. Having this data available means that we CAN take advantage of it. We can see just who reordered when, because of what specific piece of marketing. What does this mean? Increased effectiveness. Higher profits overall. The ability to keep customers coming back for more. And all of this means more success for your business.

Think about it. We know WE did.

What is SEO, and How Is It Done?

Online marketing can be an intimidating beast. There’s a lot to think about. You’ve got to ask yourself lots of questions, just about constantly. Am I getting the right kind of customer response? Am I targeting the right audience for me? Is my message effective? All of these and many more in a vast variety of contexts and situations come up when running a business.

To run your business the best you can, you only hire employees qualified to do the job, right? That’s where an SEO company comes in. SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization” firms fulfill the “online marketing” role much like a veteran cashier, a professional driver, or an experienced accountant would at their own specialized place in a company.

If you’re intimidated by the online marketing and SEO world, just remember, at Web-Op we’re here to help! With our knowledgeable, diverse team of industry experts and world-class standards and practices, Web-Op exists to fill that exact role; and  we’ll stun your target audiences with hard-hitting, relevant techniques.

SEO?

Now you may ask, “What is SEO, exactly?” Good question, let’s run it down for you. Web-Op focuses on a group of tasks relating to optimizing your online message. We build cutting-edge, beautifully functional websites, optimize existing websites, drum up business and marketing, maintain advertising projects, manage social media, and even maintain and support your sites and marketing processes.

Development

Let’s talk about websites, shall we? These days it seems like everyone and their aunt is a “web developer.” Sure, it’s good to know a little HTML, to use templates and tinker with some code, but if you want truly creative, modern work done from the ground up by a group of experts, wouldn’t you go that route?

Need reliable code that works? We’ve got your back. Need striking visuals that don’t just look good, but WORK well too? Give us a call. You have multiple business locations and want to reflect that with location-dependent sites? Sure, no problem. Custom content? Haven’t we talked about this? We’ve got you. We do the whole shebang, from the ground up. It means we know our work, and we know how to maintain it. Period.

 

SEO Auditing

Don’t stress, I know, getting word of an “audit” raises my blood pressure too. In this case, however, you’re definitely gonna want a full audit of your website from our team. It’s a truly beneficial thing to have done. We dig deep, working through each line of code and checking that they’re the most compatible with major search engines (think Google, Bing, etc.) that they can possibly be.

We’ll pry into title tags and meta information, making sure that geotagging and keywords are correct and displaying properly. We’ll vet your contact information so customers find accurate information when searching, and make all numbers and email forms clickable. One or more analytical measures like Google Analytics, Cyfe, or Nuvi will be used to create a map of our efforts, allowing us to show quantitative improvements at the drop of a hat.

 

Seems like a lot, right? We’ll even handle the mobile development and ensure all of our sites display on a huge range of devices, from the newest iPhone or Android to the clunkiest old tablets.

 

Linking and Listing

Who doesn’t like alliteration? Anyway, making sure your business is at the top of Google, at the top of Bing, is way up on the priority tree for us. Modern internet usage has become a searching game. The majority of traffic flows through these sophisticated engines, and they’re constantly evolving to improve the quality and relevance of what’s shown after a search. Hence, we do what we do best and get you up there, right at the top.

It’s more important than you may think, especially in the case of Google. The “Google My Business” listings allow customers and marketing targets to see reviews, contact information, and more. That first impression really matters, and Web-Op is here to make sure you make a good one.

 

Online Image Cleanup

Your online image is a big part of business, for sure. And it’s important that when a potential customer is out there searching for YOUR company, the right information shows up. Depending on how your company already exists online, this might be a pretty tough to impossible job. However your online situation, we can do our best to make sure correct, factual information is displayed on the web.

 

Social Media

More often than not, clients, customers, people all alike are using social media to interacting with friends, family, and businesses. Social media’s extremes can be serious- they can make or break a business. With an inadvertently offensive tweet or irrelevant posting on a Facebook or Linkedin account, you could see a detriment to business.

Companies are public facing, and Web-Op works to control and manage your company’s social media accounts with veteran expertise. We make sure to target the right customers, engage them, and convert them through relevant content; and we do it all while keeping you informed on progress, statistics, and analytical data.

Do you have a blog? Need copy written? Content edited? Our award-winning in-house writing and editing team can masterfully create custom content designed with proven techniques for drawing in more business, managing posting schedules and style. We’re good at what we do, so let us do it for you.

 

Advertising

That’s right, we handle advertising too. After all, what good is content and design when you don’t have traffic? It’s like putting a billboard in the middle of the desert. Our marketing experts will manage your social media, Google, and email advertising campaigns for you, and grow the traffic YOU converting. We’re professional at catering messages to the right clientele, and we know how to create messages that pack a punch and drive conversions with an emphasis on making and drawing repeat customers.

 

Offline Design

Web-Op is fairly unique in the industry, in that we incorporate a physical design team into the mix. Not only can we create your online image from the ground up, we can revamp and design packaging, mailers, and labels to compliment your targeted message.

 

We’ve handled sachets, bottles, tubes, canisters, and labels for all of them. We’ve done mailers, cards, posters, convention-booth sized sheets, and more. Even display packaging, like gorgeous boxes and tubs- yep, we can do that too. If your branding and marketing requirements include these sorts of things, we’ve got you more than covered. No need to hire a second agency solely for packaging design again!

 

How To Be A Good Client

 

Trust us, this isn’t the kind of business relationship you fire and forget. We don’t ignore you ‘til the monthly due dates; in fact, the SEO business requires a tight relationship between client and firm. It’s necessary that communication is often, and accurate. We’ll do our part, here’s a few tips that can help you do yours.

 

  1. We appreciate timely replies. Within an hour is better than within a day, within a day is better than within a week and so on. This helps your project stay as relevant and efficient as it can be, and we’ll reply often within the hour with any inquiries or updates. Do us both a favor and “don’t be a stranger.”
  2. Let us know everything. In order to actually help audit and build your business, we need to know how it runs, what’s involved, who is who, and all the possible information you can give us about it. Products, pictures, descriptions, ideas, mottos; if you have it, it will help us provide the most accurate service we possibly can.
  3. Don’t forget your offline image. It’s important for our online efforts to reflect and connect with your offline events. Bring those two things together, and baby, you’ve got a stew going. Customers love a seamless interface between real-world events and their online habits, and we’ll help you give it to them.

 

Conclusion

I should hope that now it’s a little more clear, then, what exactly an SEO company does. We’re experts in helping you manage your image, primarily online but with the talent and ability to do so offline as well. It’s not something to stress about, but it does take a certain amount of commitment and reliability to accomplish, so let us help you present the best company you possibly can.
You wouldn’t hire the least qualified to do a job, so why would you hire just any tired old SEO firm? Let Web-Op show you what we’ve got. You won’t be disappointed.