A MAN'S GUIDE ON HOW TO-5

Does your website need a face lift? Sometimes it’s hard to know when to tweak little things on your website here and there, and when to pull the trigger on rebuilding it from scratch. How do you know which to choose? Here are some questions to ask yourself before you take the plunge.

Sometimes whether you need a new website or not is a no-brainer. Sometimes, it’s not so easy to figure out. Here are two of the top reasons you should press pause and hold off on your website redesign:

Reasons not to get a re-design:

  • You’re bored. We get it. We really do! Boredom with your current website (or websiteboredomitis) is a very real thing that afflicts lots of businesses. However, if your website is performing well, bringing in a steady flow of leads, reflects your brand accurately, functions, and is up to date, boredom isn’t a good reason to change it. It may change the impact of your SEO (in a bad way), the effectiveness of your lead-generation, and it can come with a pretty hefty price tag. If your website works efficiently and is up-to-date, don’t change your website. Your resources are better spent elsewhere.
  • You changed your mind. Sometimes you’re presented with several options that result in you second-guessing your initial choice. Should you have gone with the light teal or the sea foam green for your sub headers? Answer: whatever you already picked. Once again, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. You’ll risk wasting precious money, time, and resources. Invest your energy somewhere that’ll help your bottom line.

It boils down to this: does your site work well for all devices? Is it up to date/relevant? Great! Sit back and watch it do its job and make you money.

Now that you know what makes a bad reason to get a website redesign, here are some signs you should take that next step towards a re-design.

Reasons to get a complete re-design:

  • Is your website older than 3 years? If you answered “yes” to this question, chances are pretty good that your website isn’t in optimal condition. Technology and trends change at the speed of sound, and 3 years is the equivalent of 10 years in internet time. It’s important for your website to be fully relevant and modern in order for you to keep up with competitors. New functions and micro experiences are being added to websites every day, and if your website looks like it’s from the dark ages, people will notice.
  • Does your website function well on mobile devices? It’s incredibly important for your website to have a user-friendly interface for smartphones and tablets. After all, 4 out of 5 people use their smartphones to make online purchases! Don’t believe me? Check this out.
  • Does your website agree with your brand identity and target market? If your branding has changed at all since your website was last updated, it might be time for a redesign. Your brand should be consistent across every channel (every color and font, etc.), and if there’s anything outdated about the branding on your current site, you should update it ASAP. The look and feel of your brand should be built around your target market, and that should be reflected on your website. If you’re a geriatrics clinic and your website doesn’t cater to baby boomers and the silent generation, you’ve missed the mark. Your website must be attractive to your target market, whoever they are.
  • Can your website compete with your business competition? Are you an online clothing company with a long checkout process? Have your competitors found a better way to streamline checkouts? It’s time to get back to the grind, and make sure your website keeps up with current expectations in your field.
  • Is your website bringing in consistent business? If it is, great! You’ve done something right, and your website is working for you. But if your stats are low, your leads aren’t generating, and business has quieted considerably, it might be time to look into exactly why that happened. Often, it’s because your website isn’t doing it’s job. A website needs to do a few things for it to be considered profitable, rather than a deterrent against your business.

You’ve worked hard to build your business, and you’ve invested countless hours and dollars into it. In order for all of your hard work not to go to waste, you need a functional, visually appealing website that highlights what you do. In order to keep your business alive (much less build and advance it), an optimized website is a must. If your website fails, you will too. Spend some time today auditing your website, finding out what works and what doesn’t. If there’s a problem, you know who to call. Happy auditing!

How To-6

One of the best parts about content marketing is that a little goes a long way – if you play your cards right. If you’ve created a few solid pieces of evergreen content already, you can continue to use that same content in brand new ways. Repurposing existing content will save your team valuable time and money, while generating even more ways for strangers to discover your brand.

Work Smart, Not Hard.

You’ve already done the hardest part: creating the content. Instead of spending all of your time creating more content, why not just repurpose what you already have? As marketing guru Neil Patel says – write less, promote more.

Stop Creating.

I know, I know. It seems a tad asinine for a creative agency to tell you to stop creating. The idea isn’t to stop altogether, though: it’s to stop wasting time cranking out endless content that is rarely seen. Of course, you can only stop creating once you’ve already got some pieces of solid content in your arsenal.  You don’t have to have a ton, but you do have to have some.

Start Repurposing.

Let’s say you wrote an amazing eBook, and it’s only been downloaded one or two times. Don’t worry! That’s where the beauty of repurposing comes in. Even if that eBook has been downloaded hundreds of times, (wow, congrats!) you can still benefit from repurposing that content in another way.

But how do you do it?

First, take inventory of what you have. Take a look at all of the content you’ve already created, and mark down which pieces are still relevant. Remember, this content can come from anywhere: informational emails, webinars, conference material, blog posts, etc. Check out the following list for some ideas on how you can give this stuff a quick face lift (or heart transplant):

  • Combine Forces: Do you have several blog posts on one topic? Turn them into an eBook! Refresh some of your verbiage, add an intro, transitions, and an ending, and slam those suckers together into one awesome eBook all about that particular subject. Don’t forget to put your logo on it!
  • Take One Piece: Got a long email about the importance of having the right sunscreen? Turn it into a checklist on ways to protect yourself from the sun. If you have an eBook about how to buy the right new car, take one portion of it to turn into a shorter blog post. There are endless ways to take one snippet or chunk out of a larger piece and give it it’s own life.
  • Make it Visual: Whether you’re pulling the content from something textual (like a blog post) or something audible (like a webinar), you can easily arrange the information into something tangible and visually appealing. Infographics are an easy way to repurpose content, and people love them.
  • Make it Audible: Turn that eBook into a podcast! You can read it in your podcast, adding your new comments and suggestions, or turn it into a quick video.
  • From X to Y: Turn podcasts into infographics, infographics into videos, videos into blog posts, blog posts into checklists, checklists into eBooks, eBooks into email automations, email automations into webinars. Whatever it is, you double your chances of it being seen when you give it life in another form.

Start Promoting.

The only way you can ensure that your hard work, sweat, and tears haven’t gone to waste? Promote, promote, promote.

Once you’ve pieced together your brand-new-old-repurposed content, you should develop a promotion plan for it across your social media channels. Tweet it, tag it, post it – on the blog, on the website, on the social pages. The top two places to share your content will likely be Facebook and Twitter, but depending on your audience and the type of content you’ve created, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, YouTube, and LinkedIn are also great options. A good rule of thumb: find out where your specific audience is, and be there – wherever that may be.

Keep in mind – you should continue promoting this same content as long as the material inside it is still relevant.

Sometimes, that means you’re retweeting a tweet that got explosive engagement 6 months ago. The shelf life of any given tweet is only 18 minutes, so you can safely retweet your own past tweets – and because of Twitter’s algorithms, odds are pretty good that the same people won’t see it. However, while re-posting previously successful material can be a good idea, you shouldn’t rely on this as your main method of promotion.

Your promotion plan should be extensive and detailed. Scheduling social posts can be a lifesaver – and it will help you to keep track of how often you’re posting about the same piece of content. Of course, don’t forget to sprinkle in plenty of other posts in between these specific promotion posts – no one likes a broken record, even if you are rephrasing.

Remember – it’s social media, so brevity is the name of the game. People are scrolling and you only have about 0.000034 seconds to catch their attention, so get to the point, draw them in, and convince them to click.

You Got This.

Feeling overwhelmed? Take it one piece at a time. The idea behind repurposing content is to save money, time, energy, and resources. If you know how to take advantage of it, you’ll be glad you did.

9 Baby (1)

Building a trusted and relevant online presence is non-negotiable for companies who want to go the distance. However, the digital world can be a bit intimidating.  If you’re a little lost and/or overwhelmed by the enormity of it all or the constant changes, don’t worry! This Fort Worth marketing agency has a few tips to get you headed in the right direction.

8 Baby Steps To A Profitable Online Presence

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Baby Step 1: Make sure your website is both user friendly and mobile friendly. Ensuring that your website is easy to navigate for mobile users grows increasingly more essential, because currently 75% of users access the internet through their phone! It’s important for your website to be straight forward and not overwhelming, and to have a clear path of direction. On average, most people spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website before deciding whether they will stay or go elsewhere. Make sure you don’t turn people off by having too many conflicting ideas, and using confusing or unclear jargon.

On the flip side, it’s  also important that your website be fully informative, and include all pertinent information in a visually appealing way. While you don’t want so much content on your website that’s it’s overwhelming – causing people to leave out of sheer frustration – it’s equally negative to have too little content. Everything a customer needs to know about your company should be on your website.

 

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Baby Step 2: Get ready to present yourself! That will include getting quality photographs taken of you, your team, your products/services, your office, etc. People will want to see the face behind your brand, so be sure you have good photos to share of the team and some good “behind-the-scenes” shots, as well. This shows personality, and people will want to see that on your website and social media. In addition, prepare your story! People pick brands because of the way those brands make them feel, not because they sell the best products. Write down your story, and tell your fans what sets you apart and makes you different from the competition.

 

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Baby Step 3: Register your business with Google Maps and Yelp. If someone searches for your business name, it’s important that Google and Yelp recognize your business’s location. This is particularly important if you have a storefront or physical location that people will need directions to find. For help on this, here’s an easy tutorial to set up your business with Google, and this one will help you to register with Yelp.

 

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Baby Step 4: While we’re on the topic of Google and Yelp, another thing to consider is reviews. If your business doesn’t bring up any reviews on Google, Yelp, or social media, strangers to your brand won’t know whether they can trust you. This is particularly true of the millennial generation, as they tend to rely on online reviews and ratings more than other generations. If you have no reviews yet, try asking a few clients who you’ve worked with previously to leave you a review. Positive reviews build trust online and establish your business as authentic and worthwhile.

 

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Baby Step 5: Find out what social media platforms your market is on, and be there. In this digital age, social media is one of the best ways to build relationships with your existing customers and attract future customers. Do some research to discover which of the (endless) social media spaces your target is most likely to be on. There’s no point in wasting time in places that won’t make you any money or further your brand in the long run, so focus your time on the platforms where your customers are active. Yes, millions of people are on Twitter – but if your specific market isn’t, maintaining a Twitter profile will be a waste of your time and resources. Develop solid, vibrant and personable profiles. Interact with your fan base, use hashtags to gain more visibility, join groups, and reference studies that show when the best times in the day are to post on which networks. Then, develop a social posting schedule that you can stick to. Consistency is key!

 

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Baby Step 6: Consider adding blog to your website – it’s a great way to increase customer engagement and rank higher in search engines. Blogs are also an excellent way to continually drive new traffic to your website. Be sure you use relevant keywords (just don’t overuse them!) in your posts, and share your blog updates on your social media accounts. Include social sharing buttons for other people to share your content, too.

 

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Baby Step 7: Build an email list and begin sending emails. Establish a following – these are your people! Nurture those relationships and keep your fans close by gently reminding them you exist with a properly timed email. Use your email list to send coupons, industry advice, blog snippets, updates, and more. Remember the golden rule of writing emails, before you hit “send”: would you want to read it?

 

Screen Shot 2017-04-12 at 1.55.31 PM.pngBaby Step 8: Decide which places you’d like to invest – Facebook ads, Google Adwords, Twitter ads, etc., and determine your advertisement goals (more page likes, more engagement, offer clicks, etc.). Then, develop multiple advertisements. After they go live you should analyze, analyze, and analyze some more. Conduct A/B testing to find out what works best, what doesn’t work, and keep fine tuning your ads accordingly. The more specifically you segment the audience and the more tailored your ads are to that audience, the more effective they will be. (For the full infographic above, click here)

Going from hardly-online to fully-booming-online is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Every brand is different, and you may need to adjust things here and there, accordingly. If you have any thoughts or questions, we know a little something about everything from web development to graphic design, and we’re happy to help.

light-man-hand-pen

It’s 2017, and the future is digital. Marketing has done a lot of evolving over the past few decades, and the modern digital era has revolutionized how businesses are reaching out to and interacting with their customers. Digital marketing has largely taken over, but just like traditional marketing, not all avenues of digital marketing will work with every group of people. Depending on your target market, it’s possible you should be creating memes and gifs, or writing long Ebooks. Knowing what types of content you should be putting out, and how to effectively use it to create more business, however, is easier said than done (if it were that easy, 50% of businesses wouldn’t fail within their first five years). Since digital marketing is currently the most valuable marketing strategy to implement, How do you reach your target market through digital marketing?
Who is your target market?

Within your target market, there are many (many) subgroups. For example: if your market is mostly female millennials, there may sub groups depending on marital status, location, budget, and more. As a result, there are many ways to segment your audience: you cannot be all things to all people. The more specific your segmentation, and the more carefully you craft your content to cater to those specific groups, the more effective your marketing will be.

Types of content: who likes what?

Generally speaking, different generations tend to drift towards specific types of digital content. Knowing what types of content your specific target market gears toward is essential in creating a digital marketing strategy that works.

  • E-books: E-books are a great way to deliver longer and more detailed content to your audience. They’re a great way to present information about your products or services, or related information that your market is interested in. Generation X and above tends to appreciate E-books, and the more extensive and detailed information, the better. Make sure that the CTA you use for the Ebook download is easy to follow, and the text in the Ebook is a readable, good sized font.
  • Social Media: The best part about social media is that everyone is on it. No matter the age group, gender, or socioeconomic status, most people in the United States are active in some form on social media. Baby boomers tend to be drawn more to Facebook, where they’re 19% more likely to share content than any other generation. Instagram is geared more towards the millennial generation, and Twitter is popular among gen xers, millennials, and centennials. Millennials and centennials are avid Snapchatters, and typically gravitate towards the next new thing. If you’re marketing to them, it’s important to stay on top of social media trends and be very aware of what’s going on.
  • Email: Email marketing is not dead! On the contrary, it remains an incredibly effective way to reach your audience. Campaign Monitor reports that there are 3x as many email accounts as Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. Social media may be the hot new marketing toy, but email is here to stay, and those numbers are hard to ignore. Don’t get caught up in the new trends and ignore something with tons of potential and life left. Make sure your emails are short and sweet and include interesting images to keep your readers’ interest. Adding video to emails increases the click through rate by 200-300%!
  • Videos: Because video watching takes up 1/3 of all internet activity, video marketing is currently one of the smartest things to implement in your marketing strategy. Longer, more detailed videos are ideal for baby boomers, while short, visually stimulating 30 -60 second videos are best for younger target markets.
  • Infographics: Infographics are popular for a reason – they get shared 3X as much as other content on social media! This type of content is ideal for younger generations and visual learners, who would rather see than read through blocks of text. When crafted correctly, infographics are an excellent way to grab and hold attention. They are a great way to present information in a more interesting and visually appealing way, and they’re more likely to be read by millennials than an article or blog post that holds the same information.
  • Gifs & Memes: Popular with millennials and centennials, gifs and memes are a more recent addition to the digital marketing culture. According to the New York Times, 23 million gifs are added on Tumblr every day! Gifs and memes, when used in moderation, make great additions to blog posts, social media posts, and email. You can create your own gifs to show product details, animate data, or explain step by step processes, or you can use previously generated ones to add personality and humor.

It’s important to develop a digital marketing plan that resonates with your target group. Whether your market is teenage boys or professional women, your marketing plan must be tailored to your specific audience. It’s also important to keep in mind that you and your audience may not agree on aesthetics or style, and that’s okay. What truly matters is creating digital content that resonates with your audience, whether it’s your style or not.

Should you use humor

Sometimes, humor is used as a genius marketing move. Other times, not so much. Humor has the potential to both build your brand and destroy your reputation. Would it work for you? Should you even try?

Last December, the internet lost their ever-lovin’ minds over the infamous “Wendy’s Twitter Roast”. In case you missed it, the famous fast food chain Wendy’s got involved in a heated exchange on Twitter with – for a lack of a better word – an internet troll. It went a little something like this:

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Ouch! Thuggy-D might need a little aloe vera for that burn.

Admittedly, this verbal takedown was an unusual approach. It definitely brought attention to the brand, and probably won quite a few sassy hearts. They lost a few customers, too, without a doubt. Not every brand can afford to take the risk Wendy’s did so blatantly on social media. Most other companies are busy trying their darndest to make sure their customer service department bends over backwards to make people happy – like Pier 1 Imports (incidentally, our next door neighbor!) for instance:

 

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And, of course, using humor for your brand isn’t limited to social media and customer service. It can be used in advertisements, content offers, website material, brochures, or anything else related to your company. The question remains: should you use humor for your brand? How do you know?

There are pros and cons to implementing humor in your marketing strategy.

As a Fort Worth creative agency that likes to have fun, we like to think there are some pretty good upsides to using humor. But, as with most things, there are some pros and cons, and there is no universal, one-size-fits-all answer – every company is different! You should first consider your audience: who are you trying to connect with? Although you personally might be someone who appreciates humor, your ideal customers may not be. Know your audience and focus on speaking to them the way that they want to be spoken to.

Next, consider your long term goals. Will implementing humor get you closer to those goals? Will humor bring you closer to your target market – or will it repel them?  It’s important to think about whether humor will serve your brand’s greater good or just provide short term/shallow results.

Pros:

  • Potential relationship builder: If your target market appreciates humor, they’ll also appreciate your use of it. Using humor can instantly boost customers’ view of you, and create a more favorable impression of your brand in their minds.
  • Adds personability: Humor can show the personable side of your brand, and showcase the brand’s unique personality, and what makes you different.
  • Proves you’re not a robot: It’s easy for companies to get so caught up in appearing professional that they go too far the other way, and end up feeling mechanical. Humor can break a brand away from this, and make your brand feel less stiff and more relevant.
  • Creates memories: People remember things that make them laugh. Using humor in your brand’s voice is a great way to stick with people. This is especially true for television commercials, where the funniest commercials are usually the most remembered (Heck, off the top of my head I remember a funny Velveeta cheese commercial from 3 years ago).

Cons:

  • Potential suicide/alienation: Will using humor alienate your current fan base? If your current customers see your brand as sleek and professional, using humor can potentially hurt the solid reputation you’ve built up, alienating faithful customers. Don’t alienate the customers you already have by trying to reach out to new customers: it’s incredibly risky, and the odds aren’t in your favor.
  • You might not be as funny as you think: Before you post that comment or hit “print” on that flyer, ask for several outsiders’ opinions first. We’ve all laughed at our own jokes, only to find ourselves the only person in the room that enjoyed it. There’s too much on the line to risk that in your business. Some people like knock-knock jokes. Some people like puns. Some people would rather jump off of golden gate bridge than hear either one of those things, and will dismiss your brand completely if they see you use them.

In the end, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if humor is right for your brand:

Ask yourself these questions first:

  • Is the overall message I’m trying to convey getting lost in the laughs?
  • Will this alienate my current fanbase?
  • Will this offend ideal customers?
  • Is it too confusing?
  • Is it an “inside joke” that some won’t get? (e.g., a Friends tv show reference that your market may not be familiar with)
  • Will it further my end goal?
  • Is it really funny?

If you still aren’t sure if you can afford to use humor, consider trying it out on a case-by-case basis. It’s a solid place to start, and based on the reactions you receive, it should give you a pretty good idea of how to move forward. Remember, no matter how many “likes” you get on Facebook, or giggles you get from viewers, the bottom line is your bottom line. Sales should always be your long term end goal, and if humor helps you get there, then congratulations, you’re officially crushing it.

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