Diane Call

Diane Call
Diane joined the Spire2 team as a graphic designer in 2010. She loves to solve problems through design and is passionate about building marketing campaigns that perform across all platforms.

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Before thinking about a new financial planning website design get your Google house in order

Google products to stay on top of during a website redesign

When starting the trek of redesigning and building a new website, one of the more cumbersome tasks is gathering access to the various accounts which help us see a complete picture of the current site and where we can improve. Often a developer from several redesigns ago set up one of these accounts and is the only one with access. Or perhaps Google has rebranded and renamed one of the services (as they often do), and no one remembers setting up the account. 

Most people know that their domain name is a business asset and should be held by the organization, but many do not realize how important it is to keep all your Google assets in your name.  

A cautionary tale

Financial planning website design starts with making sure your Google properites all align to help you get found online. We recently had a financial planning client who started to notice that his site stopped showing up when searching by his business name. When his new site launched, he had altered his business name. Even though the redirects to his old domain name and old business name retained all the site authority, the new business name could not pull up the site. We discovered that he had not updated his Google My Business account with his new business name which resulted in him becoming hidden under certain search conditions.  

Here is a summary of some of the Google services and products you want access to before embarking on a website overhaul:

example of Google My Business in search results.pngGoogle My Business

One of the most important tools for a local business is to claim your turf on Google My Business. Google My Business will feature your business front and center when people search for you, whether on Google Search or Maps. Users can easily get directions from here or use it as a jumping off point to learn more about your business. You can add a link to your website, images, and list your contact information and hours.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics helps paint a picture of how your customers are interacting with and navigating through your site. It can help you identify which areas may need a little more emphasis before you even begin the redesign process. Its audience reporting offers great insights to your web developers and marketers alike.

Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools)

Google Search Console monitors and maintains your site’s overall “health” and performance in Google Search results. It allows you to submit a sitemap and alerts you to any errors you’ll want to fix. Which queries lead more traffic to your site? Which other sites are linking to your site? It even helps you resolve potential malware or spam issues on your site.

YouTube

It's no secret that video content is becoming more and more important to  content strategy. The benefits are bountiful — higher user engagement, increased conversion, greater search visibility (video can increase the chance of your brand being on the front page of a Google search result by 53 times!). While Facebook video is rising in popularity, YouTube is still king. According to recent data from Google, users are frequently using YouTube as a search engine, with some arguing that it is the second largest search engine on the web.

Manage it all in one place, and make it easier to share

Create a Google Brand account. This allows you and others to jointly manage the account through your own Google accounts, without needing a new login. As of this posting, Brand Accounts support Google+, Google My Business, Google Photos and YouTube.

Even without a Brand Account, you can easily give permissions to other Google users to access certain products. It is important to retain ownership of your business accounts, while giving your marketing team and designers (who live for this kind of data), access to all the tools and information they need to build you a well-performing site. 

We all know websites are the center of an organization's brand, but what does it really take to have a great website that drives visitors, leads and revenue? Download our free guide25 Website Must-Haves for Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales.25-website-must-haves-mockup.jpg 

Download free Website Must-Haves

How to fix your email marketing and get more valuable subscriber information

Get the information you need to segment your email audience

Last week we talked about the importance of email targeting and ways to segment your audience to deliver more relevant content. So how do you go about acquiring the necessary information about your readers to start doing this?

1. Collect more audience data in the sign-up process

The most direct way to collect the information you need to begin segmenting your email list is to ask for it upfront in your sign up form. However, many email marketers wisely hesitate to ask for anything beyond the email address for fear that too many questions will deter potential subscribers. We have found that if your sign-up offer has value, you can ask for a few pieces of additional information. Proceed with a bit of caution if you go this route, and ask only what you WILL USE to create more targeted emails. 

Another approach is to ask them for more information as they increase their engagement with your site. For example, after they sign up, offer another incentive in exchange for more information.

2. Ask your readers about themselves with a survey or quiz

For those who don’t want to deter potential subscribers with a lengthy sign up form, or want to know more about their longtime subscribers, follow up with a survey. SurveyMonkey integrates with a number of email service providers (ESPs) and some ESPs even have their own built-in survey tools. Give your readers incentive to participate in the survey such as a discount code or entry to win a prize upon completion. If you want to get creative, send out a quiz with interesting results — you can either collect the data you need within the quiz or as a requirement to see the results.

3. Leverage the data you already have

As audience segmentation becomes more and more important, most major email service platforms are building in valuable tools and analytics to better understand your readers. MailChimp for example tracks reader location when they open an email. You can then segment your list based on this geolocation data without needing to collect any additional information from your readers. Explore your email service platform to see what other data you may already have.

4. Include a call-to-action to update preferences in every email

A more passive approach is let your readers provide you with the information you want at their own convenience. Most email services providers offer a “preference tag” which allows subscribers to manage their own preferences. You can typically decide which information is visible for them to update — which lists they are on, sending frequency, interests, demographic data. Include a call-to-action in all of your emails asking users to indicate their preferences.

Want more ideas on how to fix your email marketing?

Read our popular post3 reasons why your email marketing strategy sucks out how to fix it and download our 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas.

lead-generation-ideas.jpg

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Posted in Email Marketing

How to fix your email marketing and give people what they want

How to fix your email marketing

Recently my craft beer-connoisseur husband and I were at a large beer and wine store across town. We don’t frequent it too often but tend to stock up on the same thing when we’re there — a mixed selection of craft beer. So I was a bit surprised to find their rewards program (which tracks our purchases) emails us only with their latest wine offerings. 

It’s a well-known fact that targeted, relevant content will deliver superior results. The number of emails the average person receives each day is steadily climbing, making it harder and harder to stand out in the inbox. Email marketers need to be proactive in targeting their communication to stay relevant. This particular store missed the opportunity to send us valuable content based on our buying habits. Here are three other easy ways to jumpstart your audience segmentation efforts to better serve relevant, targeted content.

1. Fix your email marketing by using basic demographic information

Basic demographic information —age, gender, company position if you have it— is one of the easiest ways to start segmenting your audience. For example, a client of ours hosts a recurring event in which they value having balanced demographics in attendance. When they noticed a surge in female applications, they were able to directly target their male subscribers to encourage registration, achieving their goal. Another example—let’s say a financial advisor is expanding on their retirement planning services—they can easily let clients who are more likely to jump on this new feature know by targeting based on age or career position.

2. Fix your email marketing by being location sensitive

In addition to using a reader’s geographic data to promote regional sales or events, you can space out the sending of your emails based on the ideal time in each time zone. Or let’s say you have multiple offices or stores across the country. If your email marketing platform supports dynamic content, you could even include the contact information of only the location nearest to each user — all from a single email.

3. Fix your email marketing by utilizing historical data

By taking a peek at your email response data, you can easily find your most loyal subscribers and those who have not opened in a while. You can use this information to reward your loyal subscribers with a unique discount code or a sneak peak at an exclusive new offering. You can also try win-back the others with a re-engagement campaign.

These are just a few ways to leverage your data to deliver the best email content to your readers. Of course, the more information you have, the better you can target your emails. Read tips and strategies on collecting this information from your readers.


Want more ideas on how to fix your email marketing?

Read our popular post3 reasons why your email marketing strategy sucks out how to fix it and download our 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks and Ideas.

Download Tips Now

lead-generation-ideas.jpg

Posted in Email Marketing

Logo Help: Beyond the Logo

logo-help.jpg

It can be tempting to plop your logo onto everything surrounding your business and call your branding efforts done. A strong logo is great, but there are so many more elements that go into a successful brand.

Your brand is defined by the perceptions customers and potential customers have about your product or service. These perceptions can be influenced by the visual elements such as colors (a bold yellow might evoke an cheerful feeling, a quiet blue, a sense of trustworthiness), the tone of your written communications (such as friendly and conversational or authoritative yet approachable), and even the interactions customers have with your employees. The list goes on. 

So what are the ways to visually enforce your brand beyond the logo?  Let’s look at Target as an example — Target has enforced their visual identity so well, the average American consumer can see just a few seconds of a commercial and immediately know it’s for Target without even seeing the logo. So how do they do this?

  1. Color. There are countless studies into the psychology of color, and at this point we know people’s feelings about specific colors are largely tied to their own personal experiences and cultures. However, we are learning about the importance of perceived appropriateness of color. For example, if you run a non-profit raising money for refugees fleeing war-torn countries, a cheerful yellow may seem out of place and inappropriate for such a serious mission thus turning off a prospective supporter. Or if you are marketing a product to American men, gender stereotypes aside, studies show they will likely be less responsive to softer colors. Who is your brand speaking to and what feeling do you wish to evoke?
  2. Typography. Fonts can be playful, serious, impacting, decorative, casual. The appropriate font can help communicate your brand’s mission. Serif fonts originally evolved from the calligrapher’s hand so these fonts are largely seen as more traditional. Sans-serifs came on the scene later and therefore tend to be seen as more modern. Let’s take a look at the message below. Each says the same thing but the fonts help to convey a different feeling. Which feeling do you wish to convey?
    branding-elements-sign-up-graphic.jpg
  3. Imagery. While we could technically house your brand’s full visual identity under the umbrella of “imagery”, let’s focus on patterns and photography here. U.S. researchers found that the human brain can interpret images in just 13 milliseconds, making it one of the fastest ways to connect a prospect to your brand. Are you using photos that tell a story? What feelings are being evoked? Do the colors compliment your brand colors? 

For Target, the use of patterns, their unmistakable red, and supporting colors all work together to establish their bold and energetic visual identity. Over the years they’ve been able to make subtle changes while still keeping a cohesive aesthetic. 

It takes time and many interactions to establish a brand in the minds of their customers. A logo is just one piece of the puzzle; using color, typography and imagery effectively and consistently is an important part in achieving a strong brand. 

So even if you are not thrilled with organization’s logo (and maybe for good reasons), you can still build a strong brand by leaning more on the other elements that form your organization’s visual identity.

Need ideas on gathering new leads for your business? Download our free ebook on the 30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips, Tricks & Ideas.

Download Tips Now

lead-generation-ideas-spire2.jpg

How we re-energized an email marketing plan with one tiny tweak

Once an email marketing plan is set in motion, it’s easy to fall into habit and let some of the more minute details stagnate. Here’s what happened when we recently changed the “from” name in our client’s email campaign from the company name to the founder’s name.

The open rate increased by 30% compared to the previous mailing.
The open rate increased by 30% compared to the previous mailing.


The click-thru rate to the corresponding blog post increased by nearly 120%, the highest rate in five months.

Post views increased by 53% compared to the 8 month average, a 208% increase from the previous post.
Post views increased by 53% compared to the 8 month average, a 208% increase from the previous post.

213% increase compared to the past 8 month average.
Comments on the corresponding blog post increased 213% compared to the past 8 months. Compared to the previous post, they increased 1200%.

Social shares climbed 111%
Social shares climbed 111%

Even if you’re not due for an email marketing overhaul, always be experimenting. Try a different time of day to send. Try A/B subject line testing. Add an image to a text-heavy email. Add a lightbox sign up form to a high traffic page. The results may surprise you.

 

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Posted in Results, Email Marketing, E-Broadcaster

Website Resources We Can’t Live Without

Posted on July 07, 2015 by Diane Call

1. AddThis

AddThis AddThis.com

What started as a simple tool to add social sharing buttons to a site has grown into a one-stop shop for website marketing and conversion tools. To get started, simply insert a few lines of code into your website, and then you can control which tools you use from inside your AddThis.com dashboard—no need to go back into your site and update the code whenever you make a change. Keep visitors engaged on your site for longer by using the “recommended content” tools. Encourage email signups and increase your social shares and followers, and better yet, track these stats within AddThis’s analytics.

Easy set-up, Free, Premium versions available

Go to addthis.com


2. Wordfence

Wordfence https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence

Staying on top of the latest cyber security measures these days is no small feat. Wordfence, a free Wordpress plugin, helps make that load a little lighter. Wordfence provides firewall protection, locking out potential hackers, verifies your source code, scans your site for malware and repairs damaged files. The plugin encourages strong passwords for new users, and even tests existing passwords for strength. The Premium version allows for two-factor authentication, one of the most effective ways to enhance Wordpress security.

Easy set-up, Free, Premium versions available

Learn more about Wordfence


3. Wufoo

Wufoo.com wufoo.com

Creating forms used to mean hiring a developer, but with Wufoo’s intuitive drag and drop form builder, you can create and add a form to your site in minutes. Use “rules” to make your forms dynamic—i.e. showing or hiding specific form fields or emailing the user based on his/her selections. You can even collect payments from users when you upgrade your account. Wufoo makes it easy to create contact forms, surveys, registration forms and more, and even integrates with other services such as Mail Chimp and Saleforce.

Easy set-up, Free, Premium versions available

Go to wufoo.com


4. WordPress SEO by Yoast

Wordpress SEO by Yoast yoast.com/wordpress/plugins/seo/

This is another one exclusive to Wordpress sites, but we can’t help but share our love for it. This free plugin helps improve your search engine optimization almost right out of the box. Upon installation, you can take a tour of the features and immediately begin customizing. It’s one of the few plugins that guides through writing better content to improve your SEO by providing page analysis, and allowing you to easily optimize your titles and descriptions. It even provides a snippet preview (so you can see what your content will look like in the search results), and automatically generates XML sitemaps to keep search engines happy.

Easy set-up, Free, Premium versions available

Learn more about Wordpress SEO by Yoast

Posted in Marketing, Web Design

3 things you should consider when creating email campaigns in a mobile world

Posted on May 01, 2015 by Diane Call

The latest estimates show that 53% of emails are being opened on a mobile device and this number is steadily rising.

The major players in email marketing (such as Emma and MailChimp) all make it easy to create emails that perform well on mobile devices by offering customizable responsive templates. This means the email will display slightly differently when viewed on a mobile phone:

  • Body text sizes usually display slightly larger on a phone than on a desktop
  • Columns or rows of images will collapse and stack on top of each other
  • The width of the email will drop from 600px to the width of your phone so readers don’t have to zoom in and move around the screen to read your email.

These variables create an infinitely better reading experience for your mobile readers but require a little more effort on your part to ensure your content is delivered as intended. Below are three ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your email campaign in a mobile environment.

1. Create “skimmable" content

You never know where your readers will be when they open your email—it’d be nice to think they’re at their desk, attentively taking in your every word. Unfortunately in reality, they’re waiting for the train, waiting to pick their kids up from school, or standing in line at Chipotle. The time you have to get your message across is increasingly limited.

So do your readers a favor: try to keep your content relatively short, and use descriptive headlines or subheads to divide the content into more manageable chunks. If you can break up a wordy paragraph into a bulleted or numbered list, do so. This helps to keep your message accessible.

What is the most important piece of information you are trying to communicate? What do you want your readers to take away? Make sure this is the most prominent piece of content—don’t hide it away in a sea of text.

Create skimmable content

 

2. Create a clear, clickable call to action

clickable areaTo make it easy for folks to interact with your content, Apple recommends allowing for ample space for clickable elements in a mobile environment. Ideally, the minimum clickable area should be 44px by 44px.

One of the best ways to achieve this is to create a button—this is good practice regardless of your reader’s device—but especially helpful for mobile readers who are skimming your content to find the next step.

We could write a whole blog post on crafting the perfect call to action, but I’ll keep it brief. Long gone are the days for the ambiguous “click here” button. Your button should tell the reader what the next step is in as few words as possible. Shop now. Read the post. Learn more. Keep it simple, and keep it clear.

Craft a clear, simple and clickable call to action

3. Test, test, test!

So you’re taking advantage of a new mobile-friendly template—great! Perhaps you even recreated the exact layout you’ve been using for years. That’s totally fine, but make sure you understand how it will display on mobile. Always preview and test before sending, so you know what needs to be adjusted (I hope you’ve been doing this anyway!).

Let’s say you are including an introduction in a narrow column on the right. When this collapses on a mobile phone, the left column will show first, followed by the right column... Meaning your intro will begin halfway through your email, which will be a little puzzling to mobile readers.

An image that was once 600 pixels wide by 150 pixels tall is now going to be about half that size. Any text you may have on the image will be harder to read, while the body text of your email has remained legible. Does this now feel unbalanced? Does the image create less of an impact at the smaller size? Perhaps you need to make it a little taller so it carries enough weight.

 

Desktop to mobile Desktop to mobile

What are some of the adjustments you’ve made to your campaigns to keep them successful in a mobile world?

 

Posted in Email Marketing

Spire2 helps organizations and businesses get their message out. Whether it is online, through email or with paper and ink, we make sure your message is being heard and that all these channels are working together to build your brand and get results. Learn more.

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