Day 11 - Setting Goals

Setting personal and professional goals is important within any organization because it gives a person a clear direction and encourages them to strive to be better. Our Account Manager, Michelle Russell, definitely took her goal setting serious this past year and completed one of her milestones in just one month! 

 

Day 2 - Client Sharing Presentation

Every week, one of us at IWS gives a presentation on something cool or interesting that’s happening in our line of work (Marketing/Advertising/Public Affairs/Tech/Design). We also discuss new projects we are working on and brainstorm fun ideas for upcoming campaigns. This weekly presentation gives us a chance to learn new skills and brush up on old ones and also keeps everyone in the loop about client projects.

Here's a great presentation that IWS Web Developer, Justin Yingling, shared on tools, tips and tricks for account managers, marketing specialists, designers and developers, that made all of our lives a little bit easier! 

 













Move Over Personalized Marketing - Individualized Marketing is Here!


Back in 2004, marketers were quickly becoming aware of a trend called “personalized marketing”.  It began when advertisers started targeting by location. Then by browser. Then by operating systems. And finally by time of day.

Pretty soon everything was personalized. Email marketing used first names in subject lines, publishers were targeting people by their browsing history, and banner ads were served to those with relevant interest and needs. It was the perfect equation.


But now, consumers are surrounded by these basic personalized ads. They’ve become so abundant that people have begun tuning them out.  In fact, The Economist claims that only 14 percent of consumers read messages that contain their name. This means it’s time to evolve beyond personalized marketing.

Queue individualized marketing.

Individualized marketing, or data-driven marketing, has more than doubled in the past 18 months, according to Teradata. In fact, 78 percent of marketers are now using data systematically to help improve their campaigns.


But what is individualized marketing? Well, in the instance of personalized marketing, a hotel might have used a guest’s name in the subject line or greeting of their email. With individualized marketing, that hotel would offer the guest a room upgrade or package based on their reservation information.

Although 90 percent of marketers say individualizing their marketing strategy is a priority, only 50 percent say they routinely use data to engage consumers.



So how can you effectively implement individualized marketing? Here are a few tips:

    1. Collaborate with your customer service department. Transform their data into customer insights. Integrate different databases of customer information with your marketing strategy.

    2. Actively work to have conversations with your audience.  Learn their unique preferences and distinct patterns of behavior. Creating meaningful consumer connections will give you a competitive advantage.

    3. Remove repetitive messaging. Rather than using mass personalized campaigns, focus on individualized offers or promotions.

About the Author: Nicole Momont heads a variety of accounts at IWS ranging from local non-profit organizations to entertainment and retail businesses. She oversees social media and online digital efforts, website launches, media buying, public relations and email marketing; managing everything from strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and on-going analysis.

Decoding a Developer

I sat down with IWS Web Developer, Justin Yingling, to learn about the world of development, his inspirations, and what's trending for 2015.

What inspired you to become a developer?

In 2005 a friend of mine came to me asking if I knew how to build a website, I said no but I’ll learn how. Within a few months time, I had finished building my first website. After developing the first site, I was hooked. I was addicted to learning more and wanted to see how far I could go. After years of dedication, sleepless nights, and lots of patience, here I am.

What’s the hardest thing about working in the development world?

I think change, time management, and patience are some of the hardest things when it comes to being a developer.  Development is complex and very time consuming. There’s always plenty of revisions and unexpected bugs that need to be worked out. Plus, you need to make sure you hit your deadlines, so there are plenty of late nights spent on the computer.

What is the biggest thing that has changed in the industry since you got started?

I would have to say responsive design. Responsive design has impacted all of us including designers, advertisers, marketers, and much more.

What’s a popular trend that you see for 2015?

I think modern websites and responsive design are still some of the largest trends that have been carried over from 2014. Especially with more wearable technology, like Apple Watch and Google Glass. Some other big trends include motion UI, single page websites, and paralax websites, which are becoming more popular. My personal favorite is Google's Material Design. Google's new UI is visually pleasing, it's simplistic and clean all the way around. I would have to say that their UI has definitley changed the game when it comes to user experience and delivering a pleasing look across all platforms.

What is one thing that you would like to see change in the development world?

I would like to see all email clients support responsive design - I’m sure all developers would agree. Email development is one of the most tedious and the least flexible when it comes to handling custom email designs that need to be responsive and compatible across all desktops and devices.

What resources do you use to stay on top of development trends?

I research everyone and everything. I like webdesignerdepot.com, moz.com, alistapart.com, and tutsplus.com to name a few.

Is there a particular website that does something unique with development that people should check out?

One of the coolest sites that I’ve seen is by Robby Leonardi. He developed a really cool Super Mario Bros. themed interactive resume website. Check it out!


And lastly, what's your drink of choice?

I'm a beer guy, so a few of my favorite brews include Grand Canyon Pilsner, North Coast Scrimshaw and Blue Moon - without the orange.


About:
Justin Yingling brings over seven years of experience in development, design, and digital marketing. Justin is a well-rounded and self-taught web developer that loves to keep up with the latest trends. He’s always looking to improve his skill set, and loves developing on WordPress and GetSimple CMS platforms. In his free time, he loves doing photography and spending time with his family and friends.

About the Author: Nicole Momont heads a variety of accounts at IWS ranging from local non-profit organizations to entertainment and retail businesses. She oversees social media and online digital efforts, website launches, media buying, public relations and email marketing; managing everything from strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and on-going analysis.

Beautiful Design Leads to Better Results


Have you ever considered how much of an impact your design has on your results? Well it’s more than you might have thought. In fact, according to research by DMI, design-focused companies outperform their counterparts by 228%.

Between blogs, social posts, email, landing pages and websites, marketers are creating more content than ever before. Nowadays not only do you have to compete with other industry professionals, but you also have to compete with consumers, who are now responsible for over 100 million new photos every hour and a new blog post every .5 seconds!

With all this competition, how do you make sure your message stands out?

The answer lies in your designs.

But what turns a good design in to a great one that is seen, shared and successful?

According to this article by Campaign Monitor, there are several things your designs must do in order to be successful:

  1.   Motivate a person to take action
  2.   Reduce their anxiety toward the action
  3.   Provide a clear, easy path to conversion


Motivate Action

A successful design should motivate your audience to take action by creating a desire for your product or service by showing what it would be like to buy or use it.

How: Use imagery that’s tailored to the audience that allows them to immediately connect with your product/service. For example, create dedicated landing pages using images that mirror the users GPS location - OR - design different email campaigns using images that focus on characteristics and behaviors of the segmented audience.

Insider Tip: Make sure to use high quality or professional photography. AirBnB was able to double their number of bookings in a week simply by enlisting professional photographers to shoot their properties.

Example: Shopify shows that their product is the preferred choice by using a personalized homepage experience based on the users location.

Reduce Anxiety

Consumers experience a lot of anxiety before making a purchase or engaging with brands. Is it worth it? Is it the right choice? Is it reliable? The more your designs can help alleviate this anxiety, the higher your chances are of turning them in to customers.

How: Showcase individuals using your product or service. When your audience sees other people enjoying the benefits, it will alleviate anxiety that your product may not be right for them or isn’t worth the money.

Insider Tip: If you have impressive customer numbers or testimonials, find a way to incorporate them in to the design to show that your product is clearly the right choice among competitors. Make sure to place these numbers and testimonials among key content instead of at the bottom of the page or hidden on a dedicated testimonials page.

Example:  Xero reduces anxiety by showcasing the number of customers they have using their product and highlighting user testimonials.

Provide a Clear, Easy Path

Studies show that increasing ease is one of the most effective ways to turn impressions in to conversions.

How: Use simplified designs that draw attention to your call-to-actions and make it clear what the desired action is; limit the amount of choices you offer people in your designs making it easier for people to choose the best option for them; and minimize the number of steps people need to take to convert.

Insider Tip: Every step in the conversion process is just another point where the user can drop out, so keep your process simple and eliminate any unnecessary steps.

Example: Unbounce increased their webinar signups by 17% when they limited their session choices to three. 


Keep these factors in mind when creating your designs and you’re sure to see an increase in engagement and conversions. For more information or statistics, read the full article here.

About the Author: Nicole Momont heads a variety of accounts at IWS ranging from local non-profit organizations to entertainment and retail businesses. She oversees social media and online digital efforts, website launches, media buying, public relations and email marketing; managing everything from strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and on-going analysis.

Breaking News: Email is Alive and Well

Breaking news: Email marketing has been found alive and well, despite previous reports claiming it to be dead. In fact, not only has email been alive this entire time, it’s actually been prospering! Against everyone’s best efforts to make email marketing as difficult as possible (we’re looking at you spam filters and Gmail regulations), email has come out on top. Here are 5 reasons why email marketing is still an industry favorite:

1. Email drives sales

Email Marketing Census 2014, a survey that tracks the percentage of sales achieved by responding companies, found that companies are attributing 23% of their total sales to email marketing. That’s a 5% increase in just one year!

What’s more impressive is that, as discussed in our previous blog post, companies were able to increase their revenues using segmented email marketing – some as much as 141 percent!

 

2. Email is the best channel for ROI

That same Econsultancy/Adestra survey also asked respondents to rank marketing channels in terms of the return on investment they delivered. The results were astounding, with more than two-thirds of companies ranking email marketing as the best channel in terms of ROI.

How much better? Well, we recently blogged about an AW Pro Tools survey that found that one-third of online shoppers who earned $100,000 or more were influenced by email, significantly beating YouTube with only 5.6 percent, and Facebook and Twitter, which both came in at zero percent.

3. Email marketing is generally successful and databases are growing

Another recent survey, completed by Ascend2 in February 2014, found that 87% of companies ranked their email marketing as either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ successful compared to only 13% that said that their email campaigns were unsuccessful.

In addition, 68% of them saw their email list increase during the past year, compared to 25% who saw it stay the same and 7% who saw it decrease.

 

 

 

 

4. Marketers are implementing new tactics and channels

As we’ve talked about before, email marketing is an ever-changing business and we’ve given you our top tips and tactics when it comes to keeping your email marketing techniques up to date with an evolving industry. Here are some additional tactics that companies identified as being important in their email marketing campaigns:

 

5. Consumers still check email daily

Like every other social platform out there, people just can’t stay away from their email inboxes. In fact, 79% of US consumers say they check their email at least once a day. And if those consumers are anything like us, chances are that number is actually much, much higher.

So what’s the point of all of this? Well, basically that people need to stop saying that email is dead when surveys and studies are continuously finding that it’s quite the opposite.

About the Author: Nicole Momont heads a variety of accounts at IWS ranging from local non-profit organizations to entertainment and retail businesses. She oversees social media and online digital efforts, website launches, media buying, public relations and email marketing; managing everything from strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and on-going analysis.