Web Development Buzzwords: Do You Know What We’re Talking About?

Web Development Buzzwords: Do You Know What We’re Talking About?

Developing a website can be intimidating. Sometimes, it can even seem like web developers are speaking a different language! With the help of our web development experts, we’ve put together a list of 10 development and design terms to help you navigate the world of the web.

Responsive
If a website is responsive, it looks good and functions properly on every device from your desktop, to your phone and anything in between. More and more people are turning to mobile devices to do their Facebook stalking or Googling, so a responsive design is key to having a successful website. For more information on why your website should be responsive, check out this blog post!

“Above the Fold”
If you’re a newspaper reader, you might be familiar with this term already, and it’s pretty easy to understand. When something is “above the fold” it is displayed on your screen without having to scroll. This section is where important pieces of content should be located so that they can’t be missed by website visitors.

Back-End and Front-End
You’ll hear developers refer to the back-end and the front-end of websites. The back-end is the part of the website that visitors do not see, and the front is the part visible to visitors—it’s that simple!

Hosting
A web hosting service is a type of internet service that enables websites to be accessible online, making it available to the public. There are different types of hosting available.

Domain
A domain is the name that the website is branded as. Domains are purchased and can be a combination of letters, numbers and hyphens. For example www.tagteam.agency is a URL, but the domain is tagteam.agency.

Placeholders
In website design, developers and designers often use stock images, video or text while they wait for the content that will actually live on the website. These are referred to as placeholders, and are only used for a limited time until they can be replaced.

Parallax scrolling
Parallax scrolling is a fairly mainstream technique in web design and development.  This refers to the method of moving the background images lower than the foreground images, thereby creating an illusion of depth. Checkout some great examples of parallax scrolling, and get inspired!

Sitemap
Planning out your website’s content can be a difficult task, but it is crucial to its overall success. In order to plan out your content, you’ll need a sitemap. Similarly to your home’s blueprint, a sitemap will help you to plan out the organization of your website.

Wireframe
Like the sitemap, wireframes are done in the early stage of designing. They aren’t very detailed drawings, and are only used to organize content and structures of pages before designing them graphically.

SSL
SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layers. It’s a networking protocol used for managing server authentication, client authentication and encrypted communication between servers. SSL keeps sensitive information, like credit card numbers, secure. Without an SSL, data is sent from browsers to web servers in plain text leaving that information vulnerable. Before entering your credit card information, take a look at the URL and make sure it has “https” at the beginning to make sure your information will be secure.

Database
A database is a structured set of data stored in a computer that is organized so that it can be managed, accessed and update easily.

You don’t need to be a web developer to understand some of these web development buzzwords! If your company is ready for a new website, give the experts at TAG a shout!

The Eight Rules of Branding

The Eight Rules of Branding

A brand is an emotional connection that is built through an experiential relationship. Think of a ladder, at the lowest rung your brand exists as a utilitarian commodity. As you climb, the peak is when your brand is linked to an emotional experience.

The goal of our eight rules of branding is to identify how your brand relates to these rules or concepts and where there are gaps. If you’re looking to rebrand or reposition your brand in the market, this is a great place to start!

Rule One: A successful brand is a single idea or concept that stands for something inside the customer’s mind.

We want to boil down your brand into a singular idea or concept. This should be more than just what your products and services are. How do you do business? How do you work with your customers? Work to whittle down your services or products into a single idea that you can own.

Rule Two: Branding consistently conveys your values. They reinforce your commitment to your product and company.

When we get to rule two, a SWOT analysis can help determine your values. Your internal strengths can play a large role in your brand’s values. How do you approach business?

Rule Three: Consumers accept brands that are narrow in scope.

We’ve all been to a restaurant that has hundreds of menu items and ranges from Mexican cuisine to Italian and everything in between. And that begs us to ask the question, “what are you?” You can’t be all things to all people. Narrowing the scope of your audience will enable you to be more successful in the long run.

Rule Four: Successful brands evoke a feeling of leadership.

In rule four, we go back to the brand’s strengths, as well. Position yourself in your market or brand category as a leader by conveying your strengths and how they make you different! For instance, if your company is using technology in a unique way in a category that traditionally doesn’t use technology, position yourself as a leader by demonstrating your expertise!

Rule Five: Communication builds brands.

Communication is vital to building your brand. Create a communication strategy, plotting and identifying when and how to communicate with your consumers. Identify your key messaging and use them in your communication tactics.

Take McDonalds’ for example. Their key message is “I’m lovin’ it.” What’s your core message?

Rule Six: Brand leaders promote and build a category.

For rule six, we’re going to go back to what we learned in rule one. A brand leader should promote the concept of their brand and distinguish themselves in the market place.

What brand comes to mind when you think of organic food? The majority of people will say Whole Foods. In the category of organic foods, Whole Foods is a brand category leader. What word can you own, and become the leader in that market?

Rule Seven: Building a powerful brand requires building a powerful perception of quality.

Just like we break down your brand into a single word and concept, we need to break down the term quality for it to best fit your brand. What does the word quality mean to your brand?

Take a look at Aldi for example. If you purchase a product at Aldi that is not good or not up to your standards, you can return it with no questions asked. That is their definition of quality.

Rule Eight: Sub-branding can erode the power of the core brand.

All of these rules connect and intertwine. Rule eight and rule three go hand-in-hand. Sub-branding by putting your name on everything can actually hurt your brand as a whole.

Virgin Mobile is a great example. They expanded their category to so many things that it makes us ask, “what are you?” It’s just another way of saying you can’t be all things to all people.

 

At TAG, we offer clients a Brand Workshop where we go over these eight important rules, and help to determine who you are as a brand and where you want to go. Often, we can determine a lot of this information through hearing stories about your company or brand and use those to demonstrate what your company values. Could your brand benefit from a Brand Workshop? Contact us today to learn more about how a Brand Workshop could be beneficial!

The Value of Social Video

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is made up of 24 pictures in each second! Are you incorporating the use of video into your social media strategy? Video captures a moment in a unique way that words and photos cannot.

According to Cisco, 80 percent of global Internet traffic will be video by 2019.  The use of video on social media platforms is exploding—with no sign of slowing down.  Whether your business uses Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or multiple platforms, video needs to be an integral part of your action plan.

No matter what your industry, there’s a way that you can utilize social video to engage your target audience.

 

Give your audience a backstage pass

Give your followers a sneak peek into your day-to-day work or show off your silly side.  This is a great tool to let your followers get to know you better and to build brand loyalty.

#DanceParty Friday’s at the TAG office!

A video posted by TAG Communications (@thetag_team) on

 

How-to videos If you’re like us, your Facebook newsfeed is blowing up with videos of people making amazing looking food and showing you how. Utilizing video to show your followers how to do something is one of the easiest and engaging ways to create content.

       

 

Show off your talents Show off your talents or how to do something in your videos. You can use your social media platforms and video to highlight your skills and talents. These videos are mesmerizing and engaging!

 

 

Highlight your products, or launch a new one 

Show off your products in a fun way that appeals to your audience’s interest and curiosity.

 

 

Facebook’s Algorithm Update

Social video is growing increasingly important with updates to Facebook’s algorithm.  With this update, Facebook will put more emphasis on the use of native video files. Your content is more likely to show up in your followers’ newsfeeds after this update when you embed a video in your status updates, rather than sharing a YouTube video link.

 

Video is a great way to engage your audience and add fun, compelling content to your social media library. TAG is your go-to source for creating professional-quality social videos to compliment a great social strategy, effectively engaging your target audience to take action. Visit our website today to get started on your first social video!

 

Bring Your Social Media Customer Service to Life

Bring Your Social Media Customer Service to Life

A strong social presence allows you to communicate with your customers and build lasting relationships with core target markets and niches. A study by Bain & Company suggests that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers, on average, end up spending 20 to 40 percent more with the company. With all the potential social media has tooffer your business, you need to make sure that your social media customer service is top-notch. Here are a few tips to help bring your online customer service experience to life.

Ditch the ScriptDitch the Script
While automation is great in most aspects of life, when it comes to responding to customers on social media, you want your responses to be personalized and personable. Responding with personalized messages is time consuming, but we promise that your customers will appreciate your attention to detail and embrace your customer-first focus.
 

Really listen
Talking and responding to customers via social media opens the door to new avenues of truly understanding their needs, wants and concerns. It’s important to stay up-to-date with what consumers are saying about your business on a daily basis, and take into consideration their comments. If consumer comments are consistently negative, think about ways your business could utilize their comments to better your customer experience. If comments are positive, give yourself a pat on the back, and then respond thanking them for their support. Anything you can do to show your audience that you’re listening is great!

 

Be speedy
When it comes to responding to customers on social media, speed matters. In fact, 32 percent of social media users expect a response with 30 minutes, and 42 percent expect a response within 60 minutes.Bottom line, make every effort you can to respond to your customers as quickly as you can.

 

Take things offline
OfflineNot every issue can be resolved via social media. Sometimes,responses require sensitive customer information and need to be taken offline, or transferred to another channel, like email or phone. But just remember to do this in a way that will not annoy the customer. One study revealed that 37 percent of respondents mentioned that “getting passed around” from agent to agent, or department to department, is a major source of frustration. When taking things offline, do so in a friendly manor, kindly asking your customer to call a specific number or to email your business to further discuss their concerns.

 

By delivering a great customer experience via social media, you can build longer and stronger relationships, and create more loyal customers. The social media team at TAG understands the importance of a timely social media customer service strategy, and will work with you to ensure that your customers are happy and being heard. Contact us today to learn more!

Five Key Social Media Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Five Key Social Media Strategies to Make Your Brand Stand Out

Are you ready to take your brand’s social media presence to the ultimate level? Make your business stand out amongst a sea of competitors with these five must-use social media marketing strategies.

1. Make your content stand out: How can you make your business stand out amongst your competitors? Easy—make your social media content stand out with eye-catching visuals, interesting links and crazy-good headlines. Programs such as Canva or Recite allow you to create engaging visuals with user-friendly platforms and step-by-step tutorials. When it comes to writing the ultimate social media headlines, keep in mind that less is more. In fact, headlines with eight words or less or proven to perform 21 percent better than longer headlines. It’s also been proven that headlines that end with a question mark or three explanation points get twice as many clicks than those without!!!

2. Strengthen your network: If you find that you are not getting the engagement you would like on your company’s social media platforms, it may be time to strengthen and expand your network. To do this, try creating or joining various LinkedIn groups to spark more connections and conversations around your products or services. You can also follow your competitors or industry-leaders’ profiles for some inspiration, and ensure you are keeping up with latest industry trends. It’s always a good idea to stay on top of what your competitors are up to.

How Often to Post3. Be consistent: In order to stay top-of-mind amongst your audiences, it’s important that you market and post consistently across all social media platforms. When it comes to posting, it’s important that you strike a balance between being informative and annoying; posting too much about your products can cause your consumers to become annoyed, and unfollow you. While frequency for posting varies from platform to platform, research suggests that the posting “sweet spot” for Facebook is two times per day, seven days a week. Publishing five to 10 posts per week is usually a good rule of thumb.

4. Show you care: Did you know that followers typically expect a response from companies within one hour of posting? Show your followers you care by responding to your followers’ comments and reviews—good or bad—in a timely manner. In addition to responding to customers, don’t be afraid to retweet customers’ praise and thank individual customers for their continued support. The more personal you can get with responses or posts, the better!

5. Go campaign crazy: In the age of diminishing organic social reach, paid campaigns offer a great way to expand your reach and thoroughly engage your audience. Now–a-days, companies with the best social media presence are using contests and other social media campaigns to successfully gain visibility and generate leads. To keep up with this trend, try providing your audience with valuable incentives that encourage audience participation, and platform your company as an industry-leader.

When it comes to leveraging your company’s social media presence, remember …. TAG, we’re it! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

TAG Employee Highlight—Anne Spoden

AnneA Business Marketing & Management graduate of Augustana College, Anne Spoden serves as the Director of Digital Services at TAG. Working closely with clients to build innovative lead generation strategies, Anne enjoys helping clients attract and retain customers with fun, engaging marketing tactics.

What’s Anne’s favorite part about social media marketing?

“I love the human element that social media marketing brings to the table. Social media is ever-changing which also allows me to be creative and explore new possibilities for our clients.”

But before Anne decided she wanted to work in the marketing industry, she had a few other aspirations in mind.

“When I was little, I really wanted to be a teacher, like my mom. But after I realized that I have no patience, and a bit of a diva personality, I figured I should find another career path.”

And we’re so lucky she has chosen a career path at TAG!

“My favorite thing about working at TAG is the people—hands down. It’s rare that you get to work at a place where you actually like the people you work with. But at TAG, I can honestly say that I not only like my coworkers, but truly value the creativity and personality they bring to the table.”

When she’s not working or chowing down on cheeseburgers, you can find Anne either exploring the Quad Cities, or curled up on her couch binge-watching the Real Housewives.

“When I’m not at work, I like to spend time with my fiancé Jim. Together, we like to travel and explore new, fun places in the Quad Cities. I’m also a huge Real Housewives’ fan. In fact, one of my goals in life is to start a Real Housewives of the Quad Cities!”

She’s also loves to show off her hidden talent …

Anne Party Tricks

I’m double jointed. I can twist my arms all the way around, and bend my fingers back to my wrists. It’s gross, but makes for a great party trick! ”

You do you, Anne.

Oh yeah, and she’s also getting married this summer—congrats!!!

 

Did you enjoy learning more about Anne? Keep checking our blog for more awesome employee highlights! TAG, we’re it!

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

The Best Places to Pig Out in Dubuque

Discover some of the best food around when you try any of these local restaurants in Dubuque! We asked members of the TAG team in the Dubuque office what some of their favorite places to grab a bite are. Check them out and let us know what you think!

Lot One

AJWeb developer, Andrew Haas, is a big fan of Lot One.

“You can find a great craft beer selection and the best tacos in town at Lot One.”

This laid back watering hole has pub style food and a fantastic, casual atmosphere. And the Reubens are amazing—actually, everything’s great!

If you’re looking for a great breakfast place, check out Lot One’s Sunday Funday menu. Every Sunday they’re cooking up some of the best omelets and pancakes in the area! There’s something on the menu for everyone at Lot One.

Kathleen HerberRubix

We can’t start our day without our morning coffee. For Kathleen Herber, Vice President of the Tri-State market, that means making a trip to Rubix.

“Rubix has great coffee, welcoming staff and a great atmosphere. You can’t beat it!”

The key to the excellent coffee is their locally grown coffee beans. The menu also includes delicious food and fantastic organic juices as well. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried their bacon chicken mac and cheese flatbread. If you’re looking for quick, delicious and diverse offerings, Rubix is your place!


L.May Eatery

We love L.May Eatery for the creative options, atmosphere and cocktails! From brick oven fired pizzas to amazing entrées that are changed seasonally, you literally can’t go wrong here! Better yet, they use locally grown ingredients and they have THE best sangria and martinis around. And the appetizer menu is fantastic, hands down best bruschetta in town!

You literally just can’t go wrong at L. May!

Copper Kettle

MikeThe Copper Kettle is a great place to relax with friends and family and enjoy great food and craft beers. The easygoing, lively bar & grill is a great spot for sports fans too, with multiple TVs. The service at Copper Kettle is fantastic and unparalleled.

From fresh salads and burgers to scotch eggs and white truffle parmesan fries, the eclectic menu is full of unique items. And if you haven’t tried the scotch egg yet, you should!

TAG CEO, Mike Vondran has been going to the Copper Kettle since he was a child.

“It’s fun to go back and have a flood of great memories every time. Besides, the food and service is outstanding.”

 

If you haven’t already, stop into the Copper Kettle, L. May Eatery, Rubix or Lot One for some of the best food around—you won’t regret it! These aren’t the only places that we love to frequent, but they’re some of our favorites. Is there a Dubuque restaurant we should be talking about? Let us know! Join our conversation on Facebook!

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

Top Four Places to Get Creative in the Quad Cities

The Quad Cities is home to some awesomely creative and inspiring places! So, next time you’re looking to get inspired, be sure to check out one of these top four places to get creative in the Quad Cities—courtesy of the TAG team.

QC Co-Lab
The QC Co-Lab was established in 2010, and provides an excellent space for creative minds to make meaningful masterpieces! Promoting the areas of technology, science, engineering, art and music, the Co-Lab houses detailed project rooms, including industrial and electrical workshops, a library and classroom and a state-of-the-art AV studio. QC Co-Lab is available to non-members, as well as special events, workshops and a regular Open Houses every Saturday. A QC Co-Lab membership is $30 per month, but provides you access to any and all equipment or rooms you need for your project—what a great concept!
QC CoLab

Quad City Arts
Quad City Arts is a non-profit arts organization that focuses on advocating for local artists by providing the Quad Cities community with educational performing arts programs and services. What’s great about Quad City Arts, is that they offer year-round programming, so you can stay creative all year long. Whether looking to be inspired by up-and-coming artists, or wanting to take a more hands-on approach with visual workshops and events, Quad City Arts offers everything you need to channel your inner creativity and have fun.
QC Arts
Figge Art Museum
The Figge Art Museum is a premier art exhibition and education facility, located in the heart of downtown Davenport. Home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections, and host to world-class traveling exhibitions, the Figge is one of the best places in the Quad Cities to get your creative juices flowing. If looking at art isn’t your thing, the Figge also offers a variety of interactive art classes for both youth and adults. And, if you’re looking for a fun place to take your kids on a rainy springtime afternoon, their Artica Gallery / Family Activity Center offers a great imaginative spot to hang.
Figge
Crafted Quad Cities
Do you like to craft? Then you’ll love Crafted Quad Cities! Not only can you shop for adorable, hand-made items at Crafted Quad Cities, but they also host a variety of crafting classes—available on nights, days and weekends. If you’re ready to make stuff, they’re ready to help!
Crafted QC
Wherever you choose to get creative in the Quad Cities, all that matters is that you are finding a great place to express your inner creativity. Where are some of your favorite spots in the Quad Cities to get creative? Join the conversation on our Facebook page.

The Benefits of Effective Email Marketing

The Benefits of Effective Email Marketing

In today’s world, businesses need to connect with their audience in a highly personalized way in order to gain their attention and acquire their business. Email Marketing allows you to do all that, plus so much more. Current research has shown that no marketing category—such as print, digital, broadcast and search marketing—has the longevity or proven results than that of Email Marketing. While some marketing trends may come and go, Email Marketing will remain a powerful channel of business to consumer communication for decades to come—and here’s why.

Maximize your Return on Investment (ROI)
Did you know that email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than traditional media marketing? There’s no printing costs, no postage fees and no advertising costs—it’s about as affordable as targeted marketing can get. In fact, email marketing has been shown to bring in $44.25 for every $1 spent, compared to only $27 for direct mail or $8 for print advertising.

Target your Customers Directly
What makes Email Marketing so great, is the fact that you can deliver highly-personalized and relevant content directly to the home—or hands—of your customers. You have the ability to control exactly who sees your email by segmenting your contacts based on location, interest, demographics or any segmentation you see fit. Targeting your emails ensures that your audience receives content that is specifically suited to their interests, and is relevant to their needs.

Increase Brand Awareness
Each time you send an email, you are exposing your audience to your brand and everything you have to offer. With custom content, smart layouts, creative design and targeted sends, you are increasing awareness of your brand with each and every send. Plus, email marketing is easily sharable. With the simple forward button, your subscribers can share your content, deals, images or links with their friends and family, further increasing your brand awareness.You can also directly embed links to your website, blog or social platforms so your audience can further engage with and learn about your brand.

Measure your Results
As with any campaign, it’s important to measure its results and evaluate your efforts. Email Marketing is extremely easy to measure, and provides precise and valuable marketing metrics for each email sent, such as delivery rate, open rate, bounce rate, spam reports and click-through distribution, so you can pinpoint exactly which strategies are working, and which are not. Better yet, these metrics give you insight into your customers’ personal behaviors and interests, so you can better target and strategize your campaigns moving forward.

Reach your Customers on Their Level
Unlike social platforms, email is a much more professional medium, where people expect to receive information about products and services— some even prefer it. Recent studies show that 72 percent of people prefer to receive promotional content through their emails, compared to 17 percent of people who prefer social media. Reaching your audience where they prefer most will result in greater open and click rates, ultimately helping you increase brand awareness and make sales.

Are you ready to deliver a powerful message to your consumers via Email Marketing? The Social Media team at TAG is ready to help you maximize your profits and reach your audience with strategic Email Marketing. Contact us today!