TAG! You’re It!

Meet Zach O’Connell! ZO_3

Zach recently celebrated his two-year anniversary at TAG and has been creating inventive designs and eating oatmeal every morning but today, we ask him about his creative process and other thought-provoking questions.

If you had to describe yourself using a kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?

I am a knife because of how sharp I am.

What helps you get into that creative space to design?

I am most creative when I am able to really focus on what I’m doing with a clear mind, so I will do things like go on a walk during my lunch break to help me get into that space. I also do a lot of sketching quickly, get a lot of ideas out before taking it to the computer.

You have a time machine. You can go back to any time period to have dinner and conversation with 3 people. Who are they and why?

First, I would pick Walt Disney to hear about the humble beginnings of what has become a massive company.

Second, I would pick one of my ancestors like my great great grandfather because I don’t know really anything about them and it would be interesting to learn more about where I come from.

Third, Steve Jobs, because I could hear about the early days of Apple, but more importantly, I hope he would be able to tell me about the early days of Pixar as well.

Tell me one thing about design that everyone outside of that world might not understand?

How valuable it is.  A lot of work goes into making things look good and function well, and it can have a massive impact on how we interact with the world around us.

You find yourself trapped in the board game Jumanji, do you think you survive or is it Game Over? giphy

Am I allowed to watch the movie before entering the game, so I can remember how to get out? Regardless, I’ll make it out.

What are your 3 favorite projects you have worked on at TAG? 

Three of my favorite projects I’ve worked on are: Logo and website design for Smokestack, packaging re-design for Hungry Hobo, and I still think it’s cool when I see Genesis buses driving around town with artwork I created on them.

When is your ideal bed time?

I used to be a pretty devoted 11:00 pm guy, but recently I have been getting up earlier and have transitioned to more of a 10:00 pm person (sometimes it’s more like 9:30. Teenage me would be shocked).

Finally, what is your favorite part about working at TAG?  

My favorite part about working at TAG is getting to be creative with a great team every day!

TAG To Open Des Moines Branch Office

47577626_2630691396948486_3214311747179511808_nDavenport, December 5…TAG CEO, Mike Vondran, announced today the Quad Cities-based marketing and advertising organization will expand to Des Moines in January 2019. “We believe the market is ready,” says Vondran. “Our ‘brand-focused’ approach to marketing, combined with our expertise in both the latest digital and more traditional tactics has earned TAG a growing base of clients. Many of these organizations want to expand to new markets and we want to help them succeed in that effort. Moreover, we believe there’s significant unmet demand in the Des Moines region for a true full-service agency, providing ‘one-stop’ brand marketing support.”

The new TAG office will be located at 100 East Grand Avenue in the East Village/Capitol Hill area of Des Moines. “This new location will serve as a ‘home base’ for TAG operations in Polk and neighboring counties,” says Vondran. “Already, TAG brand management staff is working with clients throughout central Iowa, including Clarke, Mahaska, Marion and Polk Counties.

According to Vondran, the new location will also improve the organization’s ability to meet the state government relations needs of current and prospective TAG clients. Vondran adds, “Today’s more savvy clients recognize the value of a comprehensive branding program that includes web-based social media, traditional advertising and promotions programs, and an effective ‘influencer’ strategy that includes trade associations, community organizations and federal, state and local government relations.”

In addition to its current headquarters in downtown Davenport, TAG also maintains an office in Dubuque, serving clients in that tri-state market.

TAG! You’re It!

Meet Emily Field!

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If you had to describe yourself using three inanimate objects, what would they be?

A house plant – I’m always looking for ways to grow, both personally and professionally. Plus, in this cold Iowa weather, you won’t catch me dead outside.

A planner – Organization is my middle name, or so I think it should be.

Laffy taffy – I think laughter is the best medicine out there, next to red wine, of course. Plus, I’m a total sweet tooth!

So, Emily, we hear you have a dog by the name of Pierce. If you could dress Pierce up in any costume what would it be?

You know how everyone claims they have the best dog?! I find it hard to believe! Clearly, they haven’t met Pierce. Recently, Pierce dressed up as a Beanie Baby for Halloween! I don’t know about you, but I sure thought he looked like one handsome fella!

Pierce

TAG sends you on an airplane over the Pacific to have a meeting with a client. The plane malfunctions leaving you on a deserted island. You have one book, one movie, and one other object with you. What are they?

  • The Woman in Cabin 10. If you haven’t picked this page-turner up, do so immediately!
  • Do nine seasons of The Office count as one movie?
  • Of course, Pierce. Someone has to keep me company!

Finally, what is your favorite part about working at TAG?

The list really does go on and on. Every day I come to work I learn something new and am challenged to think in fresh, new ways for each and every one of our clients. Every member of the creative team surrounds me with constant support – they really are my own set of personal cheerleaders!

How to Create a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

You start your day getting up, showering, brushing your teeth, grabbing a cup of coffee on the run and finally making it to the office. What’s the first thing you do? Check your email. We all do it. In fact, the average office worker receives 120 emails every day! With so much to sift through, a lot of emails can get lost in the shuffle. Create a successful email marketing strategy to keep your company top-of-mind and to engage with both current and prospective customers.

Create Segmented Email Lists

Have you been sending every email to every person who’s ever subscribed to your emails? Yikes! It’s time for that to change. To continue to build your email lists you can solicit subscriptions on your website and social sites. But, instead of simply having an individual provide their name and email address, create a more robust form. After they provide the basics, ask additional questions to get to know the customer. How often do they want to receive emails from you? What are they interested in hearing about from your business? What do their buying habits look like? Questions like this will allow for you to create separate email lists and speak directly to their interests when crafting your emails, increasing your chances of conversion.

Establish Your End Goal

Before you begin writing your email, start by figuring out what it is that you want your audience to do. Are you looking to increase traffic to your website? Attend an event? Write a review? Then, what does a successful campaign look like for that specific objective? Not only will this strategy help you to write your send, but it will also prove to be beneficial when it comes the measuring its success and showing real, measurable ROI.

Content Creation

Once you’ve established a goal for your email, writing will be a breeze! Make sure the content provides your audience with enough information to pique their interest, but short enough to where they aren’t reading paragraphs. Call-to-action buttons (Learn More, Contact Us, RSVP, Book An Appointment, etc.) are particularly helpful in inciting action from your audience while increasing the chances of a click-through to a website or other landing page. Make the content as personal as possible. Sprinkle in verbiage that makes your audience feel like you’re just talking to them, as opposed to the hundreds of people on your list.

Mind Your Design

When writing your email, incorporate as much of your brand as possible – i.e. logos, color schemes, fonts, etc. so that it’s an accurate representation of your brand standards and so that your audience can identify that the email is from you and isn’t spam. Before you go ahead and schedule your email or press “send,” send a preview to yourself and view it on a mobile device, desktop and tablet to catch any formatting issues proactively rather than retroactively.

Consistency is Key

Remember when we were creating segmented email lists and asked our audience how often they’d like to hear from us? Well, it’s time to make good on those requests. Some people may want to hear from you once every week, while others may opt for less frequent communication. Or, if you can’t commit to sending more than a couple emails every month, tell them! It’s important to set a clear expectation up front and then follow through.

Analyze

Email isn’t something you can “set and forget.” Every month, sit down and look at how each individual email performed. What were your open, delivery, and click-through rates? Does certain content receive more engagement than others? What kind of devices is your audience using to open and view your emails on? Do certain times of the (AM/PM) day have an effect on email performance? After each send, take a look at your email’s data and draw some conclusions in order to determine the most valuable content for your consumers and your business.

Want more? Let’s talk! TAG’s Digital Media Team can help you in all areas of Email Marketing – from design and email list creation to copy, and beyond!

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Digital Tactics


Often, the biggest hurdle for advertisers is making sure that the right message is seen by the right people at the right time. And over the years, advertisers and marketers have developed and implemented creepy, but cool, ways to make that happen through the use of different digital tactics.

Digital targeting takes on many different forms and can be executed multiple ways – it really just depends on what’s best for your message and your target audience. Below are five digital tactics that the TAG team has found extremely effective.

1. Mobile Targeting

Advertisers have the ability to target their intended audience through their mobile devices. Targeting ads on a mobile device are cool because you can capture, or target, people who have visited your competitors – online or in-store – with your messaging. Mobile targeting also allows you to vary your messages by time of day, what they’ve searched for online, or what’s happening with the weather!

2. YouTube

Bumper ads are the 6-second, non-skippable ads that play before a user’s video on YouTube. Because of their length, bumper ads are great for building brand awareness and they act as a nice reinforcement for other digital strategies. Another digital tactic we love is YouTube TrueView which are longer in length and more educational than a bumper ad. TrueView ads are connected to Google, meaning you can get extremely granular with your targeting because it knows your audience’s search history and patterns. Just be careful your messages don’t become too targeted because you may miss someone in the upper funnel.

3. Native Advertising

Native ads are great because they take on the form of whatever website a user is visiting, making your advertisement come across as less intrusive and more conversational. Click-through-rates for native ads can perform up to 10x higher than other display ads, just make sure that your ad doesn’t come off as click-bait.

4. ConnectedTV

Connected TV is defined as a television set that is connected to the internet via built-in capabilities, a media streaming device, gaming console, or Blu-ray player, and facilitates the delivery of streaming video content. As of right now, there are three different ways to advertise on ConnectedTV: in-stream video, interactive pre-roll and home screen placements.

Creepy but cool, right?! What’s even crazier is that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital advertising tactics! If you’re wanting to take your digital strategy to the next level, drop the TAG team a line and let’s talk.

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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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How to Utilize Pinterest to Grow Your Business

How to Utilize Pinterest to Grow Your Business

Currently, there are over 100 million active users on Pinterest. That means that there are more than 100 million users who could potentially interact and engage with your content. What has turned into the go-to place for individuals to collect and organize everything they love, now offers businesses an ideal platform to showcase and market their products—especially if their products are visually appealing. Could your business benefit from Pinterest? Keep reading to find out!

Advantages of Pinterest over other social platforms

  1. Pins have a longer lifespan than posts or tweets: Because over 80 percent of pins are classified as “re-pins”—compared to 1.4 percent of tweets that are re-tweeted—pins have the potential to reach more users over a longer period of time. While the average lifespan of a tweet or Facebook post is measured in minutes or hours, the average pin can come up in user searches months or years after it was originally pinned. And because Pinterest is commonly used to help users plan for big life events—like a wedding, baby or new home—pins chosen by these users are likely to be active for longer periods of time.
  2. Search with Lens: Pinterest is trying to close the gap between its app and the real world, and it’s that much closer to doing so with Lens – a search function that allows users to upload pictures of items from their camera roll or in real-time and will, in turn, deliver like items or ideas. For example, you see some lady at lunch wearing these shoes that you just have to have. Take a picture of them, upload it to Pinterest using Lens, and Pinterest will find items that look like those shoes and will even populate other clothing items that would pair well. Or, if you’re at home and you’re wanting to make dinner with a particular spice, take a photo of it and then upload it through Lens to get recipes that include that ingredient! Lens makes it easier for both you and your customers to find what they’re looking for. The easier it is for your customers to find you, the easier it is to make the sale.
  3. Drive consumer purchasing behavior: Because Pinterest is visual by nature, businesses can use their products to catch the eye of potential consumers with fun, visually-engaging content. Pinterest acts as a product review platform, shopping catalog and customer advice column all in one convenient location, which means that (if done correctly) businesses can market their products and close deals all in one space. In fact, 25 percent of customers reported buying a product or service after discovering it on Pinterest, and admitted to only buying products once they could see the product in real life settings—like through photos on Pinterest!
  4. You set the terms: Thanks to its pinning board capabilities, Pinterest allows businesses to get as specific or as broad as they would like. You can set up a tightly defined board that only covers one product or service that you offer, or you can create general lifestyle boards—the choice is yours. Users also have the power to follow only the boards that they are interested in, which makes Pinterest more appealing because it does not require an “all-or-nothing” attitude—like Facebook or Twitter.

Is Pinterest right for your business?

  1. Visual appeal: Are you selling a product? Is it a visually-appealing product? Do you have high-quality, web-ready photos of your products? If the answer is yes, yes and yes, then chances are, Pinterest is right for your business. The trick to a sound Pinterest presence is quality over quantity. Remember, if you want your audience to engage with and respond positively to your photos, you must make sure your photos are clear, concise and of the highest quality.
  2. Gender split: Is your target market mostly female? 85 percent of current Pinterest users are female, so if your business predominantly targets women, Pinterest is the place for you.
  3. Industry dominant: Just like all marketing platforms, certain industries will benefit more from one platform than others. Due to its visual nature, industries that benefit from Pinterest include fashion, event planning, home and lifestyle, flooring and health and beauty.
  4. Social presence: Does your business already have a Facebook or Twitter account? Pinterest works best if you are able to cross promote your boards or pins on various social platforms, so before you create a Pinterest account, make sure you’re up and running on other social platforms, as well.

Pinterest is a wonderful tool businesses can utilize to capture their audiences’ attention, and communicate with essential target markets—plus, it’s fun! Here at TAG, we love Pinterest, and we’re ready to help you utilize its capabilities to its fullest potential to help your business skyrocket in the marketplace. Are you ready to become a Pin-master? Contact us today!

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!