4 Basic Things Your Brand Needs to Excel at Digital

The fall season is the perfect time to embrace your inner basic. “Do you want whip cream with that pumpkin spice latte?” You bet your sweet Aunt Sally I do! Even when it comes to your digital strategy, think basic.

At TAG, when we talk about a digital strategy, we’re not simply talking about your website. It’s all of your digital components and how those components work together to deliver results.

Those components include social media, websites, analytics, digital ads, AdWords, etc. -  you get the picture. It’s a lot to think about and monitor, so start slow. Below is what the TAG team believes are the four basic elements your brand needs to master.

1 | Mobile Responsive Website

A mobile responsive website means that your website will be just as clear and easy to navigate on a computer, as it is on a smart phone or tablet. Mobile responsive sites aim to minimize resizing, panning and scrolling so that your consumer can have a seamless interaction with your site and its content.

According to Adobe, nearly 8 out of 10 consumers would stop engaging with a piece of content if it’s not displaying well on their device. And, with roughly 60% of all internet access attributed to mobile traffic (which will continue to grow), can your brand afford to not be mobile responsive?

Think of your own habits. We’re all busy and when you’re looking for information fast, you don’t want to find yourself accessing a website on your phone and constantly having to zoom in to look at the text. It’s a hassle, and consumers and clients alike will find themselves seeking a mobile experience elsewhere.

2 | Social Media

Curious as to another digital tactic where most traffic comes from mobile? Ding, ding, ding! Social media. If you’re a brand, it’s imperative for you to have a focused social strategy. This doesn’t just mean throwing up pictures to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day (although, we do have a tactic for using National Days…), it means being in touch with your audience and knowing what kind of content they’re  looking for on your social media accounts.

Advertising on social media platforms has blown up over the past couple of years, and it will only continue to grow. Create a goal and then create a social media ad campaign that will deliver those results. For example: If you want people to visit your website, create a Facebook Ad campaign that will send traffic to your site. Or, if you’re wanting some exposure for your brand and your audience is relatively young, consider creating a Snapchat filter for a local event you’re sponsoring or that aligns with your brand.

3 | SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

When a potential customer is searching for your product or services online, what would they type into the search bar? Write them down, and then incorporate those words throughout your website because that’s how search engines pull results.

For example, when I type in “home improvement store davenport,” Lowe’s Home Improvement in Davenport is one of the first things to appear. Why? For one, they have home improvement in their name (genius) and it’s also sprinkled throughout their website. If you go to their Company Information page, their description says, “…Lowe’s has been Improving Home Improvement.”

So, if you’re currently dependent upon organic search traffic but aren’t getting the results you want, it’s time to do a word overhaul on your website.

4 | Analytics

Once your website is mobile responsive, your social media tactics and campaigns are running and your search engine optimization is as optimized as it gets, the next step is reviewing the analytics.

If you have a website, make sure it’s set up with a basic Google Analytics tracking code. That way, you’ll be able to see who’s visiting your site, when they’re visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what pages are most viewed, etc. in order to see what’s working with your audience and what’s not.

Social Media sites also have analytics in order for you to see which posts or ads are performing the best. Facebook to Snapchat and everything in between will offer you metrics such as impressions, reach, engagements, click through rates, etc. so that you can see the results, analyze them and then put your money where it makes most sense.

Whether you need help with the basics or if you’re looking to take your digital strategy to new heights, contact the TAG team of social media, web and analytic experts to help you reach your goals.

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The Evolution of Paid Search & What it Means for Your Strategy

The Evolution of Paid Search & What it Means for Your Strategy


“Where can I find jackfruit?”

“Pool floats that look like donuts”

“Do I need special glasses to watch the solar eclipse?”

Those are just a few of our team’s latest Google Searches. Did you know that there are over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google alone?

The Evolution

Over the course of the last decade, technology has evolved and so have our search patterns. Google has introduced numerous algorithms, and continues to refine them in order to better assist you in your queries.

Take a moment to think of your own behavior and how, it too, has evolved over the last 10 years. The first iPhone wasn’t introduced until June 29, 2007, so until then, Google search was limited to desktop users. In 2011, Apple introduced Siri – it’s voice-activated search tool for Apple product-users. 2012 marked Google’s release of their search app for iOS that featured its voice search function, rivaling Siri.

Paralleling these technological advances were also societal changes in the way we interact with our phones. 2007 was also the year when the state of Washington became the first state to ban texting and driving. Since then, many other states have followed suit and some have even banned calls from a hand-held cell phone device which, in turn, pushed for more voice activation options.

Earlier this year, The Webmaster released an article citing Hitwise’s study that found nearly 60% of all online searches are now happening from a mobile device, with the food and beverage industry reaching 72%.

What it means for Search

According to a recent HubSpot blog, 20% of queries in 2016 were mobile and android voice searches and a study by Ahrefs found that 64% of searches are at least four words or more.

This tells us that we’ve become much more conversational in the way we use search. So, instead of typing “Restaurants Quad Cities” like we did in 2007, we’re typing (or, dictating) “Where’s the best place to find tacos near me?”

What it means for Google AdWords

With many of our current clients reaping the benefits of Paid Search, the TAG team of Google certified experts decided that with this information, it was time to restructure our strategy.

Instead of the previously advised 10-20 keywords per topic in AdWords, because of the way consumers are searching we need to start thinking of them as “topics.”

The first step in this process is looking at your content from a low level. Segment the content you want your consumers to find into “topics.” For example, at TAG, one of our “topics” would be Social Media. We realize a strong social presence could be a potential client’s pain point and we’re here to help them succeed.

From there, we take our “topics” and segment them even further into “subtopics.” We think, ‘What are our potential clients searching for when they’re looking for help with their social strategy?” Then, “subtopics” for social media could be:

Social Media (topic)

  • Facebook marketing quad cities (subtopic)
  • More followers for my business Instagram (subtopic)
  • Is snapchat right for my business? (subtopic)
  • Email marketing tools (subtopic)

The subtopics help our team get into the mind of our clients and we’re able to then reformat our Google AdWords campaigns in order to deliver them the information they’re seeking and, ultimately, help their business succeed.

At TAG, it’s important to understand our clients, and their clients, so that we can create a comprehensive approach that fits everyone’s needs. Our TAG team of Google certified experts is excited to help your business grow, so let’s get started.

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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 Importance of Brand Guidelines

The Importance of Brand Guidelines

Branding guidelines, brand standards, style guides. Whatever you call them, they are an important piece of building your brand. Branding guidelines set a foundation for your brand by creating a framework to operate in that’s consistent no matter what medium you choose.

So what are brand guidelines? Branding guides consist of essential rules for how to craft the visual pieces of your brand including typography, imagery, photography, logo usage, image style and more depending on the size and need of your business. These guidelines should point your communication toward your target audience with a consistent look and feel.

Consistency is vital in maintaining brand integrity. A guideline helps you maintain integrity by maintaining consistency in your branding efforts. And consistency makes you more recognizable in the market, assisting in building the way your brand is perceived. A guide plays an important role in perception. Every touch point between your brand and your audience should be used to reinforce a consistent perception.

Deviating from your guidelines can be harmful to your brand. Straying from your guidelines, be it typeface, color palette or tone, makes it harder to recognize your brand in the market. Not to mention it can make your brand look unprofessional. Consistency among all of your brand’s communications should always be your goal.

It’s easy to think that you can put off creating branding guidelines until a later date, but it’s important to start building that foundation right away. By using brand guidelines, you ensure that there’s an organized, cohesive approach to the points of engagement and communication with your audience that creates consistency in your communication.

At TAG, we recommend brand guidelines to all of our clients. Does your brand need help creating a guideline? Visit our website today to see how we can help grow your brand!

TAG Team Highlight: Jordan Kremer

TAG Team Highlight: Jordan Kremer

Who’s Google Analytics and AdWords certified and ready to take your online marketing to the next level? Jordan Kremer, TAG’s Associate Digital Analyst!

“ I come up with strategies to get consumers to our clients’ websites and analyze what they do once they’re on the website,” said Jordan. “I enjoy the challenge of learning new things. Since Google is a constantly evolving marketing platform, it gives us the flexibility and challenge to create new, innovative campaigns that drive results.”

“The best part of Google AdWords is how specific it can get—it’s all data-driven.”

Originally from Cedar Rapids, Jordan graduated from St. Ambrose University with a degree in Business Marketing and Management.

“I love the location of the Quad Cities—it’s a short trip to Iowa City for a game, or a weekend in Chicago with friends.”

When Jordan isn’t at TAG performing the duties of a Google Master, you can find him working out or reading. His latest literary find? Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin  (the book, not the show …).

You’ll also spot him at Van’s in Davenport, throwing back some beverages and buffalo chicken dip.

A lover of Halloween, Jordan can also juggle three things at a time (see below!).
Jordan Juggles

Where does Jordan see himself in five years?

“In five years, I’d like to be graduated with an MBA to advance myself in my career. I’ve always had an interest in venture capital as well.”

 

For more information on Jordan, and the role he performs at TAG, visit our website!

 

Reasons Your Website Needs to be Responsive

Reasons Your Website Needs to be Responsive

With the majority of people using mobile devices to access the Internet, websites that work across numerous platforms have become increasingly more important.

Mobile websites can be designed in two different ways; developing a responsive design, or using a mobile template.  If you have a significant amount of web traffic from mobile devices, the difference between the two options is definitely something you should consider. A mobile template requires a mobile-only website or subdomain built specifically for your site, meaning that the website will not adjust based on the size of the screen it is being viewed on. On the other hand, a responsive design means the web pages being viewed will reformat on their own to adjust to the size of the screen the website is being viewed on.

GoogleNo End to Mobile Usage in Sight
Did you know that 58 percent of people search for local businesses on their smartphone or mobile device at least once a day? And 89 percent of people search once or more a week? That’s huge! In 2015, more searches were done on a mobile device than on a desktop. So what does this mean for you? It means that now is the time to update your website using a responsive design. 

Positive and Timely Experience for Users is Key
Sometimes, the first impression a customer has of your business is by way of your mobile website. A positive user experience is important. In fact, there is a 61 percent chance that a user will leave your site immediately and go to a competitor’s page if they can’t find what they are looking for. A positive mobile experience results in a 67 percent higher chance that the consumer will make a purchase, especially if they can easily search for and find what they are looking for on-the-go.

Websites generally take more time to load on mobile devices and are more difficult to read when designed with just a mobile template. With a responsive web design, web content is reorganized, rather than resized, and optimally loads in under two seconds. Bottom line, utilizing a responsive web design is the most effective way to make the most of mobile traffic, as well as provide the best experience to users.

Mobile Social Media
In 2015, over 73 percent of Americans were active on social media platforms, with 55 percent of time spent on social media sites being done on a mobile device. If your company is sharing content that links back to your website without a responsive website design, you’re going to experience three things; high bounce rates, low conversion rates, and frustrated followers—none of which are good for your business. Social media isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. In order to excel in the mobile world, mobile-friendly, responsive websites are a necessity— especially as we move forward into 2016.

SEO
It’s no surprise that Google prefers websites with responsive designs over mobile templates. Creating a mobile website also means creating a URL separate from the desktop version, whereas a responsive design doesn’t need a URL separate from the desktop version. One URL makes it easier for Google to crawl your website and minimize on-page errors. And while improving your SEO won’t happen overnight, creating or improving your mobile website is a step in the right direction.

 

Is your website mobile friendly? At TAG, we can help you with all aspects of your website, including making it mobile responsive. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today or visit our website to get started!

You’re in love with your new website. Now what?

Website Traffic photo

The day you have your website built and launched might be one of the best days of your life. But don’t let yourself slack off during the honeymoon phase. There is some serious work to be done to drive traffic to your new site and make an impact in your market.

Be sure to put yourself out there

You know how everyone loves posting their big life events on their social platforms? Do that with your website. It’s a big life event in the timeline of your business, and that’s something you can justifiably brag about. Link to your site through email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other meaningful social platforms.

Word to the wise: Embed your YouTube videos on your homepage to increase your chances of being found organically through search engines.

Pay to play in the digital marketplace

Don’t underestimate the power of cash when it comes to digital traffic. Google Adwords, display ads and even ads on social media take your messaging beyond the limited scope of organic reach. Use a variety of designs and messages to reach targeted audiences and drive traffic to website content relevant to them.

Word to the wise: Marketing budgets are allocating more money to digital marketing each year. Be competitive in the marketplace by promoting your website with audience-enhancing ads.

Know the effect you have on your audience

Keep tabs on your website traffic with tools like Google Analytics. Note where your audience is coming from by monitoring referrals and search terms, and watch which messages gain you the most traffic. This is a strategic way to know what your audience is interested in and what makes your website relevant to them.

Word to the wise: Set goals for traffic—decide which pages you want to see traffic on, how much traffic you want on those pages and how many inbound marketing leads or e-commerce purchases you consider successful in a set increment of time, whether it’s one week or one month. Use digital methods to work toward those trackable goals!

Participate in active listening

Stay responsive to your audience. A digital relationship is something that takes ongoing work—don’t let yourself go just because your site is live. If you treat your website as a “set it and forget it” asset, you’re missing out on opportunities—and revenue! Tweak content and messaging according to your analytical feedback to keep things fresh and relevant.

Word to the wise: Use matching design elements across your website, social platforms, print and broadcast media in order to preserve your brand, but keep your branded content and campaigns dynamic and exciting month over month.

 

TAG understands new website infatuation, but we’re in it for the long haul with our clients. Think of us as your digital relationship counselor. From driving website traffic to creating complete marketing plans, feel free to reach out to the TAG team when your digital presence needs that extra something sprinkled in!

Show me your site map

You wouldn’t build a house without a blueprint, would you?

Building a website requires the same thought, planning and structure as building a house and having a site map before development starts is the easiest way to ensure the website you envisioned is the site that’s produced.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s a site map?” A site map is a document that outlines the structure, or blueprint, of your website, which allows you to visually understand the framework that holds your design and content together.

Site Map Sample

Before you proceed with the design and development of your website, make sure you have a site map in hand. A benefit that TAG offers to our clients, a site map is imperative to your success for three reasons:

Understanding the structure of your website
Where is your contact information stored? What pages have in-bound marketing? How do people find your company history? All of this information is housed on your site map, giving you the ultimate breakdown of how your website is laid out, where to find content and how the end user will experience everything your site offers.

By laying it out from the start, you can be sure everything that needs to be included makes it into the site and avoid surprises or oversights later.

Understanding the functionality of your site
Having a complete understanding of how your website functions is key to knowing how customers will interact with your content. This is especially handy when in-bound marketing is involved. Your site map will show you where in the process your customer will receive a confirmation email when information is submitted, how they connect with your social networks and where they will be presented with opportunities for ecommerce and email marketing.

Having this laid out in the site map in advance forces you to think through and coordinate functions across the site before development is underway so that you and the user get the most out of your site when it’s finished.

Understanding the scope of your project ($$$!)
Let’s face it, dollars matter. The only true way to know that the dollar amount on an estimate matches the work put into your website is to have it all laid out. Remember those potential surprises and oversights that could crop up without a site map? Those can add up over the course of development if the client and developer are on different pages as the site is being built.

For an accurate estimate in terms of time and expense, a site map is a must!

 

TAG saves everyone a headache down the road by taking the time to sit down with our clients and plan out a site map that includes the site structure, functions and scope. Projecting a vision for the site and nailing down the details in a site map is the best way to ensure a quality product that meets and exceeds expectations!

To download our free Web Development Services Checklist and learn more about our web design process, visit our website!