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design & marketing blog

Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

Measuring Social Media ROI

August 21st, 2013

Can investing business resources into Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms effective?  The answer is yes, social media can be effective, but only if developed  correctly. Many of the efforts by businesses to grow their business by social media channels are done not only without a strategy, but sometimes without a basic understanding of the social media platforms themselves and the driving factors that persuade users and customers to interact. The contest is really not about just getting as many people to click the “like” button your Facebook page it’s about getting that Facebook user’s to “like” you to the extent that they buy from you or tell others about your company. There’s a big difference.

To be successful a company must be educated, develop a comprehensive strategy and then track or measure their efforts. This infograph from MDG Advertising does a great job outlining the whole process.

If your company needs help getting started on a strategy, contact us here at Risingline and we’ll be glad to help out.

Infographic: The ROI of Social Media

Infographic by MDG Advertising

Don’t add clutter to your Website!

August 6th, 2013

I want to point out a great post that Seth Godin made a couple years ago. It’s one of my favorite short articles to reference before starting a branding or design project —The inevitable decline due to clutter.

As is his gift, he does a great job of articulating minimalism; a principle of design and communication that has become critical for success in this age of massive information overload.

I’m having a hard time not quoting his whole post because it’s so good, but in the spirit of minimalism here are the best parts:

  • “As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.”
  • “Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention.
  • “More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

A Quick Guide to Website Content

July 14th, 2013

Quick Guide to Writing Website Content

Writing content for your Website (or any marketing material for that matter) can be quite challenging. If I had to give one piece of advice it would be to keep your content as informal as possible so it’s not refined it into generic marketing drivel. What good is a Website that sounds like a million others?  I’ve found that it’s often the first pass at writing your content that can be the best at establishing that authentic tone that truly resonates with your visitors.

The Vital Elements for your Website

Effective communication on your Website can be compared to effective Interstate highway billboard communication — your visitors are going 70mph and if you’re not concise and clear they won’t bother slowing down to read your message. Research has established that visitors to your Website will make a judgment within a few seconds regarding the credibility and quality of your business (initially based on the graphic design) and then they will want these fundamental questions quickly answered:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Where do you do it?
  • How can they learn more or try your product?
  • Why are you the best choice?

This last item is called your Unique Value Proposition and is extremely important . . . in fact it should permeate all elements of your marketing communication.

The Front Page

The front page of your site is that “billboard” that needs to provide answers to these questions or a clear one-click path for your users to get those answers. Don’t make your visitors guess about these answers or which link to click to get them, otherwise they’re apt to just leave and look elsewhere. Website visitors tend not to be very patient.

Provide Proof

For those visitors who are interested in your unique value proposition, a vital supporting section is the proof section . . . it’s one thing to say you’re the greatest at this or that, but offering your visitors credible proof is going to carry exponentially more weight than you just saying so. Examples of proof sections include testimonials, portfolios and/or photos of your staff and or customers engaged in providing your products or services to clients.

Photos as Proof

MeAs the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and this couldn’t be more true on your Website. Visitors are not going to invest the time to read 1,000 words about how great you are (even if they did, they wouldn’t believe it) but they can’t help but seeing a prominently displayed photo that, if done correctly, can instantly and powerfully communicate your values and help establish trust.

The Web is cold, impersonal and untrustworthy by nature.  Avoid at all costs stock photos with cheesy models posing. The only thing you’ll accomplish is to make people wonder if your business is legitimate. Rather, make this an opportunity to develop an instant personal bond with your visitors which you’ll find is extremely potent towards establishing credibility . . . offer photos of you in an authentic setting, whether it’s a photo that provides some personal insight on your bio or photos that show your business making real customers of yours happy.

Even if your budget is low, consider hiring a professional photographer to work in conjunction with your Web designer. While you may spend a bit more on the project, you’ll be establishing a significant competitive advantage.

I’m still amazed that with all the material we offer on our site, and the myriads of photos of our past projects, I often have prospects and clients commenting on my profile photo which shows me with my family. People want to trust the firm they’re hiring and my willingness to share this type of photo is very effective in helping to establish that bond (as you might of guessed, that’s the photo on this page).

Google Update

May 28th, 2013

Last week Google updated its main search and ranking algorithm to what it calls Penguin 2.0. According to Google, there is no dramatic change to how one optimizes for Google however it’s important to take a look at the directions and changes that Google has made and what it might mean to your site. In short, Google is continuing to refine it’s ranking criteria to reward legitimate sites with real relevant content which offer real value to a community and penalize those sites which are full of cheap tricks.

To bring yourself up to speed I recommend this article on Website Magazine by Michael Garrity and the video from Google below.

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