Websites We Love

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and we all know what that means: love is in the air. At DMI, our true love will always be great websites. What are these great websites, you say? We're glad you asked.


Google

Google is the bread and butter of online marketing, so of course they are in our favorites. But there's a reason they have such an impact. 
  • They have a simple design. Their search interface is clean and un-cluttered. 
  • They're consistent. The search interface and search results that you know and love as Google has remained relatively unchanged for the last decade. Which means users know exactly how and where to find the information they're looking for.
  • They know what they're the best at. They know their strengths and stick to them.


Amazon

  • They're innovative. Case in point: Amazon Prime and Amazon Dash. They have also begun generating their own content. To us, there's nothing better than innovation.
  • They're customer-centric. Amazon will always go above and beyond to attract new customers and to maintain loyalty within their current customer base. Offering quicker service through Prime is the perfect example of this.
  • Convenience. Let's face it, we all need convenience in our lives. Amazon provides quick and easy shopping for just about anything.


Facebook

You didn't think Marketers could leave out this social media giant, did you? Facebook effectively changed the way the world communicates.
  • Facebook changed the way we communicate with our friends and family. Gone are the days of phone calls for updates on our lives or sifting through a stack of photos from important events. And now, for better or for worse, your friends and family see MORE of your lives.
  • Facebook changed the way we get our news. Its immediacy allows us to know what is happening not only in our community, but around the world, without waiting for the next news segment to air or the following day's newspaper to be released.
  • Facebook changed the way consumers and brands interact. The platform allows for a stronger way for businesses to connect with their customers and attract potential customers. Likewise, it allows for customers to stay up-to-date and to make informed decisions.


Craigslist

  • Craigslist changed the way consumers buy and sell. As an online classifieds section, we no longer need newspapers to sell, buy, or rent anything: home goods, vehicles, real estate, and vehicles
  • It's simple, free, and localized. Meaning, anyone can use it, and  it's easy and convenient to make nearby exchanges.


Etsy

  • Etsy is a great way for artists and home businesses to sell their niche products online, which allows them to make a greater profit:
  • Which means sellers can receive recognition for their work and build a greater audience they otherwise wouldn't be able to reach.
  • They have a simple, easy-to-use sales process, making purchases convenient for customers.


Need to implement some of these themes in your website? We'd love to chat.

Give Your Website a Fresh Start

We've all heard the phrase "New year, new you," right? When you think of this sentiment, are you including all aspects of your life - personal and professional? While you diligently try to stick to health and financial resolutions in your personal life, don't forget the importance of a "new year, new you" mentality in your business, particularly for you website, which is likely the first impression people get of your brand. Your website deserves a fresh start this year too.


Is your website looking tired and dull? Consider giving it a redesign makeover. An updated look will catch your viewers' attention, which will result in more visits or longer sessions. The return to minimalism trend in web design makes sites visually appealing and easier to navigate. This trend often features clean, uncluttered pages with more white space and pops of bright color. Consider slimming down large chunks of content or moving them elsewhere on your site to free up space on the home page. A one sentence summary or bullet points with a hover-over section for additional content is a great option for clearing up space.

This is also the time to update your logo or color scheme if they have changed. If there has been any rebranding, you'll want to make sure all pieces of communication are consistent. Use this time to decide if you want to change the color, size, or shape of buttons or text segments.

To really refresh your website, don't stop after updating visuals. Now is the time to dig deep and give your content an overhaul. Is there any new information you want to share with your audience? Add in any new services or products you offer or any changes in them, including prices. Has your business itself gone through any major changes such as hours or locations? Have you won any awards or received some good press? Be proud of it and share it with the world! If you don't currently have a news or updates section, add one.

On that same note, remove any information that should no longer be shared. If there is anything outdated or no longer relevant still up on your site, be sure to take that down. This may be event information, staff bios, discontinued products or services, or information regarding previous years or seasons. Go ahead and remove outdated pictures at this time as well. Better yet, replace them with some that are more current.

Let's take these updates one step further. Don't stop at only updating irrelevant information. Work more keywords in your content (but don't over do it and get a spammy page) to rank higher in Search. If you run a local business, be sure to include some location-based terms to not only make it clear where you conduct business, but also for your services to show up specifically in local searches.

Ok, so all these suggestions are all important when you want to give a good website a great redesign. But what if you need to start completely fresh? Perhaps an entirely new website is in order.

We'd like to introduce Runwaysite websites! Runwaysites are the answer to getting your small business on the map - especially if you've never had a website before.


If you've ever questioned if you even need a website, the answer is yes. Trust us, the answer is yes. No matter the size of your company, it needs a website to be a 24/7 promotion tool. If you're not online, you're losing business from potential customers who can't find you. A Runwaysite is the perfect starting place and we'll make sure you aren't overwhelmed.

Runwaysite websites are affordable, yet quality, one-page sites that are completely customizable, and content is 100% client-controlled. They are a streamlined way to update an outdated version of a website or one that may not look as professional as you want to appear. As a one-page site, they are also a convenient option to use as a secondary website for promoting your business at events or trade shows. Add a link or QR code to your new website on banners or pamphlets so attendees can scroll through the most important details you want highlighted at events or shows, or to quickly and easily contact you for additional information.




Does your website need a new look or a completely fresh start for 2016? Contact us today - we'd love to chat.

Top 12 Facebook Updates of 2015

The social media world is constantly evolving. Sometimes, it feels like there is an update or new feature announced every day. We're looking at you, Facebook. With so many changes, it can be easy to miss or forget about a feature. At the very least, they can start blurring together. Whether you need a refresher, or you'd like to take a stroll down 2015 memory lane, we've got you covered with a 12 Days of Christmas-inspired list of our top 12 favorite Facebook updates of 2015.


Messenger

While Messenger certainly wasn't a new feature this year, it has seen a significant number of updates. The three we'd like to focus on are:
  • Payments via Messenger
  • Pages responding to comments privately
  • Pages saving message templates
In March, Facebook announced that users would be able to send money via Messenger. This free and secure service allows users to exchange money without being face to face. The sender and recipient simply enter their debit card information in the payment section of a new message and the funds transfer to/from the attached accounts.

In August, Facebook made it possible for Pages to respond to their customers' comments privately via Messenger. Next to the comment, a message will appear saying the comment has been responded to privately to show the concern has not been ignored. This move makes social customer service quick and efficient. A Brand can address concerns without asking Followers to contact them a second time, and this makes it easier to solve questions regarding personal information.

In the same efficiency vein, Facebook announced the same month that Pages would be able to save message templates. This allows Brands to answer FAQ quickly without taking the time to re-type the same response over and over.

Ads

Do you see where we're going with this? Facebook has made several improvements to advertising to make Marketing on the platform easier.

  • Targeted product ads
  • Dynamic cross-platform advertising
  • Custom audience tools
  • A/B ad testing
In February, Facebook introduced a way for advertisers to better promote their products. Targeted product ads allow advertisers to promote multiple products or their entire catalog at once. It also enabled advertisers to target a specific audience, particularly users who have previously visited the Brand's website. 

Dynamic cross-platform advertising helps advertisers best reach their audience. This feature enables Brands to reach their audience on any of their devices, regardless which device they initially saw the content on. It shows users ads for products they are interested in or that they have searched for on the company's website, and automatically optimizes ads by device.

Custom Audience Tools is another way Facebook is helping advertisers develop their target audience. This feature allows Brands to create an audience based on activity on their website or based on users' purchase history. Targeting the right audience makes the ads more relevant to the users and worthwhile to the Marketers.

In April, Facebook introduced PlanOut, a set of tools designed for running online field experiments. These tools allow advertisers to change an ad's demographics without changing the content. This means advertisers can test how content performs with different audiences, which provides valuable user information.


Notify

In November, Facebook released Notify, a notifications app currently for iPhone users. Notify enables push notifications for news from topics the user is interested in. Users can select which subjects to receive notifications from and can share via text or social networks via the lock screen. This app keeps users to up-to-date all day on news stories without searching for an article or scrolling through a news feed.

Reactions

In October, Facebook announced they had introduced and were testing Reactions with users in Ireland and Spain. This feature offers six emoji (love, haha, yay, wow, sad, angry) that users can respond to a status update with. Reactions allow users to interact with content beyond "Liking" or commenting. When Followers use these Reactions, Brands will be able to better understand how their audience responds to their content.

News Feed Controls

In July, Facebook updated how users view their news feed. Users can now choose which friends' and brands' content to see first, as well as find new pages to follow. This gives the user control over their news feed, making it a more personalized experience. For Marketers, however, it means that creating original, engaging content is more important than ever to keep their audience interested. 

Instant Articles

In May, Facebook introduced Instant Articles. Instant Articles is a fast, interactive way for users to read articles directly from their news feed and load 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles. By making articles easier to read, Marketers gain more control over their content, and have more opportunities for their Followers to interact with them.

360 Video

In September, 360 degree videos were introduced to Facebook. These videos allow users to see visual information from every angle. Marketers can now ensure their audience sees the full picture easily and in one video. The use of video is growing rapidly, and this update can change the way visual content impacts Marketing.



For more information about each of these updates, visit newsroom.fb.com.

How to Show Customer Appreciation

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we would like to take a minute to say just how thankful we are for all the clients we've had over the last 20 years. We could not have done it, nor would we be where we are today, without each and every one of you. Thank you for the great partnerships! Keep being awesome.

While it is great (and encouraged!) to let your clients know your appreciation this time of year, don't let the holidays be the only time your customers hear it. It is important that you show your appreciation all year long. Strong businesses are built on strong relationships. Showing your customers just how much you appreciate them is a surefire way to maintain their business and loyalty. Not sure how to express it? We've got you covered. Here are three ideas to get your creative juices flowing.


Provide sales or special offers:


If you are a B2C company, offering discounts or exclusives to your customers is bound to excite them. Consider providing exclusive or limited edition items to Rewards members, customer appreciation sales, or coupons/promo codes for your store. Our friends at Door County Coffee have really nailed this. They invite their customers to enter in product giveaways and promote sales codes for their customers to purchase their products at a discount.

If you run a B2B company, consider offering referral bonuses to your customers. If they send other businesses your way, offer your clients a percentage off their next purchase or their next service.

Give them content and/or materials to help them succeed:


At DMI, our clients are so much more to us than just a sale and we want them to know it. If you look at your customers with dollar signs in your eyes, or if you are constantly crunching their numbers, your relationship will never flourish. When you work to truly further their success, and not just to make a profit, you can develop a very positive partnership.

For example, our Account Executives often suggest Social Media and Marketing tips and tricks to our clients "on the house" (we also never charge to talk with your AE). By giving advice such as "only post teasers to an article on social media and a link to your website," we can help them develop strong content to boost engagement, grow their following, and drive traffic to their site.

Recognize them on social media:


In our very digital world, there is no better way to give or receive props than on Social Media. When you send a shout out to your customer, you build a stronger relationship with them, you provide them with free advertisement to your followers, and start a conversation with both audiences. Social Media is great not only for giving deserved accolades after an achievement, but is also a great way to promote any upcoming events they have.

We recently promoted an event on our Facebook page that two of our clients had collaborated on. By sharing the Old Glory Honor Flight fundraiser at Polly's Pumpkin Patch, the reach for both organizations was expanded to people who may not have known about the event or what either organization does in the community.


Thank you again to our clients for all the incredible partnerships. We are excited for them to continue growing!



We'd love to know - how do you show your customers your appreciation?



Five Elements to Include in Your 2016 Marketing Budget

As we near the end of the calendar year, Marketers and business owners everywhere are putting together their budget for 2016. If budgets are created based solely on what had been done the previous year, or on what has been successful in the past, components crucial for marketing success can be left out or forgotten. Especially considering that the marketing scene changes every year. We have the most important things to consider for next year’s Marketing budget.




1) Responsive Design


Transitioning your website into a Responsive design is a necessary move for 2016. In April 2015, Google started placing a high value on Responsive design. Translation: websites that are Responsive will receive higher search rankings than sites that are not.

The way your customers use your site should be considered here as well. Every day, more searches are being done on mobile than on desktop. As of March 2015, the number of people browsing the Internet from only mobile devices (11.3%) surpassed those who are online only via desktop (10.6%). If your users have to keep zooming or scrolling to read your content, they will abandon your site to find one that is easier to read on their mobile device.




If you have questions about converting your website to a Responsive design, DMI has a team of web experts who would be happy to answer them for you!



2) Social Media Plan


It is important now more than ever to not only have a social media presence, but to also have a successful strategy for your business. Using social media as part of your online Marketing strategy is the easiest way to communicate your message to the most people and drive traffic directly to your website. Updating your social media plan for 2016 will be a big win for your company.

If you are not currently taking advantage of Facebook campaigns (boosted posts or promoted page ads), it is absolutely something to consider. Using these options, you can target the exact audience you want to reach. Your ads’ audience can be filtered by age, gender, location, and interests. With the ability to choose your budget and the duration of the ad, you are still in control of your own content.


If you are looking to grow your social media following and broaden your audience, DMI has a socially-savvy team happy to help!


3) SEO


If there is one thing that Google likes to do, it’s keeping Marketers on their toes. Search is constantly evolving, i.e. Panda and Penguin updates that have occurred recently or will be happening soon. As such, Marketers and SEO experts must stay up-to-date with current changes and algorithms to ensure successful search results. Maintaining your site to stay in line with these updates is a must for 2016.


If you have questions on how to keep your business at the top of search results, DMI’s Marketing experts would love to chat with you!


4) Showcasing business online


Ok, so you’ve got your website primed for optimal search results. Now how do you stand out from your competition? One option is to showcase your building through Google 360 View/Business Tours.

This feature is a 360° view virtual tour of your business, of both the interior and exterior of the building. This gives your customers, or potential customers, an insiders’ view of your business. It is shown in search results, Google Maps and Google+.

Why is showcasing your building an important piece to consider for 2016? One in five searches are about businesses in specific locations, and most users will research a company or product online before a purchase. Additionally, companies using Google 360 View have seen an increase in engagement and a 20-40% increase in business. 


If you are looking to have an edge over your competition, DMI has a Marketing team ready to help you out!


5) Video


We have become an increasingly visual society, as evidenced by the huge success of platforms like YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat. The Millennial generation is a heavy influence of these successes and is growing as an audience. Keeping up with your audience and knowing how and where to reach them is crucial to your success.

Incorporating video into your Marketing strategy is highly encouraged for 2016. In 2014, the amount of videos in Facebook’s Newsfeed increased by 3.6 times year-over-year. Videos have the highest engagement rate of any kind of content on social media and allows for a better understanding of the message. The use of video shows an increase in users’ understanding of a product by 74%. 


If you need help with any of your online Marketing efforts, we'd love to connect with you!

The Power of Your Website to Build Brand & Increase Sales

Your brand's website is more than a pretty face (maybe it isn't even pretty?  Let's talk.).   Rather, you can use your web presence to build your brand and customer base.  However, this is an intentional process and will not happen on its own.  Read that sentence one more time if you need to, we don't mind.

If you're ready to sink some time and thought into brand building process, you're ready to begin!

What is the goal?

Firstly, let's set the tone for what we're trying to accomplish.  The goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to approach you and purchase your product/service or to support your cause.  Now, more than in the last decade-plus of online commerce, customers are looking for amazing service and quality products and they want to build relationships (we've all moved beyond the low-cost provider).

>> Regardless of the industry your brand serves, you can use your online presence to build your business.  <<



1.  Begin with existing customers/supporters

How can you increase your SERVICE, QUALITY and RELATIONSHIPS with current customers/supporters?  Today's interactivity makes this easier than ever.  Some ideas are more appropriate depending upon your industry.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Tweet them a message
  • Send a personal video Thank You message
  • Begin an email list (only email when you have something to say)
  • Create an online survey to gain insights
  • Start a podcast (even if periodic)
  • Blog
  • Have a Facebook contest
  • Share behind-the-scenes photos
  • Send an ecard on special occasions
  • Offer a coupon
  • Answer frequently asked questions online
  • Respond promptly to emails and phone calls
  • Think about the customer process and make one piece better, easier, simpler for customers

2.  Expand to potential customers/supporters

The goal of your online (and offline) efforts should be to make the transition from potential customer to customer as seamless as possible.  How is this done?  By increasing awareness of your SERVICE and QUALITY as well as building RELATIONSHIPS.  Noticing a trend?

>> This step assumes you have a website and that it is mobile-responsive.  If not, focus your efforts here first. <<

Here are a bunch of ideas, categorized:

Build Out Your Website


  • No PDFs - if you have valuable info, put it on a webpage
  • Address common questions on your website
  • Have a Contact Us form and check the email address it sends to regularly
  • Maintain website info - if it is out-dated, get rid of it
  • Add photos of staff, if relevant (remind customers there are actual people behind your brand)
  • Create a Completed Projects section then, set your calendar to regularly update it
  • Add a few testimonials
  • Link to your social media accounts (if brand-related)
  • Set up Google Analytics to track visitors, pages viewed, etc.
  • Only add info and web pages that ADD VALUE to the customer, if not, get rid of it

Step Up Your Communication

A website is a great start, but there are a number of ways to continue to gently welcome web traffic as customers.  The first step here is to think about an action you want potential customers to take that you feel with increase their sense of your brand's SERVICE, QUALITY and RELATIONSHIP.  A few examples might be:
  • Watch a welcome video
  • Take an online tour
  • Fill out a Contact Form
  • Download a white paper
  • Sign up for the email list
  • Purchase a product
  • Schedule a tour

Calls to Action

The last step here is to create Calls to Action throughout the website that encourage web visitors to perform one of the actions listed above.^^  If you're convinced the welcome video is a great way to help visitors learn about your brand (RELATIONSHIP), remind them gently to view the video.  Do so on different pages in different areas.  

When web visitors perform the Call to Action, be sure to collect their email address.  Why?  So you can continue the conversion with an email or follow up phone call.

"Dear XX,
Thank you for taking the time to view our Welcome Video.  I'd love to send you a brochure about our brand's offering.  It contains information on our brand as well as pricing.  If you'd like the brochure, simply email me back."

Take Aways

If all of this song-and-dance sounds familiar, that's because it is.  This is the very same way we build relationships offline (friendships, a first date, etc.)  We get to know someone and then extend the conversion through dinner parties, meetings, emails or phone calls, etc.

Now, we're simply using technology to extend the relationship experience to a much broader audience--one with global reach.  Email, social media, texting, websites and a variety of media help brands build relationships with people they would never come across in their day-to-day lives.  

The steps we take as we get to know someone, slowly revealing more information about ourselves or simply sharing who we are, is the same we should take as a brand.  

Note, there are many people behind every brand.  And, there are many people who are helped by many brands.  Brands and businesses and companies and industries all serve people.  Therefore, our interactions should always be mindful of the person on the other end of the transaction.

In your efforts, think about communicating your brand's SERVICE and QUALITY and work to build RELATIONSHIPS through a variety of actions online and offline.  The result will be a stronger brand and that leads to stronger sales.

If the ideas and tips sound like something you'd like to act on, but you're not sure where to start, we'd be happy to lend an ear to discuss a path forward for your brand.  

^see what we did there?  

Best of luck as you build your brand!

The *Why* of Web Design

Life moves at the speed of light, it seems. Meetings, commitments, travel, family and friends all have our attention, and it’s a constant stream of movement. Often, we must remind ourselves to stop and ask an important question: “Why?”

Web Design is no different. There are features and apps and content management and blogging and social media and, if we’re not careful, we’ll careen from one to the next without ever stopping to ask “Why?”
Why add a new feature to your website? 
Why update the design?  
Why social media?  
Why add an “under construction” page?  
Why create an app?  
Why enter into a new social media website? 



If you’re about to do anything to your brand’s website, social media or online presence, be sure you know the “Why?”

Some good reasons to move forward:

  • This feature will bring value to my customers 
  • This information will help customers make a decision 
  • This action will build positive relationships with my audience 
  • This update will strengthen our brand 


 Some reasons to pass on a project:

  • There is some white space we’d like to fill
  • Everybody else has this feature/app/presence
  • We aren’t ready to launch, but should put something online
  • This is how we’ve always done it 


The Effects of “I don’t know why,” Syndrome 


Maybe you’re too busy to be troubled with “Why?” Maybe you’ve always done things a certain way. Whatever the case may be, if you don’t stop to evaluate the “Why?” you may be left with:

  • Indecision
  • Uncertainty
  • Desire to chase flashy objects and features
  • Erratic projects, initiatives and work
  • Difficulty explaining the project/initiative
  • Low return on investment
  • Loss of business 

 You’d never get into your car if you didn’t have a destination. Otherwise, how would you ever know if you’ve arrived? The same is true of web projects. Are you meeting goals you’ve set? How will you ever know unless you first set the goals?

The “Why?” of web design is more important then the “How?” because logistics can always be worked out later.

If you’re at a point where you need to nail down your “Why?” block off a time to commit to brainstorming by yourself or those most vested in the initiative. At the end of the session, you’ll know full well if it’s an initiative you should continue with or if you’re simply chasing windmills. 

We’d prefer you leave that to the works of fiction.