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design & marketing blog

Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.

2017 Web Development Trends and Best Practices Report

July 30th, 2017

2017 Web Development Best Practices ReportThis report provides managers with a high-level overview of key web development best practices and trends so they 1) are better equipped to make informed decisions, 2) are aware of available tools and resources, and 3) gain an understanding of current requirements, risks, and costs associated with their website.

Download the Report

The topics covered include:

  • Strategy and Goals

    Understanding the effectiveness of a website is dependent upon the quality of the comprehensive marketing plan in which it exists.

  • Content and Messaging

    The preeminence of content or achieving your website goals.

  • User-Centered Design

    Developing your organization’s website from your target audience’s perspective.

  • Graphic Design Principles

    An overview of the fundamental principles for utilizing design to provide effectiveness and credibility to your message.

  • Web Design Trends and Best Practices

    A summary of current web design and layout trends and their advantages.

  • Website Security

    An overview of the increased risk of hacking and the major factors that can affect your website’s security.

  • Website Accessibility (Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 AA)

    Understanding the rapidly evolving requirements for website accessibility.

  • Website Deployment Options

    The pros and cons of professionally managed websites compared to user managed content management systems (CMS).

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

    A primer on the components of SEM including organic SEO and paid SEM.

A punctuation habit that destroys your marketing credibility

March 27th, 2017

Today I read a superb article from Inc. Magazine which offers sage advice (and some comic relief) for easily increasing the caliber of business writing. Do you create social media posts, newsletter articles, announcements or advertisements? Take a moment to read Larry Kim’s article on Inc.com for a great strategy to increase the professionalism, credibility and effectiveness of your written marketing communications.

Branding with Authenticity and Emotion

February 8th, 2017

Here are a couple great examples of brilliant marketing for mundane products. Take a look at the examples below to see how authenticity and emotion emphasize the fundamental benefits of a product and create a unique and lasting impression. Note that in these examples the actual product is featured little or none.

Seat belts

Chewing gum

5 Reasons eMarketing Campaigns Fail

July 22nd, 2016

Internet Marketing or eMarketing is a term we use to encompass any electronic publishing that has the goal of generating demand. This can be both direct (such as special offer, buy now) or indirect (such as helpful articles that appeal to your target audience). The typical distribution channels for eMarketing include traditional blogs (like this one) with RSS, Email marketing (through services such as VeticalResponse, Constant Contact and iContact), Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and other social media channels.

eMarketing can be compared to generating “foot traffic” in retail. For instance, many people venture into a retailing business because they’re passionate about a product or service. So they lease a storefront, flip the sign on the front door to read “Open”, and wait for the customers to rush in and buy their goods. What separates a successful retailer from a bankrupt retailer is the realization that rewards are derived from hard work, quality, attention to detail, and a dedication to match the market need as it evolves. Retailers can even spend a significant portion of their budget to advertise their product or service, but if they haven’t addressed these variables, they’ll never generate consistent demand. And yes, these same principles apply to eMarketing.

So why do so many eMarketing campaigns fail? Here are 5 reasons:

CONSISTENCY – The marketer fails to consistently develop content on a regular schedule; which in turn disengages the audience.  eMarketing is very easy to back-burner and before you know it the last time your bi-weekly marketing blast was published was four months ago.  Not only are you loosing the chance to simply ask for more sales, your display of inactivity on your blogs and social media sites will carry negative connotations to your audience. If the last time you published a blog post a site visitor will entertain such thoughts as, “Is this company still in business?” or “If it takes them that long to get to things what kind of customer service must they have?”

ATTENTION TO DETAIL – Although our society has significantly lowered its standards on grammar and spelling, both are still important to develop readable and discernible content. Many eMarketers, myself included, have a tendency to become lazy in regards to proofreading. It still matters. Even a 1% error rate in any published marketing piece can greatly reduce the credibility and effectiveness of the piece; no matter how great the design and content might be.

RELEVANCE – A marketer must evolve their passion to address a market need. People desire content that emotionally engages them and equates to their own interests. All material must be written from the perspective of your audience and it should be written in a way that captures and keeps their attention. Regardless of the subject matter, successful marketing communications should capture the emotions of an audience by making them laugh, cry, ponder, or get angry. Even nude para-sailing could become a relevant blogging topic if the subject matter is able to emotionally engage the reader and you’re able to relate to your business goal.

QUALITY AESTHETICS – No matter the content, people will make a strong initial judgement of your credibility based on the quality of graphic design for your marketing communication whether it be a blog, HTML email or Facebook page. By maintaining professionally designed electronic collateral, marketers  will enhance their credibility and improve the viral component of their distribution – because who really wants to refer a terrible looking Web site to a friend or professional acquaintance?

MARKETING DISTRIBUTION – Going back to the retailer example, one cannot simply flip the sign on the front door to read “Open” and expect customers to pour in. Generating an audience of prospects will take effort; the content must be distributed out to a targeted group of readers in order to generate interest.  Utilizing technologies such as Social Media, RSS (Really Simple Syndication), SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and viral components such as a “Send This to a Friend” link are all viable methods to help build and maintain an audience. Marketers should also encourage their immediate sphere of contacts (family, friends, neighbors, work contacts, etc.) to read their content and spread it along.

Do you need help with putting together a more successful digital marketing strategy?  We’d love to learn more about your needs and provide you some feedback on how we might be able to assist. Contact us anytime.

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