Web Acronyms

Top 6 Web Acronyms Explained

Get to Know these Web Acronyms

Acronyms acronyms acronyms! Today it seems we’re drowning in a sea of acronyms. Everybody uses them in business. Some people use them for good, for example, to explain perhaps an otherwise complicated thing that requires some simplification. Others use them for bad, as a smokescreen to keep clients in the dark. Most of us, however, just misuse them because we take for granted that, when we engage in tech-speak, not everyone knows what we’re talking about. To the average “Joe,” this stuff is not innate knowledge.

This article is inspired by a recent WordPress training session we had with a client. After several months of working very closely with this client on their new Go Media Designer Site, they asked, “What’s a CMS? And do we have one?” A perfectly normal question to ask under any other circumstance. But with it being nine months into the project, it was a major red flag. It was at that moment when we realized that we hadn’t done a good job explaining things to them early in the process. We vowed to do something about it.

Go Media believes that the process of creating beautiful and intuitive, fully responsive websites should be presented in a manner that is easy to understand. Any self-respecting web design and web development team worth its salt sees the value in explaining “tech speak” to their clients.

In an effort to clear the smoke and mirrors, as well as the hocus pocus behind the business of web design and web development, we give you our Top 6 Web Development Acronyms explained:

CMS:
Once again, this is the acronym that inspired this very article. CMS is short for Content Management System. A Content Management System is a computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content (i.e., all the stuff that goes on your company’s website). A CMS is the very thing (i.e., application) on which your website is built. Here at Go Media, we’re big believers in WordPress for Web Design and Development. It’s our personal favorite. Just sayin’.

UX:
Short for User Experience, UX literally refers to the more palatable, emotional response we have toward the devices, gadgets, systems, and platforms we interact with on a daily basis. When it comes to building the perfect website (one that possesses beauty and functionality in spades), UX is HUGE! Providing a comfortable, rewarding UX experience through beautiful, fully responsive web design (see Go Media Designer Sites) that’s fun to use is what we strive for.

UI:
Short for User Interface, this rather beautiful, perfectly contoured little acronym kind of looks like the very thing it refers to. User interface can be a thing of beauty. At its core, it concerns the way in which people interact with your website and just how user-friendly your website is. The quality of a website’s UI is really determined by how well the site is designed.

User Interface can also be very compelling, because, in order to fully understand it, you start getting into the emotional and physical responses that individuals have to your website. For our purposes, however, we’ll cut to the chase. Translation: Your website should feel intuitive and easy to use, and it should look good too. Seek out the Web Designer who possesses the skill to create a dashing website that is beautiful with a satisfying user interface. Beware the web designer who neglects to tell you exactly what UI means.

GUI:
Pronounced like “gooey”, the GUI, or Graphical User Interface is UI’s kid brother. Graphical User interface refers to the overall look and feel of your website and all the little things [represented as graphic elements] that visitors to your website can click on to access information: icons, menus, buttons, images & video, etc.

At Go Media, we take GUI very seriously (despite the fact that it kinda reminds us of salt water taffy, which we love by the way). In addition to being talented Cleveland Web Developers, we’re also accomplished graphic designers. The two go together like hand and glove. GUI is what happens when we put our heads together. The overall look and feel of your website plays a major factor in the success of your business. Seek out the Web Design firm who understand the importance of getting GUI right!

SEO:
SEO (or Search Engine Optimization) is the process of improving the search rankings of your website through a series of metrics and procedures such as keyword analysis, code optimization, onsite optimization, and link building. Confused? You’re not alone.

At its most basic, SEO is simply a matter of taking the right steps to improve your website’s global profile. In terms of marketing your business these days, SEO is THE hot property. More and more businesses see the value in it. The process of “getting optimized” as we like to call it is necessary in managing an effective online strategy for your business.

CTA:
Short for Call to Action – a CTA is a prompt on a website that tells the user to take some specified action, such as ‘Read More’, ‘Contact Us’, or ‘Buy Now’. The CTA generally takes the form of a button or what is known as a hyperlink (i.e., a special link that visitors to your website can either click, tap, or hover over to access other parts of your website).

So there you have it. Hopefully we debunked some of the mysteries behind these common but confusing acronyms. Heck, if you found this article helpful (and we hope you did), print it out and take it with you the next time you’re in the market for a new website. To paraphrase the great Sy Syms, “An educated consumer is the best customer.”

Plan on building a website for your business? Don’t get lost in a sea of acronyms. Drop us a line. We’ll remove the guesswork.

How to Boost Usability of a WordPress Website

Tips on How to Boost Usability of a WordPress Website

It is a small world, but the digital world is even smaller. Therefore, it is important to safeguard your brand’s reputation as a single miss from your end can affect your brand’s identity. One of the places where you have to keep your brand’s identity in mind is your website and blog. It is your brand on the virtual world. It is your window of getting more opportunities. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that your website is easily accessible and attracts your target audience.

While there are many several web development options that you can use to create your website, one of the easiest and efficient ones is WordPress.

WordPress allows you to develop user-friendly websites and helps in making it usable with its easy-to-use plugins, navigational tools, etc. We are going to give some easy tips on how you can boost the usability of your WordPress website.

Below are few tips that will help you:

Tip # 1 – Website should be visually appealing

First impression, as we always say, is the last impression. Now, imagine for a minute – would you explore a website with confusing navigation, garish colors, and designs that take ages to download, Or would you prefer to explore a website that is easy to navigate and has eye-appealing color combination and good design. Most likely, you will choose to explore the latter website.

You might find us repeating us ourselves, but we cannot stress enough on the importance of creating a website that has an easy workflow with good visual impact. Also, ensure that you update your website with the latest principles of website designing as what worked ten years ago might not appeal the visitors anymore. So, it is important to update your website regularly to keep your visitors engaged in your website.

Tip # 2 – Go mobile!

Let us face it – people access information on mobile more than on laptops and desktops. So, it is critical for your website to be mobile-friendly. Your target audience should be able to access your website on the go! And this is possible only if your website has a responsive design. Now, you might ask if you have to upgrade your website. The answer to it is a loud YES! Earlier, websites were typically designed keeping the PC in mind.

The mobile screens are small and viewing your website on mobile can be an arduous task. Your visitor may have to scroll sideways and downwards to read even a small paragraph of text, and that can be a great disadvantage considering that people no longer have the patience to scroll so much to read a small chunk of text.

A responsive design makes your website mobile-friendly, so the visitor can read the content easily without having to scroll/zoom much. If you are wondering if it is a tough task, then let us assure you – it is not! With free WordPress plugins such as Jetpack, you can optimize your website for smaller screens and make your content accessible on all devices.

Tip # 3 – Don’t break the link with your website visitors

Imagine this scenario – a reader comes across your blog post that has a link to another website, they click on it and come across an error saying the page is not found. Disappointing isn’t it? You almost lost a potential visitor there.

It is important to ensure that there are no broken links on your website. Be wary of adding broken links that direct visitors to empty pages. There are chances that the link you added today might not work few months down the line.

Now, monitoring every link might not be possible. But, WordPress has a solution to it. There is a plugin called Broken Link Checker checks for posts and pictures that have a broken link or missing images and notifies you about it. That will help you rectify the issue and keep your website updated.

Tip # 4 – Make website navigation seamless

Yes, we know we are repeating ourselves. However, this is crucial, and no matter how many times we repeat, website developers miss this simple but very important aspect of your website. It is a fast-paced world, and no matter how beautiful your content is, people are not going to read it if your website navigation leaves them with a bad experience.

From logical navigation (you don’t want the website visitor to navigate from About Us to directly Contact Us without going through the other parts of your website), to adding a sitemap to make it easier for the visitor to explore the website, and linking your logo to your website’s homepage; every small aspect adds to the customer experience.

Tip # 5 – Interaction with website visitors = potential customers

We live in a time where we require immediate solutions to our queries. Earlier, visitors had to either post their queries on the ‘contact us’ form of the website or call the helpline and wait for their turn to get their queries resolved.

Now, times have changed. Customers prefer to use different Omni-channels to resolve their queries. Therefore, while you can provide offline options such as a helpline to enable visitors to reach out to you, there are also options such as live chat window that can help you chat with your visitors real-time and resolve their queries at a less turnaround time. With quick solutions and proactive suggestions, you will be able to convert the leads into customers. WordPress offers plugins such as WP Live Chat Support that can help your website visitors to connect with you easily without third-party interference.

Tip # 6 – Attract your users with your content

When we talk about the usability of the website, we often focus on the design and user interface of the website. However, one thing that distinguishes your website from your competitor’s is the quality of content. Ensure that your content is useful and is regularly updated. Remember that while a picture talks a thousand words, it is your content that will convert your visitors into leads. So, always keep your content as the focal point even as you update your website.

In conclusion

Website is not just another marketing exercise to be done for the sake of creating online presence. It is an important means of generating leads for your business. So, always ensure that your website is user-friendly and dedicate time to maintaining it regularly. A good content with great design, navigation, and real-time customer service is the key to success of your website and your brand identity on digital space.

How to Become a Brand Owner Rather Than a Retailer

When selling a product, the first option that may spring to mind is to become a retailer for that item. However, you also have the potential to become a brand owner — the person or group that holds intellectual property rights.

In that case, there is more control over which outlets sell the brand, how available the product is in the global marketplace and other specifics. Below, we’ll go over several things you need to do during your quest to become a brand owner instead of just a retailer.

Have Ideas for Products That Aren’t Available Elsewhere

A major factor that causes a person or company to be a brand owner rather than filling the role of a retailer is the presence of ideas for things that aren’t currently available — or knowing how to make things that are better than what people can buy now.

Maybe you love the outdoors and have been thinking about creating a water bottle that makes purification easier when people are roughing it in the middle of nowhere. You might already run a business that stocks outdoor products. However, it probably feels like carrying a selection of inferior water bottles makes your customers miss out.

In the above scenario, becoming a brand owner lets you stock your products in your store. As a result, you can spread the word about them and give current customers easy access to the merchandise.

Protect Your Brand or Product

It’s crucial to go through strategies that protect your brand from dilution. It occurs when there are too many similar products in the marketplace, causing people to become confused about all of them and have difficulty with differentiation.

If your own name is also the brand, you can trademark it, as Oprah did. She’s one of the few people who’ve taken that step to set herself apart. After securing the trademark, it’s also necessary to keep an eye on the internet and make sure merchants aren’t using it without permission. Setting up Google alerts can help you stay more aware compared to manual monitoring alone.

If your product is unique or has characteristics other items don’t, you need to strongly consider filing for a patent. Otherwise, other brand owners could see your products and copy attributes about them.

To ensure your brand and products and properly and thoroughly protected, consult a lawyer who has experience assisting other people in your situation. That person can advise you on the best measures to take, plus tell you what to do if you notice companies or individuals infringing on your property.

Generate Curiosity About the Brand

As a brand owner, it’s necessary to adjust your business strategy and focus on stimulating interest within multiple groups. The more curiosity you cause, the higher the likelihood your efforts will lead to sales and fruitful business partners.

Retailers merely convince shoppers to buy products. As a brand owner, you not only have to do that but also network with distributors that extend the brand’s reach when necessary. Being successful in that task requires showing genuine excitement for your brand and describing why it’s worthy.

Build an Appealing Website

The internet is the first place many people will find out about your brand. Invest time and money into creating a strong web presence that reflects what you offer. Does your brand cater to busy businesspeople, or adventurous travel lovers? Regardless of specifics related to the target audience, make sure the website’s design, copy voice, images and content support the brand. Then, it’s easier to convey what makes your brand stand out and why people should care.

Set Up — and Oversee — Social Media Accounts

Having an informative and user-friendly website is a good start, but you also need to maintain active and interesting social media accounts. Take your time during the setup process and fill out all the relevant sections of a social media profile. Use the same approach to content as building your website and angle it to develop and strengthen your brand at every opportunity. Update social media regularly, too. Ongoing updates boost traffic and engagement.

Also, realize a social media page could quickly become the go-to internet destination for someone who wants to tarnish your brand or is unhappy for some reason and wants the world to know. That’s why it’s crucial to develop and uphold a plan for moderating social media pages.

If you can afford it, hire a moderation team or person to supervise social media and intervene when required. Also, decide what constitutes intolerable behavior. If people continue to break the rules after being made aware of what’s acceptable, ban them and keep track of their IP addresses.

Also, never ignore customers who are truly disgruntled about something brand-related. Instead of keeping up with a publicly viewable content string, you may find it’s more comfortable and private to ask an upset person to send you a private message or call a dedicated phone number to explain their concerns further.

Come up With a Licensing Plan

Licensing is the best way to realize the full value of brand equity because it provides new avenues for promoting, manufacturing and distributing your brand in new markets. It’s essential to prioritize obtaining license agreements as a brand owner to achieve staying power in a crowded marketplace.

There are various ways to do that. Visiting trade shows is a great initial step. They connect brand owners with companies interested in growing the collection of merchandise they offer.

Furthermore, don’t ignore cold calls and social media outreach techniques from potential licensees. Consider that some of the companies most suited to signing licensing agreements may be from other countries, meaning you’d not necessarily encounter representatives at domestic trade shows.

Also, don’t get too eager and sign agreements with any company that gets in contact. Licensees are representatives of your brand, and if they don’t stick to minimum standards when associating with it, all the hard work you’ve done as a brand owner could quickly become nearly useless.

When evaluating whether to accept a potential licensee, ask about the direction they want to take the brand. If it doesn’t align with at least most of your goals or seems in direct opposition, think carefully before finalizing a contract.

Understand What to Expect

Many aspiring brand owners fixate on all the positive aspects of the outcome. Indeed, the advantages are compelling, and the ownership and responsibility involved are quite motivating.

Having a realistic perspective is crucial. Taking steps to become a brand owner is typically more difficult and less straightforward than being a retailer. Because of those realities, you cannot anticipate quick results.

However, it’s not hard to understand why brand ownership provides such a substantial payoff to the people who do it right. Many brands become timeless segments of the pop culture landscape. Consider names like Coca-Cola, Apple and Mercedes-Benz.

As an owner of your brand, you enjoy an unprecedented amount of control over how it appears in the marketplace. Brand ownership also gives more freedom to shape what people think of the brand and perform reputation management as needed.

After reading these steps, it shouldn’t be hard to realize why many entrepreneurs see brand ownership as such as appealing concept. If you can relate, don’t get intimidated by the length and complexity of the process. Instead, persevere and recall that owning a brand could result in long-term profits and recognition within an ever-crowded consumer landscape.

Tips for Meeting Deadlines for Aspiring Copywriters

Hello everybody! Mike Miller here, Copywriter at Go Media. Today I’m going to talk to you about meeting deadlines as a professional copywriter. But first, a little disclaimer:

I used to follow the old Jack Kerouac/Hunter S. Thompson approach to churning out copy – on a healthy diet of absolute debauchery (cue Ian Dury & The Blockheads, please). I’m not gonna lie. It was a hell of a lot of fun for awhile. But unfortunately it wasn’t the healthiest way to meet deadlines. Luckily I wised up and figured that, if I wanted to survive and make a decent living, I had to develop a healthier, less self destructive approach. I soon discovered after cleaning up my act that my inherent weirdness shone through regardless of my routine.

So here are some tips for aspiring copywriters on meeting deadlines without losing your edge (aka The Reformed Person’s Guide to the Writer’s Life).

Tips for Meeting Deadlines

Visualize the Finish Line. Paint a mental picture. Keep your deadline at the front of your mind, like a beacon of light at the end of a tunnel, or the end of a demanding race with a cheering crowd waiting for you at the finish line.

Know your subject. Investigate. Do your homework. Get acquainted with your client and the market they serve. This process is much like having a conversation with someone you’ve just met. Usually there’s a preliminary phase when you’re fishing for small talk. Eventually you find a common thread to follow. The same applies when writing for hire. Schedule a couple days for total immersion in your subject matter, relative to your deadline, and dive in. Give yourself the opportunity to effectively learn the lingo and body language of a specific market so that you can convincingly talk the talk and walk the walk, both figuratively and literally. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “know your song well before you start singing.”

Take note of things that pique your interest and grab your attention while investigating your client’s goods and services. It’s precisely the little things that grab your attention early that might help move your narrative forward should you get stuck attempting to communicate an idea further on up the road.

After you’ve done your homework, find an angle – a thematic hook – from which to intuitively get some traction. Dig in your heels and use it as a launch pad to get started. [Note: If this sounds a bit abstract, just stick with me here. The creative mind often relies on intuition to carry it forward. Finding a hook means trusting your instincts and letting intuition be your guide.]

Get some exercise. Nothing frees the mind better than a long walk, jog, or bike ride. I had a writing instructor in college who taught me the importance of physical exercise to open the mind and generate ideas. Over the years I’ve found that it’s a tried-and-true, effective way to shape ideas. But don’t go out there empty handed. Be sure to bring along your phone or a voice recorder to capture your ideas while on the move. [Side Note: I’ve established a few physical routines over the years to fortify my writing. First, long runs: I often start a run with my mind all scrambled; but by the time I finish, everything is all sorted out. Works like a charm. Second, I prefer to commute to work each day by bike. I find it provides a great opportunity to get inspired and focus on conquering creative road blocks. On top of that, a morning or evening walk is always a winner. After all, walking is the most essential form of exercise. And since running and biking isn’t for everyone, walking is a relatively safe alternative. I actually dictated the first draft of this article on my morning walk. No kidding.]

Get started. Freestyle. Don’t be cautious. Don’t ease into your first draft. Charge! Like a bull in a china shop! It’s the best way to combat all of the emotions that stifle writers at the start of any project: trepidation, apprehension, consternation, and most importantly, procrastination – all those -ation words. They’re a bummer. But you can beat them by being bold and a bit daring with your first draft.

Take, for instance, the toughest of them all: Procrastination! You’re inevitably going to procrastinate. Everybody does. It’s human nature. In fact, some of you out there (myself included) might swear to writing better under pressure. To heck with that. Don’t let your deadline control you. Know your timeline inside and out and stay on top of it.

The sooner you get something down on the page, the closer you are to the finish line. And, as an added bonus, the sooner you begin, the more time you free up for dilly dallying later on [dilly dallying: verb dil·ly·dal·ly-ing  \ ˈdi-lē-ˌda-lē-ing \ : 1. writer’s speak for engaging in a bit of frivolity to give yourself a break. 2. a technical term for screwing around on the job.]  

Drafting. Hit the ground running with what I like to call the “word vomit” or “brain dump” phase of copywriting. Sounds kinda gross, I know. And it can be, depending on how your mind works. But it’s rewarding nonetheless because this is the point in composition when you just go for it by leaning into your hook or your angle, pounding out ideas on your typewriter (or pc, tablet, or whatevs) like an old newspaper man. Your first draft doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t even have to make sense. Let it run wild. To heck with punctuation and proper diction, or even rational thought for that matter! Your first draft is your most organic and primordial – where your best ideas are born and begin to take shape. Keep it raw.

“The rain in Spain looks strange from the plane. And it’s downright insane.” No.

“ The rain in Spain drains like a water main on that godforsaken plain?” Not quite.

“The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain?” Yeah! That’s it!

Editing is fundamental. Proactively read and re-read what you’ve written. Make changes and adjustments to your copy by reworking and rewriting your text as you read through it. Be diligent. Take notes. Doublecheck your deadline, and keep carving until you’re sure you’ve shaped your text to your liking. You’ll know it when you see it. [Note: I recommend a three draft minimum for any project, and I don’t mean “barley pops” either. Save that for when you’re done.]

Cutting room floor stuff. One of the biggest stumbling blocks that writers encounter is the fear of letting go – letting go of a good idea that doesn’t quite fit thematically with the rest of their work; letting go of a bad idea that just doesn’t cut it. Point is, don’t get precious with your work. Don’t be afraid to leave content on the cutting room floor. You can always keep track of any unused ideas by simply cataloging them in a separate file. Good ideas are recyclable. An idea that seems unfit for today might come in handy tomorrow.

So those are my tips for meeting deadlines for aspiring copywriters. Remember to stay busy. Stay healthy. Stay weird!

For more information on a complete list of communication services for your business including copywriting from Go Media, Holla!

-Michael J. Miller

Why Your Company Should Be Branding on the Internet

How Strategic Branding Can Help your Business

One way to stand out from the competition and make a mark on the internet for your business is through strategic branding. You’ve likely noticed branding via offline platforms, which is when companies use a tagline or some other identifying tactic to keep the brand in the mind of consumers. Think about some of the billboards you pass on a typical day, for example. However, branding on the internet is an entirely different game.

With so many different choices on methods for branding online, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true ways to brand online that will benefit your business and not cost you much out of your overall marketing budget.

  • Develop a Street Team

Street teams originally started out as a way for the music industry to promote artists, but has developed into a method that all types of businesses use. About 33 percent of consumers say they trust a message from a company, which isn’t great, but 90 percent of consumers trust a recommendation from someone they know, even if they just know the person in passing.

This is where your street team comes into play. You should have a database of fans who will go out and tell others about your company and products. This can include social media influencers, people who have been customers for many years and brand ambassadors who you send free products in exchange for their word-of-mouth advertising.

Red Bull utilizes a street team/brand ambassadors to get the word out about its product. The way it has implemented its strategy is to have tiers within the team all the way down to student ambassadors who will recommend the product to their friends.

  • Content Marketing

91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing to promote to potential clients, making it one of the most popular B2B online marketing methods. You’ve probably heard that content is king, and in some ways, this still holds true.

However, you have to ensure the content speaks to your target audience and provides some value to them. Gone are days where businesses could keyword-stuff a page, drive traffic and find success. Today’s savvy business owners expect and demand value for their time.

  • Make Connections

Small businesses need a convenient way to get active online and begin building that brand image. One key thing is figuring out how to connect with other small businesses, but statistics show that businesses with better listings receive as much as 347 percent more searches than those with subpar listings. A company called Manta helps with Google AdWords placement, figuring out SEO for local listings, social media timing, online reviews and preparing for mobile search traffic.

One example of a company using this platform is Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services. The company specializes as a developer of industrial sites and office buildings, so the ability to connect with other businesses is a real help.

  • Social Media

Get everyone in the company versed in how to use social media to promote the business and then allow those who seem to be savvy to promote on your behalf.

Studies show that leads that are generated by employees via social media are about seven times more likely to have high conversion rates. The key is training employees on what to say and what not to say or to simply ask them to retweet and share.

  • Customer Service on Social Media

Every day, there are 2.1 million negative social media posts about U.S. brands, which means people are very likely to go online and voice their complaints. Since your goal is to please your customer and show others you care about your customers, it is a smart move to hire customer service specialists to handle social media complaints. The reps simply reach out to those complaining and offer to fix the issue.

JetBlue airlines is an excellent case study of how to use social media to respond to your customers in a pleasing way. When customers complain, it immediately responds, asks for flight info and provides an update.

  • Persistence Pays

A person has to see your branding approximately five to seven times before they remember it, as a rule of thumb. Of course there are exceptions to that rule, but it goes to show that you need to put your eggs in more than one basket when it comes to online marketing. Think about where your target demographic hangs out online. If most of them are on Pinterest and a specific crafting site, then that is where you’ll advertise, as well as by using AdWords with a similar keyword range.

  • Mobile-Friendly Emails

The number of people using mobile devices to access emails has risen by 180 percent over a three-year period. With more and more people using their mobile devices to get online, it is a smart practice to take those emails you’ve collected and send out a message here and there. You can offer stories about your company, discounts, free shipping, customer testimonials, etc.

Groupon sends out emails several times a week that are segmented to offer specials that particular group of subscribers would be interested in. This highly targeted form of advertising has been quite effective for the site. Those emails are also mobile friendly and can be easily read on a personal computer or a smartphone.

If your company isn’t focusing on branding online yet, then you can see why it is vital that you do. You can easily expand your customer reach by doing online marketing. The key is to be smart about where you spend your marketing dollars. Even though online marketing is a fraction of the cost of traditional print advertising, you can still waste a lot of money if you don’t go into it with a very specific strategy and marketing plan.

Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner

The Art of the Marketing Makeover: Grooming Legacy Companies for Today’s More Dynamic Marketplace

You don’t have to be hip, trendy, or in an arrantly dynamic new market to pique our interest here at Go Media. We love the challenge of working with clients who have a long history in business but are in need of what I like to call a Marketing Makeover. This could amount to any number of things: from re-imagining a logo, to a complete brand refresh, to freshening up your communications with copy that sheds new light on your business while adding a singular twist to the ongoing dialogue you enjoy with your customers.

Fact is, there are many seasoned and vibrant company’s out there looking for a little TLC, commercially speaking. From re-introducing you to the world with a beautiful, new, fully responsive website, to employing a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy [complete with SEO and social media marketing], the potential for engagement with your audience is staggering nowadays.

And from our perspective here at Go Media, there are few things more rewarding than taking the scattered brand assets and outdated communications of what we like to call a legacy company with a notable history and updating them for today’s marketplace. The process is kind of like treating you to a long weekend at the spa while we rummage through the attic of your house for old family photos, heirlooms, and clues to your family history.

As a copywriter, I particularly enjoy the challenge of updating a company’s overall communication strategy. The task of casting a company’s vision in a new light with a fresh new narrative is one that I relish. And no matter how conventional, or seemingly mundane the subject matter, the prospect of making a company’s communication strategy comprehensible and appealing across new and different platforms (website, blog, social media, etc.) is exciting and should be handled with gusto.

Case in point, Allied Tool & Die [a 70+ year old, Cleveland-based manufacturer of metal stampings for Automotive, Medical, electronic, and commercial industries worldwide] approached Go Media in early 2017 requesting a marketing makeover themselves: new Web Design, Inbound Marketing services (SEO), Upgraded Logo Design, and comprehensive Copywriting Services. Fortunately, the good people at Allied gave us the keys to their “attic” and free reign to rummage.

The Go Media team went for a more acute, contemporary approach to an otherwise fixed industry traditionally accustomed to staying in their own lane. And like a duck to water, we dove in and delivered punchier communications for the pages on their website (Capabilities, Services, Equipment, etc.). Then we launched it all on an intelligently designed, fully responsive Go Media Designer Site complete with artful photos and video presented on a cinematic scale. Phew! Now that’s one stunning Marketing Makeover!

If you know of a company that you’d like to recommend for a Marketing Makeover, or you suspect the company you work for could benefit from one too, give us a nudge!

What Your Chat Feature Should Offer and How to Deliver

Customer Chat Tips & Features

Live chat has quickly become a top feature that consumers expect out of a website experience. As of 2017, 48 percent of consumers prefer to communicate with a business via a live chat than any other form of communication. However, just having a live chat feature and delivering an amazing experience via live chat are two totally different things.

The same study discovered that people don’t mind if the chat is conducted through a chatbot or artificial intelligence (AI) as long as they get the help they need and have a good experience.

There are some key things your chat feature should offer, whether you are staffing your live chat with real people or with computers. Nail these seven items, and your chat feature will be much more effective than you thought possible.

Key Customer Chat Tips & Features

  • Offer Support, Not Hard Sales

Your chat support should be just that — support. If you use every single opportunity to just try and hard sell, you are going to turn customers off. Your focus should be on how you can help the customer rather than on how they can help you. Yes, you are in business to sell things, but the customer who takes the time to live chat is already interested in buying. Your job is to make sure they have all the information they need.

This also means you need to be strategic in where you feature your live chat option on your website. For example, it should be on the landing page, but do you really need it on your About page?

Customer Chat Tips

A good example of a site that does chat support well is Aid in Recovery. It has a chat at the bottom of the landing page that reads “Need help finding a rehab? Chat anonymously with a live agent.” The chat is available 24/7. Since people landing on the site are likely wanting help, this is an excellent use of the live chat option — placing it front and center.

  • Email a Follow-up Transcript

Carefully choose your chat software so you can keep a transcript of conversations. Customers may have multiple questions about your product or services. By the time the conversation is over, they may forget every fine detail that was discussed, but they might also be too embarrassed to ask again. Keeping a transcript allows you to later email that transcript to your lead and remind them of everything that was discussed.

This also gives you an opportunity to touch base again and show them you care about whether they are satisfied with the chat experience or not.

  • Clearly Labeled Areas

Make sure everything is labeled clearly for your site visitor. He or she shouldn’t have to hunt to find the chat feature. Instead, make sure it is easily found and looks the same on every page. Once the chat box is engaged, it should also be clear where the user needs to type and how to enter the text.

Customer Chat Tips

One clear example of a well-labeled chatbot can be found at Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes. A box pops up that has clearly labeled entry boxes and a box stating “enter your question.”

  • Chatbots

Chatbots are one way to staff your chat without spending money hiring an actual body to run the conversations. Instead, businesses purchase the software once, input all the basic information the chatbot needs based on what past customers or site visitors have asked, and lets the artificial intelligence do its job.

A word of caution here — if you plan to run a chatbot, be sure you offer an option for customers to contact you via email or some other means. A chatbot can’t possibly answer every question there might be, so at some point you’re going to have to input additional info the chatbot doesn’t have. Update it each time you run into a question such as this, and the bot will become more and more efficient with time.

  • Use Social Media

Social media is an excellent way to reach consumers, particularly the younger crowd. Allow customers to tweet you for a response, but be sure you have someone readily available to respond. Responses should take minutes, not hours. If you only want to staff social media responses for a certain amount of time, then you can clearly lay that out on your social media pages and your website.

One example of a site that uses social media to interact with customers is Chegg, which is a company that provides textbooks and rentals to college students. Whenever a student has a question, he or she can tweet out the question and tag @CheggHelp. Staff will answer promptly during business hours.

  • Offer Multilingual Chat Options

We are living in a truly global economy, so offering multiple language options for your chat is a great idea. If your target audience speaks English or Spanish, then you’ll want to staff your live chat with both types of speakers and train them thoroughly on your products and policies. You would then use routers to send the consumer to the appropriate chat technician.

  • Target Specific Needs

Another thing you can do is trigger live chat when a customer is on a specific product page. This requires making each chat highly targeted to that item. So, if a customer is searching for boots and lands on a page for rain boots, the chat might pop up and ask if the customer wants tall or short rain boots. It might ask what the customer will use them for and give a specific product recommendation.

An example of a site using this type of targeted live chat is Ruffwear. The company sells active wear and other items for canine companions. You will find things such as lifejackets, winter boots and vehicle restraint harnesses. Knowing which item to choose can be daunting at times. During business hours, chat boxes will pop up as you browse through the site, offering help with various things, such as finding the right boot and fit for your pooch.

The number of companies offering live chat continues to increase from month to month. New AI advances and increasing competitors in the global market make providing excellent customer service more important than ever. If you pay close attention to your live chat features, you can stand out from the competition by using them in a creative way that puts your customers first.

Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

best hoodie mockup templates

The Top 7 Hoodie Mockup Template Packs

The Best Hoodie Mockup Templates on the Market

The Arsenal remains committed to providing designers of all stripes with world-class tools to present their work in the best way possible. So in this installment of Arsenal insights we’re going to cut through the clutter and call out the 7 best hoodie mockup templates currently making waves in the Apparel industry. Check it out!

1. Advanced Hoodie Mockup Template Pack

Best Hoodie Mockup Templates

We had to put this one at the top of the list, not only because it has all the standard bells and whistles you’ve come to expect from the Arsenal (multiple ghosted [front, back, and side] and flat options, plus numerous preset options), but also because it has the unique distinction of allowing you to simulate various intricate textures that are otherwise hard to authentically recreate like Houndstooth, Herringbone, & Zebra Print! That’s certainly enough to earn it a place on the list. But this one also goes above and beyond with 10 unique Zip Hoodie option, 93 Tiling Patterns, 7 Print Zones (not bad), Easy-to-use clipping masks, and 8 Present Colors for each Hoodie.

Download the Photoshop Advanced Hoodie Mockup Templates Pack today and elevate your design work to a whole new level.

Download Here

2. Classic Tri-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack

Best Hoodie Mockup Templates

Our choice for Number Two makes the list because it has a bit of stealth AND a touch of class. First, the Classic Tre-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack allows users the ability to change hoodies to any color of the rainbow and beyond – that’s the stealth part. But it also allows users to present their work to clients so effectively in eye-catching 3-D that the extra burden of pricey printer bills is no longer an issue. Up the ante!

Download today

3. Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Pack, V2

Booooh!! Spooky stuff. So sharp, it’ll give you the shivers…

Coming in at number 3, one for the gals – The Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Pack, V2. Includes all the features that made V1 the industry standard, but with features like 14 professional templates in total, 6 back views, 2 side views, 4 front views, & 1 model shot [each with its own single clipping mask in place], V2 raises the bar even further.

Note: All ladies pullover and zipper hoodies include front and back photos, cropped sweatshirt formats, Fleece Zipped, and Sleeveless Hoodies formats – all fitted to form. Plus the easy to use color palette allows for switching up your color scheme fast!

Download Today

4. Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Templates Pack

An obvious choice to follow number three on our list, the original Ladies Ghosted Hoodie Mockup Pack, the one that started it all. Still a shining example of the Arsenal as a source for World Class design tools. Complete with Pullover Hoodie Version (Ghosted Front & Back), Tri-blend Zipper Hoodie Views (Ghosted Front & Back), and Zipper Hoodies (Ghosted Front, back, and side). 13 Templates total (6 back views, 2 side views, 4 front views, 1 model shot). Revolutionary stuff for the ages.

Download Now

5. Lightweight Tri-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack

Next up, coming in at Number Five on our list, the Lightweight Tri-Blend Pullover Hoodie Mockup Pack. With both Men’s & Women’s lightweight tri-blend Ghosted Pullover Versions included [Front and Back], this pack could best be described as the equal opportunity hoodie mockup pack. Get the best of both worlds: 4 templates total, front, back, ghosted, with a new easy to change hoodie color layer!

Download today

6. Pullover Hoodie Mockup Templates Pack

Number six on our list of top Mockup Templates is the Pullover Hoodie Mockup Template Pack – the set it and forget it pack. Why? Well, it includes the Arsenal’s patented easy-to-change color layers and a drawstring layer for all of the templates, with front and back views with clipping masks in place for a start! But – in addition to that – it also allows designers access to smooth, realistic lighting, drop shadow & shading effects in a realistic 3-D format without hassle. Thanks to these easy to use innovations, you can spend less time on the technical stuff, and more time growing your client base. No muss, no fuss. Here it is.

Download today

7. Stringless Pullover Hoodie Mockup Template

Finally, Number seven caps our list for a couple of reasons, not the least of which because it removes one of the great annoyances of the apparel industry – one that has plagued designers for ages – those darn hoodie drawstrings. Apart from that, the Stringless Pullover Hoodie Mockup Template Pack is a shining example of a product born out of pure community. Designers demanded a stringless option, and The Arsenal responded with what can only be described as a revolutionary time saver for designers everywhere who are actively working in the Apparel industry.

(Remember if you have a design request, please tell us yours by emailing us here)

Download today – No strings attached!

Examples of Effective Landing Pages

What Makes an Effective Landing Page?

Examples of Effective Landing Pages & Tips

When you discover a new website, whether on your own or through a web search, consider the first page you usually end up on. That’s easy to imagine, right? Because you — and almost everyone else — likely land on the main, front page. Many refer to this as the landing page, for obvious reasons.

The landing page is people’s first impression of a website, business or individual. If performance is shoddy or the images look sub-par, that’s going to reflect on the associated brand or business. If the fonts are tough to read, or the content is riddled with grammatical errors, you’re going to assume the team behind the site is also plagued by these issues.

The simple point we’re trying to make here is if you’re going to ensure any page on your website is the absolute best it can be, put extra effort into your landing page. As the first place both new and loyal customers go when they begin your carefully crafted customer journey, it’s the doorway to all your other channels. It may even be the first — or last — introduction an audience has to your business or products. Did you know 53 percent of mobile users abandon a website or portal that takes longer than three seconds to fully load?

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get serious and improve your landing page with some best practices. What better way to do that than to look at real-world examples of web design and innovative content in action?

1. Appearance and Visual Fidelity

It seems silly to have to say this, especially with today’s emphasis on technology and digital content, but the look and feel of your landing page matters. If your page is ugly, has a poor design, experiences slow loading times or anything of the like, your audience is going to have a negative outlook on your brand or business.

Mobile devices can now display high-resolution images and video, with little to no loading times experienced. That’s important, because in the past you largely designed a desktop version of your site with high-res, high-quality media, and dumbed everything down for the mobile version. Today, if you don’t directly design for mobile, you likely develop something called a “responsive design,” which scales the media and content to match the resolution of the device users are visiting from.

Mobile delays and poor performance make audiences more stressed than the average horror movie. How’s that for tanking a reputation?

Take the MECO landing page, for instance. It doesn’t matter what device you’re browsing on — you’ll see incredibly vivid and colorful imagery, and captivating, yet clear, fonts. Scroll down the page some more, and there’s even some fantastic animation to go along with everything. Nothing on the site is too taxing, even on mobile. The visual fidelity and performance are there, and it’s stunning all around.

2. Colors and Fonts

Yes, we touched on the appearance and visual aesthetics in the tip above, but colors and fonts deserve their own section. Both a stark color contrast and an ugly font can cause serious damage to the reputation and bounce rates on your site.

Colors are important because even without images, you can use them to present beautiful and striking backgrounds and accents. Gradients, for instance, which have two colors merging in a unique style, offer an incredibly stunning appearance to the background of a content section or page.

Of course, if you slap poorly selected fonts and even font colors over a background, it can make the content difficult to read, or even frustrating for your audience.

Naturally, both the colors and fonts you select for your landing page need to mesh well, adhere to positive user experience standards and be convenient, yet attractive. Half of Us has some amazing use of colors and fonts on their landing page. Pay attention to the smaller background elements, especially with how nicely the fonts and colors play together.

3. Keep It Simple

Menus and navigation exist to direct your audience to other important areas of your site. The landing page is for quick, striking introductions. For that reason, you should keep the elements, media and content as minimal as possible.

Get straight to the point, and provide your audience with the tools or options they need to move to the next step in your customer journey or experience program. For example, Hello Bar has a single URL tool on their landing page. The company promises to help you “convert more visitors into customers” with their innovative product. Rather than waste time telling you about it, they simply offer encouragement to give it a try, and it works. You land on the page, and you’re more inclined to submit a relevant URL. Bam, you’re in, and you’re hooked.

4. Existential Musings

Who are you? Why do you exist? What do you do? What can you do for your customers and audience? As quickly and efficiently as you possibly can, state this information and or present it to them right on the landing page.

Yes, many of the customers visiting your site know who you are already. A large majority of your audience, however, is going to discover your business via web search, affiliate links or even typing your domain name into their browser. They have no idea who or what you stand for, so just tell them.

In line with the tip above, keep it simple, consistent and brief. Bloom, a web design agency, does exactly that on their landing page. What’s the first thing you see? The company name and a brief, yet effective, description: “An intuitive graphic and web design studio for purpose-driven entrepreneurs.”

They explain who they are, what they do and exactly the kind of customer they engage or assist. You can find your own colorful way to do this, but always make sure new customers and audiences know who and what you are. Furthermore, tell them what you specialize in. If you make home goods products, talk about what you offer. If you’re an advertising agency, list some clients or showcase a few portfolio pieces.

5. Give Your Visitors the Power

Your audience and customers are going to do what they want, when they want to. That’s the entire concept behind mobile web and modern design. Customers now have the power to engage exactly when they’re good and ready. Your landing page is the way to facilitate this relationship or engagement.

Right from the start, you need to give customers the power to achieve whatever you want them to. Because that sounds broad and confusing, let’s focus on one element you already know: the call to action. This step involves a button, statement or design element that compels your audience to do something.

You may want them to make a purchase, subscribe to an email newsletter or even reach out to a brand rep. Whatever the case, you deploy a call to action to get them to follow through. A prominent call to action is one common way of giving your visitors the power.

Apple’s smartwatch landing page is a unique portal that relies on this concept entirely. When you first arrive, you see the usual suspects: a top-seated navigation bar with various options and sub-menus, and a visually appealing background that shows the product. Right away, you can follow through to learn more about the product, or you can just jump to a portal to buy it. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, the power is in your hands.

Need more reason to provide a call to action? Consider that consumers now spend 68 percent of digital media time on mobile, and 35 percent of online purchases also happen on mobile. Giving your visitors the power, especially on mobile, is the way to boost conversions and engagement.

6. Tactile, Interactive and Real Experiences

Through concepts like parallax design, virtual reality and even chatbots or AI assistants, web experiences are becoming much more tactile, interactive and real. Customers have learned to embrace these new concepts, too.

Honu for iPhone has a vivid, bright and ideal website that exhibits this concept. Through parallax and brilliant imagery, you get a true feel for their product and what it does. More importantly, you can admire the attractive design and aesthetics, mirroring a real-world demo of the item. You know how sometimes it’s better to see a product in person? That’s exactly the kind of experience you’re looking to deliver online.

Your landing page is the first impression that needs to go well. Always look at your site from a user’s perspective. Applying the strategies above will not only provide insight into your business but it’ll lead to loyal customers.

Lexie Lu is a freelance UX designer and blogger. She enjoys researching the latest design trends and always has a cup of coffee nearby. She manages Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

how design live 2018 ticket giveaway

HOW Design Live 2018 Ticket Giveaway

Win 2 “Big Ticket VIP” Passes to HOW Design Live 2018

Go Media’s Arsenal is so excited to be hosting this HOW Design Live 2018 Ticket Giveaway thanks to the folks at HOW Design Live. HOW Design Live, happening this April 30 through May 3, 2018 in Boston, is one of the largest annual gatherings of creative professionals in the world. It’s a career-changing, life-altering experience that provides you access to up to 100 educational sessions and keynotes that will change your thinking, radically improve your work and build business and marketing skills essential to your job. During the event you will:
– have access to up to 100 educational sessions and keynotes that will change your thinking, radically improve your work and build business and marketing skills essential to your job
– hear powerful keynotes representing some of the best creative minds in the world
– experience a truly global happening, with nearly 4,000 attendees from every state in the U.S. and from dozens of countries around the world
– have an exclusive opportunity to preview new tools, technologies and products in the industry’s largest exhibit hall
– become part of a creative community that embraces every attendee, validates your work and empowers you to do great things

What you get if you win:

The Big Ticket VIP Pass (onsite ticket price of $2,959) is the highest level ticket to HOW Design Live and includes: all the benefits of the Big Ticket

  • Access to all breakout sessions, Keynotes, Exhibit Hall and receptions for all four days
  • Plus, you’ll receive audio and video recordings from many of the sessions included free with your registration“Plus” as a VIP, you will have access to a special Sunday night program just for Big Ticket Plus attendees, a VIP lounge to relax and recharge, VIP seating for all keynotes to assure you get a good seat and a pre-conference concierge service to answer any questions related to the conference. The winner will receive 2 of these Big Ticket VIP passes.Please take the time to learn more about HOW Design Live here and follow them on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Here are the rules for the HOW Design Live 2018 Ticket GiveawayEnter to win 2 Big Ticket VIP passes to the upcoming HOW Design Live – Boston: April 30 to May 3, 2018.  Simply enter your email address and like Go Media on social media for your chance at the prize. You may enter once per email address and must be 21 or older to enter. By entering the giveaway, you will be automatically entered into our Arsenal and Weapons of Mass Creation Fest email mailing lists. You must be an active subscriber to both at the time of the drawing win the grand prize. Share the giveaway! For every friend that also enters, you will receive 25 bonus entries. You may also receive 5 extra entries when you visit the WMC Fest Facebook page when prompted. Contest ends on November 28th at 8 a.m. EST. At this time, Woobox will randomly select a winner for us. We ask that our winner send us a photo of them at HOW Design to share on our social media. Best of luck everyone!

how design live 2018 ticket giveaway

Men's Crew Neck PSD Mockups

Men’s Crew Neck PSD Mockups featuring Displacement Maps

Free Skull Vector Download

Free Skull Vector Download

Connecting with Other Creatives

Connecting with Other Creatives: My Top Three Tips

Connecting with Other Creatives

Welcome to Episode Two of our new video series, My Top Three. This video series introduces you to creatives of all kinds who have knowledge to share about their particular industry. Episode Two features Heather Sakai, Arsenal Manager here at Go Media and Event Director at Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. In today’s My Top Three, Heather will talk about her Top Three Tips for Connecting with other Creatives. Please enjoy the video below and connect with Heather @sakaipower on Twitter.

3 Web Design Additions That Could Benefit Your SEO Efforts

SEO and Web Design

When it comes to web design, not a lot of webmasters see how much it can benefit SEO efforts if it’s completed right. Ultimately, a good web design can provide an excellent user experience and that’s something more and more search engines are requiring. The last thing a search engine wants is to display results to pages that offer visitors no value whatsoever. If you’re trying to get a small advantage over your competitors, it’s important you concentrate on your website from the bottom up, starting with your web design. Here are some of the web design additions/alterations you can make to increase user experience and thus, improve search engine presence.

Take Advantage of HTML5/CSS3 When It Matters

Improving user experience these days is all about increasing page loading times so users don’t have to wait. That can be done by avoiding the use of images where possible. With HTML5 and CSS3 now working together nicely, there’s plenty you can do to avoid using images altogether. Of course, when you have complicated gradients or background images of landscapes, you don’t have any other option. But, if your design is simple and pleasing to the eye, you can usually get away with using just a couple of images or even some simple lines of HTML/CSS code. One or two images less might not seem important, but it could be the difference with a customer growing impatient of waiting for a page to load. If you’re really looking to make everything count when it comes to SEO, invest in an SEO technical audit so you know what else you can do to improve both on-page and off-page SEO efforts.

Opt for a One-Page Design

One-page designs are increasingly growing in popularity thanks to the user experience benefits they provide. But, not only do they give users access to all content of a website on one page, they also use fewer images which could increase page loading times further. One-page designs are also perfect for mobile optimization and it makes it very easy to increase speeds on several other devices, too. Of course, mobile devices are used much more these days when it comes to surfing and shopping, so ensuring the user experience is perfect for those visitors is just as important as anything else.

Minimalistic HTML Forms

Another good way to increase user experience is to design your HTML forms with a minimalist feel. The problem some websites/businesses have these days is that they try to get too much information from a user without really needing it. It might only make a small difference in terms of speed and user experience, but the fewer fields you have in your forms, the more chance you’re going to build new relationships. Minimalistic forms use less code, increase user experience, and could make the difference in securing new customers.

There’s plenty you can do regarding web design if you want to improve SEO, and the above are just some of the simple features you can implement to ensure your site provides the best experience for your visitors.

How to Incorporate Storytelling Into Your Web Design

We all love a good story. Have you ever considered incorporating one into your web design? No? Well, you should, because it’s become an incredible communications tool in addition to a core component of content marketing.

We’d like you to do something. Close your eyes, just for a moment, and think about all the different brands you know and interact with. Think about their stories. What premise or plotline do they use to reach out to customers, enthusiasts, supporters and even rivals? How has that story evolved since the inception of the brand?

This may all seem like a bunch of nonsense to you now, but you should quickly do away with that mindset if it’s how you feel. You see, humans are emotional creatures, and stories — personal or otherwise — are the way we interact with the world and one another. Think about it! Every time you converse, discuss or reach out to friends and family, one thing you’ll do for one another is share stories.

This is the same outlook modern brands and organizations have about their relationship with their customers, especially through digital platforms and channels. Social media, for instance, allows brands and company representatives to have much more personal and influential interactions with specific customers. The same can be said of modern customer support tools like one-to-one messaging or IM solutions, and even discussion forums.

Why Use a Story at All?

Because stories help carry a message, they are far more memorable, and that’s the idea — a story is not only more engaging but it also remains in a customer’s brain, sometimes even influencing how they react or what decision they make.

But stories can also be used to placate the emotions of the viewer, pushing them closer to a product or service you are peddling. They may have had absolutely no clue they needed what you’re offering, but your story, the journey, and experience you subjected them to changed their outlook.

For example, wearables tend to have a reputation for being impractical to some people, which has helped slow adoption of the market. These people feel they already own a smartphone, so there’s no need to own a smaller device on their wrist that can do the same things. Keep in mind, we’re strictly talking about smartwatches and smart wearables here — not fitness trackers.

By delivering a story or personalized experience to those customers, wearable makers can help potential customers not just understand but also desire to have this type of product experience. They can show adverts, content, and media that portrays how practical these wearables actually are, specifically by showing some problems they can fix.

A good story plays to a customer’s emotions, opinions, and past experiences and shows them what the product or service can do in their life.

1. Create Characters That Resonate With Your Audience

Whether you use the real-world experiences of customers and personnel on your team or you make up characters, be sure the focus is on someone your general audience can relate to. For example, Progressive uses Flo, the infamous insurance agent, to tell stories about their company and products. She resonates with a lot of folks because of her bubbly personality, desire to help and overall friendliness. But you don’t have to make up a fictional character to facilitate your stories.

Airbnb, for example, uses stories from real customers to share their experiences renting properties through the app and platform. You can browse this section, find someone that best matches you and your family and see how they fared. It’s a genius approach to onboarding new customers, really.

One company ascertained that parents are 52% less likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day after they have kids. This information was used to create a more compelling and engaging story for that particular audience, and by using relatable situations and characters, it turned out to be effective, too.

2. Remain True to Your Personality and Brand Mission

If you’re strictly professional, try to put together an experience or story that remains just as professional. If your brand is a little quirkier, you can be fun-loving and whimsical instead. The foundation, or the core concept of your brand and personality, should remain the same throughout, however. That’s true no matter what story you tell, what platform or channel you tell it on and how it evolves over time.

The Burt’s Bees philosophy to products, for instance, is that what you put on your body “should always be the best nature has to offer.” This idea permeates nearly every element of their brand from the creation of their products to the distribution and fulfilment of them. You can read all about how they make this possible on their story page.

3. Embrace Change

Your website, your customers and the world around you do not have to be static. You don’t have to spend a vast amount of resources every few years to update the content, stories and experiences. Instead, just keep everything consistent and regular. Embrace change over time and continue telling new stories and providing new experiences to your customers, all using the same basic plot or foundation.

The best way to make this happen — and make the most of it — is through analytics and customer data. If something isn’t working like you expected, change it. If a campaign isn’t going well or is received poorly, drop it and find another. Just because you are focused on one coherent and seamless story doesn’t mean you can’t invite change.

Nike is an amazing example of this idea. They’ve been telling stories to their customers for years, decades even. This can be traced all the way back to 1999, when they released a commercial dedicated to the retirement and career of Michael Jordan. You’ll notice that since then, a lot of their stories have been similar but fresh enough to be considered new and different. The FlyEase journey, for example, is a more recent story of a new product they offer.

4. Have a Clear Beginning, Middle and End

Like any good book, your story needs to have a beginning, middle and end that is easily definable for all your customers. They know exactly when the journey has begun, when they’re close to being done and when things have completely wrapped up.

The beginning should introduce your characters and players, establishing the main plot and setting. The middle should present the problems or issues your characters are having. In the end, you should be able to see that conflict resolved. This entire process is called the story arc of your story’s main character.

The end of the story, for instance, could be an incredibly effective call to action. Spotify’s landing page embodies this idea in full. You land there, see what you can do with the service, how it can help you, what kinds of people rely on it and go from there.

5. Keep Them Hooked

The poker player saying “don’t lay all your cards on the table” is a great one to live by, especially when sharing and developing stories. Your stories need to be both compelling and engaging, but you don’t want to reveal absolutely everything. You want your customers to be hooked, enticed and interested in coming back.

In other words, keep them hooked and leave them wanting more, but in a good way. This can be achieved through teasers and media releases, viral marketing campaigns, customer sharing and even social media events.

Netflix is an awesome example of this. Even for those who unsubscribe and or never are active customers, Netflix releases plenty of information about new content and new media available through the service. This keeps customers engaged, interested — and most importantly — coming back for more.

Go Forth and Create!

As you can imagine, there’s a lot of room for stories to be created, maintained, shared and bolstered, and all of them contribute to the way an audience sees and engages with a brand. It’s your goal to come up with a compelling story, but also one that resonates with your target audience. More importantly, you need to ensure the story you’re telling — and the goal you’re trying to achieve — is efficient and possible. You can do this by deploying and making use of the tips discussed here.
Good luck! Now go forth and create! Tell a revered story that all will love to experience!

50 Poster Layout Design Inspirations, Do’s and Don’ts