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Branding is the Convergence of Language and Intent

At 92 West one of our core focuses is on the
convergence of language and brand. If you are looking for a proven partner to help guide you through the waters of branding your firm then we would be happy to talk on your goals and what problems you are facing with your existing identity.

Need more information on what branding is? Great!

With brand development we key on multiple angles of approach, but really it boils down to six key aspects.

  1. Naming
  2. Strategy & Story
  3. Copywriting
  4. Brand Messaging
  5. Brand Voice
  6. Taglines

Naming. It’s a must to get it right the first time.

Why does a name matter?

Your brand name lies at the center of everything your business entails which is why it’s important that you get it right from the onset. This is how others identify with your firm or perhaps you personally. Frankly, you don’t want to get into a situation where you’re forced to change it later as this can pose quite a significant challenge to your business and how customers perceive you.

At
92 West, we help you in all types of brand name development including naming companies, events, services, campaigns and more. This has seen us get involved in naming numerous brands for nearly all sectors in different parts of the nation.

Below are the seven key steps we follow in our naming – although we are often flexible and can thus alter the process depending on particular client’s needs.

Branding Brief

This involves getting some basic info and materials needed from the client as regards to what we’re naming.

Discovery

We conduct competition analysis, craft a naming strategy before getting down to brainstorming.

Discuss and Verify

Here, we get back to the client and share with them our findings and the strategy we aim to adopt going forward. This helps to ensure that we’re on the same page.

Brand Development

At this stage, we unleash our creative magic. With this, we’re able to generate lots of names to choose from.

Screening

Once we’ve compiled a list of possible names, we screen them for linguistic viability, URL availability, as well as trademarks.

Present

We formally present all the viable names while also explaining how each can be used optimally.

Finalize

Finally, we let you make the final decision. Still, we’re available anytime you need our counsel.

Keeping your Options Open

We’ve always aimed to remain as flexible as possible which is why we are able to fit most budgets, projects, and timing. With that in mind we offer a variety of services including linguistic disaster checks, culture acceptability evaluations among others and can connect you with the appropriate parties to do global trademark screening . This way, we’re able to help you step into the market with the strongest brand possible.

Strategies and Stories

At
92 West, we’re of the opinion that your brand’s essence entails your worldview, personality, promise, and values.

Crafting Your Story

Having challenges relaying your message to the world? You’re not alone. Luckily, we’re here to help you.

Our objective is to uncover your core strengths and use your vision for your business to help you create a robust strategy that caters for all key aspects of your brand.

We’ll assist you tell it like it is…

Let’s face it. We all love engaging stories. Indeed, most of today’s cultures have been shaped by stories told thousands of years ago and passed down through generations. In the business environment, it is the unique stories brands give that help to differentiate them from their competitors.

Ours, therefore, is to guide you in strategically developing interactive stories that engage your audience, capture their hearts and communicate who you really are; thus why your brand matters.

Brand Copywriting

Let us guide you in crafting the right message, in the tone / voice, to the right target audience and at the right time.

Our Approach to Copywriting — The Road to Home

We intend to tell stories that easily engage your target audience while also defining your brand. Engaging your audience. Telling them why they should believe in you and how you differentiate yourself from the competition.

Our love for copy is why we’ve brought together a formattable team of talented writers to help you dig deep; getting to the bottom of what your communications need to be successful. Our intent is to craft words that work; polished content, story driven… content that works for your business, your website and beyond.

Helping you Achieve your Communications Objectives: How do we get there?

First, we help you formulate guiding principles to follow when building your brand and connecting with your audience. This way, you’re able to learn what really makes you tick and also understand how to make your audience choose you over the competition.

Together, we’ll unearth all your communication needs and ultimately assist you create a clear message that your audience loves.

Brand Messaging

What matters is whether your brand is able to send a message that your unique audience can relate to.

Your brand communicates to different stakeholders each day including the media, employees, and most importantly the consumers. However, you’ll hardly find a one-suit-all message for all these entities. Indeed, messaging is about finding a suitable language that engages a specific audience and ultimately remaining relevant to their unique needs.

At
92 West, we believe in helping you develop a compelling messaging strategy that aligns perfectly with your core brand values while also resonating seamlessly with your target audiences. We achieve this through organizing workshops and discussions with you as well as providing you with the right tools that enable your company communicate meaningfully across all of the key channels.

Brand Voice

How effective is your brand’s tone in capturing its unique essence and your audience attention?

Want to attract customers to your brand? Mind the voice of your brand. As such, set strategic brand voice guidelines which help you communicate in an easily recognizable tone across various channels of communication that you use.

Think of it like this… if messaging is what you say, your voice is HOW YOU SAY IT (all caps means something… it might not be right… but it’s a clear example). Is your brand warm? Clever? Cutting Edge? Calm? The way we speak often determines perception. This is true with brand communication as well; consistent tone across all points of contact.

At
92 West, we help you define how your brand speaks to your audience by creating a distinctive brand voice while that leverages a sound strategy with proven tactics; bringing your voice to life. Our ultimate goal is to enable both your internal teams and the external partners speak in one recognizable tone across all brand channels.

Taglines

How about we capture your brand’s entire story in less than four words that wow?

Looking for a tagline or slogan that consumers can easily memorize and relate to your business any time they hear it? We can assist you craft this incredibly powerful tool. With it, you’ll be able to express your vision, position your brand, or even describe what your audience can expect from your business in the fewest possible words.

Delivering Above the Obvious

Considering that each tagline project is unique in its own way, we’ve learned to always start with an open mind. In fact, for tagline development, we follow a 7-step development approach (another article for another day) that mirrors our naming process as described earlier. However, we can still tailor this process so that it fits your unique needs.

I hope this was informative and helped give shape to the overarching process that is brand development.

Now my pitch (you knew it was coming right smile)

Looking for a reputable branding partner? Check out how we can help you meet your goals by developing an approach that works with your brand and speaks the language that drives home the message that you are great and are worth action.

Give us a shout at 402.620.2633 or fill out a quick form to
request pricing and set-up a meeting. Truly to hone your message we need to understand your branding problems which will drive questions and deliver the solution.

Omaha Web Design

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Web Design: How to Craft a Compelling Call to Action for Your Website

Web Design: How to Craft a Compelling Call to Action for Your Website

One of the key components of designing an effective website is identifying (early on) the true nature of the site and how we can convert visitors into subscribers, customers or clients; the call to action. Whether your aim is to prompt users to make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter or to make certain contributions, leading the user to a conversion should be a conversation that is had early in the design phase. Truly, with an effective CTA, you’ll be able to easily offer direction to your visitors, help them focus on your offerings, and ultimately measure your website’s success.

So, how do you create a call to action that yields great results? Below we outline the 10 key techniques to help you achieve just that!

1. Ensure your call to action provides user value

Do you ever wonder why most infomercials do really well in getting people purchase goods or services? Well, the reason behind them is that they work with the buyer psychology in mind. First, they identify the problem or challenge being faced by the user before presenting them with a product/service that seeks to solve that particular issue.

In the same vein, you need to also explain the benefits your visitors get once they complete the call to action you’re presenting to them.

2. Address common concerns your user may have regarding your call to action

Let’s face it. No one wants to fill out personal or card details to an unknown website without getting concerned about the possibility of having this information misused. This is why you need to come out clear (as if reading your user’s’ mind) to clarify any form of concerns they may have. As such, always reassure them that their emails will be safe with you as well as how often they can expect to hear from you. You can also let them know that they can unsubscribe any time they deem appropriate.

3. Limit your number of call to actions per page

Like anything else, providing too many calls to action on a single page will leave your users feeling overwhelmed and possibly take no action in the end. This follows the same concept whereby studies show that the more a supermarket offers too many options, the more likely shoppers fail to buy.

As such, you need to limit your CTAs as this is proven to significantly lower your users’ mental effort.

Most importantly, try to offer a variety of calls to action depending on the goal at hand. Also, avoid using repeated or sort of “canned” phrasings that end up denting your site’s user experience.

4. The position of your CTAs matters

One of the key determinants of whether your call to actions will yield results is the position in which you place them. As such, consider having them at the top part of your website as well as on the central column. However, you’ll also need to be extra careful on the number of images of faces you use on your pages. This is because humans are generally attracted to images of faces and this can significantly lower the attention given to your call to actions on pages with such images.

In addition, try to anticipate the right time to ask your users to respond to your call to action. 

5. Leave some space around your CTA

In addition to positioning your call to action correctly, you’ll also need to leave sufficient white space around it to make it more conspicuous. Indeed, the more space you leave around it, the more attention it will get from your audience. On the other hand, clutter your CTA with lots of content and risk seeing it lose its appeal.

6. Try to use a different color for your call to action

One of the most effective ways of drawing more attention to your call to action is by playing with colors on your page. As such, consider altering its color and especially if the rest of your site has a uniform color.

7. Size really matters in CTAs

Simply put, the bigger your call to action, the higher its chances of attracting user attention. In addition, having a sizable call to action will also prompt you to create an even more compelling website copy.

8. Consider applying the concept of scarcity in your call to actions

How well you’re versed in the art of buyer psychology will determine the success of your calls to action. For example, you can consider creating a sense of urgency through limiting your supply, a strategy that has been proven to be very effective as it encourages users to act fast. No one wants to miss out for sure.

You may also consider using any of the approaches below:

  • Giving limited-time discounts
  • Explaining how quickly your products are selling out.
  • Limiting supply.

9. Make a follow-up of what users do after clicking your call to actions

So a user has responded positively to your CTA. What’s next? Well, it’s your responsibility to ensure they go on to complete the entire process e.g. fill out a contact form, make a purchase, etc. You don’t want them to abandon the process midway as this will mean your mission is yet to get completed.

Be on the lookout for any causes of abandonments including distractions which might be on your page. You can then streamline the process to ensure higher rates of conversion.

10. Include call to actions on every one of your website’s page

One of the mistakes that most webmasters commit is to have their calls to action concentrated only on their website’s homepage. CTAs need to be added to all pages, otherwise, you could be losing out on numerous leads.

As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to have different variations of calls to action on different pages to avoid boring your audience with repeated phrases. 

Wrapping Up Our CTA Tips

Having an effective call to action can make such a huge impact on your website’s overall conversion. However, in the same measure, misleading call to actions can significantly dent your brand, especially if whatever you promise doesn’t tally with the actual offerings. In most cases, this will prompt users to leave negative reviews which of course is something you want to avoid in this very competitive online space.

In addition, avoid trying to shove your CTAs down your users’ throat through the use of annoying popups and overlays. Overall, do everything in moderation while focusing more on creating positive user experience and perception. This way, you’ll be able to create a lasting brand that pays.

Want to learn more about how to increase conversions and earn more with your website? Talk to 92 West today and let us guide you on how to create calls to action that convert among many other services.

Omaha Web Design

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The Secret to Unlocking a Brand’s Personality

Brand Personality: Identify Your Brand & Create a Strategy to Empower Your Brand

One of the most effective ways to create a strong identity, whether as a personal brand, a start-up, or a well-established business, is through having a distinctive personality. Indeed, it is this personality that helps to convince users to buy from you or simply keep away from you.

So, what is brand personality?

As is the case with human personality, brand personality entails a set of unique traits that users can easily relate to on an emotional level. This is why brand personality forms such a strong ground for people to like or dislike your brand.

Having a likable personality as a brand is crucial for several reasons. First, you’re able to differentiate yourself from tens or even hundreds others offering similar services/products as you. Besides, it helps to enhance brand engagement while also pulling people to your business.

Different aspects of brand personality

1) Brand Voice and Tone

Simply put, brand voice entails the distinctive type of language you use to express your identity as a brand. This can best be seen in the way you communicate to your audience through various platforms such as email, blog, video, and even on social media. If done correctly and authentically, you’ll surely stand out from the often mediocre masses.

2) Visual Style

As studies show, more and more humans continue to record extremely short attention spans today. As such, if you want users to easily memorize your company and your brand by extension, then you need to start incorporating unforgettable visual brand and style elements in your communications. This includes various aspects of your business such as your logo designs, typography, and theme among others.

3) Brand Essence

Brand essence stands for everything your brand believes in and what it means. In a nutshell, this is its emotional heartbeat. This often ranges from how your audience feel when using your products/services to the value with which they associate your brand.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult by the day to manage how people perceive brands these days due to an influx in the number of opportunities granted to the modern consumers to interact with businesses of choice. Luckily for you, with a close dedication to your ideas, values, and brand soul, you can easily forge a unique brand essence that users can associate with your brand.

4) Brand Culture Statement

One of the key roles of having a brand culture statement is that it helps to inform your employees about their daily responsibilities while also inspiring them to put more effort towards your cause. This can help explain why a majority of brands today have adopted the culture of publicizing how they go about their internal activities; helps to make them appear more transparent and thus trustworthy.

5) Consistency

At this point, I bet that you already understand the importance of being consistent in everything you do in your quest to enhance brand awareness. With this in mind, try to uphold a consistent brand personality to encourage your customers to trust the brand more; trust is earned over time.


About 92 West’s Branding Philosophy

Stand Out from Your Competition. Get Results.

At 92 West we’ll help you craft a more enticing brand story, clarify your message to the world, and build a more appealing website that relays your brand just as it should be.

The Approach:

Ours is a holistic approach that seeks to empower your organization and give it a new lease of life. We have a brilliant team of master strategists, experienced web developers and visionary designers whose sole goal is to turn your ideas into thriving businesses. Truly, we aim to help you create a comprehensive brand that lasts.

Every Brand has a Story:

We believe every worthy brand needs to have a deeper meaning that surpasses the product/service they offer. We’re incredibly experienced in what we do and so you can rest assured that we’ll assist you in transforming your business into a world-beater.

Brand Refresh: We’re ready to bring your brand back to life!

In the end, we aim to re-calibrate your brand’s total experience to ensure it aligns itself accordingly based on various aspects such as brand identity, culture, and positioning among others.

Want to know more? Let’s talk!

About 92 West

92 West is strategically creative branding and design agency that seeks to help companies and personalities create inspiring brands. Whether you’re just starting out or are already a an established firm, we’re here to enable you!

92 West
2626 Harney Street
Suite D
Omaha, Nebraska 68131
t. 402.620.2633
http://www.92west.com

Strategically Creative
branding + design + web + apps + seo

Demo Reel:
https://youtu.be/eJbxtX6jxJY

Omaha Web Design

92WEST-OUR-WORK.jpg

How To Build an Objective-Driven SEO Strategy

You or your web guy might ask themselves “How can a I create an effective SEO strategy that has a lasting impact?”; knowing that there are at least 500 Google algorithm updates being made annually? Great question!

Well, it would only safe to say that there’s no one-fit-all answer for this question. We all know that a profitable SEO strategy is one that’s able to bring in conversions and other tangible results to your business. And to achieve this, the first (and possibly most important thing) you need to do is to define the purpose of your business and spell out the objectives you’re hoping to accomplish. This way, you will be able to measure your success more objectively since there’s more to SEO than just keyword ranking.

According to the Google Search Quality Guidelines issued in November 2015, the main role of task search quality evaluators is to determine the purpose of a site and figure out whether it meets its intended purpose. This document gives us an insight on just how much Google is keen on understanding websites and their impact on intended users. As Matt Cutts (Google’s former head of web spam) stated in 2014, Google’s main purpose is to yield great search results for its users. 

Building a Successful SEO Strategy

As explained, the first step in building a successful SEO strategy is to identify and define the purpose of your site. Everything else is dependent on this.

Different webmasters create their sites for various reasons. Let’s outline some of them below:

  • To contribute information about various topics.
  • To express viewpoints and opinions.
  • To market products or services.
  • For entertainment.
  • For sharing files and software.
  • For inquiries and feedback on various things.

This list goes to prove that the purpose of a site is what helps to determine its SEO strategy. For this reason, if your website seeks to serve multiple purposes such as marketing products, or services and sharing files, then defining the objective of each section of the site will help steer your business in the right direction.

But, what’s next after defining the purpose? There are plenty of things to consider especially when searching for keyword ranking that generate the right traffic on your site.

Back in March, Andrey Lipattsev who works for Google said that the search engine’s algorithm utilizes RankBrain, content, and links as the primary ranking signals.

However, considering that a lot still remains unknown as regards RankBrain, we’ll just focus more on what we’re sure about- links and content.

Good, Relevant Content

Content is the fundamental reason people visit any website. Indeed, this is the reason it remains king when it comes to SEO. Your site’s objective will determine the nature of your content. It is, therefore, very important for your intended audience to connect with it since it is one of the central factors of ranking.

Most people who perform searches online are making inquiries. They are trying to find solutions for their problems, keeping up with the latest trends across the world, seeking entertainment, and the list continues.

When creating SEO content, therefore, you need to factor in the inquiries that your target audience is making and provide valuable and comprehensive answers to them. A good understanding of this will give you a clue of your intended users and the keywords they use to search for answers. In my opinion, a good keyword should focus on the user and not on traffic. Heavy traffic does not necessarily mean relevance.

The keywords should reflect the general purpose and objective of the site. This will put your SEO strategy in context and guarantee that the traffic you receive on your site is from people that are interested in being on your site and interacting with you.

Below are some best practices to use when researching a keyword.

Selecting the Right Keywords

Your brand should form the basis of your keyword strategy. The keywords should be focused on your brand, product or service generates traffic from those who may have a remote know-how of what you do. 

After compiling a list of keywords based on your brand, you can find relevant terms by combing through your competitors’ content as well as your own site. Tools like Google Trends and sites such as Quora will help you understand the kind of content that people are searching for. You can also find prospective customers on the vibrant social sites.

You can then use a research tool to verify traffic and competition for your list of keywords. In summary:

  • Identify keywords related to your brand.
  • Search through your content as well as that of your competitors for additional keywords.
  • Compile a list and check it against a research tool.

Effective Link Building Strategy

Backlinks play an important role in any SEO strategy. Due to their effectiveness, most people have been using them to cheat the system which ends up giving them a bad reputation.

Thankfully, Google is pretty effective at identifying and penalizing anyone trying to use link building spams to get rankings. However, link building should not be ignored as it is an effective way of directing relevant traffic to your site. An effective strategy for building links makes good use of context, not just content. Any link needs to make sense and so you must consider both the content and context for an effective link-building strategy.

For you to achieve significant success with links, the first thing you need to focus on is to offer valuable and useful content on your site. Reach out to relevant sites in your area of specialization and build relevant links. If your site has great content, trust me you will receive links to it. As such, after coming up with useful content, promote it to relevant sites and industries and be consistent while at it. Building effective links takes time. Please note that you should not focus on only the number of backlinks that can earn you more money. Rather, your main focus should be on the quality of the backlinks.

Identify Your Objective and Work to Achieve It

In an increasingly cutthroat online world, sites that focus on building a strong base and creating value for their intended users are the ones that will achieve durable success.

Defining the objective of your site and using that as a basis for creating your search strategy will enable you to not only achieve your goals but also impress your audience and make your backlinks more valuable.

Are you struggling to create a rewarding SEO strategy for your business? Please don’t hesitate to reach us here at 92 West to find out how we can assist you get your business out there and your goals achieved!

Omaha Web Design

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Tips on Developing a Digital Marketing / Media Strategy for 2017

Digital Marketing Essentials for Developing an Effective Media Strategy

Statistics show that more people are watching online videos on YouTube and other related media platforms with the trend expected to grow even more throughout 2017. Thankfully, technology is making this even easier to implement through the use of standard professional software, but also through basic applications you can leverage on your smartphone or tablet. For this post, I’ve listed several effective ways in which you can utilize these opportunities and promote visibility for your brand or clients; which will promote growth!

Focus on Mobile

Despite featuring small screens, mobile gadgets can help to create deep and personal connections between brands and their intended audience. Frankly, research has shown that ads running on a smartphone / tablet can play quite a significant role in growing audience reach. In one of resent client campaigns, we found out that over 40 percent of its campaign’s reach came from audiences using mobile; and with specifying the audience’s prior purchase history we were able to maximize sales.

So, mobile ads can provide overwhelming results and should prominently feature in your media plan. 

Geofencing. Demographics. Online Purchasing Habits… it’s all there for you to take advantage of while you are planning your next campaign.

Please note that if your campaign doesn’t have a sound strategy for acquiring the lead / sale once they’ve been lead to the final landing page, your results (and sales) will reflect this failure… which brings us to optimizing your content.

Optimize Your Content for Your Audience’s Needs

One of the main strengths of 92 West lies in our ability to assist you pinpoint the audience that has shown the most interest in your brand.

For example, we found out that viewers are twenty-three times more likely to visit a brand channel, watch more of the brand, share videos of the brand, or subscribe to its channel if they completed a minimum of two ads; maximizing exposure and allowing for us to develop a control peice.

Popularity of content and engagement levels should, however, be considered by advertisers seeking to reach audiences interested in specific genres of content. Studies show that there’s a higher possibility for brand lift for adverts running more engaging content.

Brands can easily access YouTube’s most popular channels and their ardent fans since the channels are aggregated into lineups by Google Preferred, which also provides your digital marketing campaigns with additional reach. To optimize results on YouTube, Google Preferred, Facebook and Instagram should be used along each other.

Incorporate Affinity Targeting in Demographic Targeting 

An effective media plan should be able to help you connect with the right audience. And while targeting a specific demography is very important, factoring in affinity segments enables you to target people who are even more engaging and qualified, based on their interests, needs, and habits.

Affinity audiences can grant you a massive reach and increase your brand awareness on mobile. When used together, the combination of both affinity targeting and demographic targeting has been proven to have profound reach as shown in the findings below: 

– Higher levels of brand awareness

Adverts that utilized both demographic and affinity targeting better reached audiences that had prior awareness of the brand.

– More view-through rates

This is the number of clicks advertisers receive on their ads, divided by the number of impressions. The audience reached was more inclined to watch the ad rather than skip it.

– A 5% growth in relative lift in Ad recall

This was when it was compared to when the ads incorporated only demographic targeting alone.

With a least 80 unique affinity audiences on YouTube, consider combining affinity targeting with your demographic specifications to maximize the impact of your campaigns. 

Combine YouTube and TV

Powerful video ads are only as effective as the strategy used for their distribution. As such, it’s important to spread out your video ads across the platforms to reach as many people as possible and optimize the impact of your campaigns.

Research has revealed that video campaigns that incorporate YouTube and TV ads achieve much higher results. For example, it was found that that skippable ad formats were more effective in promoting brand awareness and ad recall from one paid view on YouTube and a single appearance on TV than when featured twice on TV.

The same research found out that advertising on both YouTube and TV can help increase your brand reach to people aged between 18 and 49 by at least 56%. This, therefore, explains why YouTube and TV are such a powerful combination that be incorporated in any marketing campaigns for maximum results.

It is our hope that the above pointers will help make it easy for you to devise an effective media strategy for 2017. As usual, if you need any assistance on digital marketing for your business, be sure to check with us here at 92 West and we’ll be quick to guide you. Contact us today at 402.620.2633!

Some Video Editing / Creation Tools!

There are litterally hundreds / thousands of apps that can do video editing…. so I’ve only listed a few that we’ve leveraged on the fly here.  They are quick, easy and cost under $10.00 each.

VidLab: Cool app that allows you to generate a slideshow or a video and has some nice in-app purchases available.
Adobe Spark Post: Easy to make animated gifs and marketing materials for any platform.
Abobe Spark Video: A great story telling app with a built in recorder to assist you promote any product / service.

Omaha Web Design

92WEST-OUR-WORK.jpg

Tips on Developming a Digital Marketing / Media Strategy for 2017

Digital Marketing Essentials for Developing an Effective Media Strategy

Statistics show that more people are watching online videos on YouTube and other related media platforms with the trend expected to grow even more throughout 2017. Thankfully, technology is making this even easier to implement through the use of standard professional software, but also through basic applications you can leverage on your smartphone or tablet. For this post, I’ve listed several effective ways in which you can utilize these opportunities and promote visibility for your brand or clients; which will promote growth!

Focus on Mobile

Despite featuring small screens, mobile gadgets can help to create deep and personal connections between brands and their intended audience. Frankly, research has shown that ads running on a smartphone / tablet can play quite a significant role in growing audience reach. In one of resent client campaigns, we found out that over 40 percent of its campaign’s reach came from audiences using mobile; and with specifying the audience’s prior purchase history we were able to maximize sales.

So, mobile ads can provide overwhelming results and should prominently feature in your media plan. 

Geofencing. Demographics. Online Purchasing Habits… it’s all there for you to take advantage of while you are planning your next campaign.

Please note that if your campaign doesn’t have a sound strategy for acquiring the lead / sale once they’ve been lead to the final landing page, your results (and sales) will reflect this failure… which brings us to optimizing your content.

Optimize Your Content for Your Audience’s Needs

One of the main strengths of 92 West lies in our ability to assist you pinpoint the audience that has shown the most interest in your brand.

For example, we found out that viewers are twenty-three times more likely to visit a brand channel, watch more of the brand, share videos of the brand, or subscribe to its channel if they completed a minimum of two ads; maximizing exposure and allowing for us to develop a control peice.

Popularity of content and engagement levels should, however, be considered by advertisers seeking to reach audiences interested in specific genres of content. Studies show that there’s a higher possibility for brand lift for adverts running more engaging content.

Brands can easily access YouTube’s most popular channels and their ardent fans since the channels are aggregated into lineups by Google Preferred, which also provides your digital marketing campaigns with additional reach. To optimize results on YouTube, Google Preferred, Facebook and Instagram should be used along each other.

Incorporate Affinity Targeting in Demographic Targeting 

An effective media plan should be able to help you connect with the right audience. And while targeting a specific demography is very important, factoring in affinity segments enables you to target people who are even more engaging and qualified, based on their interests, needs, and habits.

Affinity audiences can grant you a massive reach and increase your brand awareness on mobile. When used together, the combination of both affinity targeting and demographic targeting has been proven to have profound reach as shown in the findings below: 

– Higher levels of brand awareness

Adverts that utilized both demographic and affinity targeting better reached audiences that had prior awareness of the brand.

– More view-through rates

This is the number of clicks advertisers receive on their ads, divided by the number of impressions. The audience reached was more inclined to watch the ad rather than skip it.

– A 5% growth in relative lift in Ad recall

This was when it was compared to when the ads incorporated only demographic targeting alone.

With a least 80 unique affinity audiences on YouTube, consider combining affinity targeting with your demographic specifications to maximize the impact of your campaigns. 

Combine YouTube and TV

Powerful video ads are only as effective as the strategy used for their distribution. As such, it’s important to spread out your video ads across the platforms to reach as many people as possible and optimize the impact of your campaigns.

Research has revealed that video campaigns that incorporate YouTube and TV ads achieve much higher results. For example, it was found that that skippable ad formats were more effective in promoting brand awareness and ad recall from one paid view on YouTube and a single appearance on TV than when featured twice on TV.

The same research found out that advertising on both YouTube and TV can help increase your brand reach to people aged between 18 and 49 by at least 56%. This, therefore, explains why YouTube and TV are such a powerful combination that be incorporated in any marketing campaigns for maximum results.

It is our hope that the above pointers will help make it easy for you to devise an effective media strategy for 2017. As usual, if you need any assistance on digital marketing for your business, be sure to check with us here at 92 West and we’ll be quick to guide you. Contact us today at 402.620.2633!

Some Video Editing / Creation Tools!

There are litterally hundreds / thousands of apps that can do video editing…. so I’ve only listed a few that we’ve leveraged on the fly here.  They are quick, easy and cost under $10.00 each.

VidLab: Cool app that allows you to generate a slideshow or a video and has some nice in-app purchases available.
Adobe Spark Post: Easy to make animated gifs and marketing materials for any platform.
Abobe Spark Video: A great story telling app with a built in recorder to assist you promote any product / service.

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Our Technical SEO Checklist

Organic and PPC SEO / SEM Checklist

Technical SEO plays quite a pivotal role in optimized search engine rankings. Indeed, proper implementation of its strategies can help make your site technically perfect and ultimately boost your traffic.

So, what does technical SEO entail?

Technical SEO refers to practices applied on a site and its server with an aim to optimize its usability and crawling, indexing, and rankings on search engines. For this article, we list the top 7 factors which we expect will feature prominently as regards to technical SEO in 2017. Some might sound familiar since they’ve been around for some time now while others are relatively new as a result of the recent changes in search engines algorithms.

Check indexing

There are various ways in which you can check the number of pages on your website that search engines have indexed. For example, SEO crawlers such as Website Auditor can help you find out more on this. You can also enter site:domain.com in the search engine that you’re targeting. This number should ideally be proportional to the total number of your site’s pages and less the pages you do not want indexed.

Make sure useful information on your site is crawlable

You can use robots.txt to check the crawlability of your site, though it is not always accurate. Robots.txt restricts pages from being indexed. You can take count of all blocked pages by using an SEO crawler, irrespective of whether the information was in noindex meta tag, robots.text, or X-Robots-Tag.

Throughout 2017, it will be important to ensure that all your pages and various other resources such as JavaScript and CSS are crawlable. If not, you risk not having your website’s dynamically generated content indexed by Google due to its inability to crawl your JavaScript. Your site’s pages will also not appear as they should if your CSS files are blocked from being indexed.

A site which relies heavily on JavaScript, or which is built with AJAX will require a crawler that can render JavaScript. At the moment, Screaming Frog and Website Auditor are the only SEO spiders offering this option.

Crawl budget optimization

Crawl budget refers to the number of pages that are crawled by search engines in given time. You can use Google Search Console to find this out your crawl budget.

However, if you’re interested in getting a more comprehensive version of the crawl stats, you will need to use a better tool such as WebLogExpert which can help assess server logs. Otherwise, you will not get a page-by-page breakdown of the data by using Google Search Console alone.

Once you’ve figured out your crawl budget, you should aim to increase it. The key factors that Google uses to assign crawl budget are the number of internal site links and backlinks from other websites.


The following steps can help you improve your crawl budget:

  • Avoid duplication of pages. Canonical URLs are not necessary as far as crawl budget goes. As such, you will only waste your crawl budget if you focus on them since search engines only reflect the duplicated pages.
  • Pages with zero SEO value should be blocked from indexation. Expired promotions, terms and conditions, and privacy policies should be disallowed in robots.txt. Certain URL aspects should also be specified in Google Search Console, so that same pages with varying parameters are not crawled separately.
  • Broken links should be fixed; otherwise, you waste a unit of your crawl budget every time search bots link to a particular 4xx and 5xx page.
  • Update your sitemap and register it on Google Search Console.

Internal links should be audited comprehensively

Internal links aid in maximizing page ranks and ranking power more efficiently. A great site with a shallow and logical structure ensures good UX and crawlability.

Below is a checklist to help you audit internal links.

– Click depth

Your important pages should be kept at a maximum of three clicks away from your website’s homepage. You can keep the structure of your site shallow by observing the three-click rule.


– Broken links

We all know that broken links tend to waste ranking power and confuse people who visit your site. The majority of SEO crawlers detect broken links, but they don’t always find all of them. In addition to HTML elements, you can search for broken links in HTTP headers, tags, and sitemaps.


– Redirected links

This affects crawl budget and load time negatively because when users visit your site, they are taken through several redirects even if they land on the right page. Search for links of at least three redirects and ensure to update them to redirected pages immediately.


– Orphan pages

These are not easily found by search engines and people visiting your site because they are not linked to from other site’s pages.

Sitemap Review

Sitemaps help search engine find out about your new content faster by telling them about your site structure. You can check your sitemaps against the following guidelines:


– Freshness

Update your XML sitemap whenever new content is generated on your site.

– Cleanness

Your sitemap should be free of 4XX pages, redirected URLs, pages blocked from indexing and non-canonical pages. Failure of this might cause the search engines to ignore your site completely. Use Crawl > Sitemaps in Google Search Console to check your sitemap for common errors regularly.


– Size

The limit of Google sitemap crawls is 50,000 URLs. Reducing that number will ensure that your most important pages are crawled more often and the crawls will be more effective.

Test and enhance your page speed

Page speed is a key Google’s ranking signal and one of its top priorities in 2017. You can use Website Auditor to enter all the URLs of your pages in PageSpeed Insights tool to test their load time and speed. If your page fails some of the test’s aspects, Google furnishes you with the details and gives you recommendations on how to fix it. If your images are too heavy, for example, it provides a downlink with their compressed version. That shows just how important speed means to Google.

Get mobile-friendlier (responsive web design)

Google recently started the “mobile-first indexing of the web” which seeks to place more priority in indexing mobile versions of websites than their desktop counterparts. This means that your mobile version will play a critical role in how well you rank for both mobile and desktop search results.


Here is a summary of the most essential things you need to prepare for this change to your site.

  • Test your website’s pages for mobile-friendliness. You can use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test tool.
  • Use Mobile Friendly Test tool from Google to test how mobile-friendly your pages are.
  • Audit your mobile site comprehensively by using an SEO crawler with robots.txt and custom user agent settings.
  • Keep track of mobile rankings. Track your mobile ranks on Google and bear in mind that your success in mobile ranks will soon reflect your desktop rankings, too.

What do you think of these technical SEO tips for 2017? We’d like to hear from you.

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Web Design Trends in 2017

As our web design / web development community continues to evolve we (and the online community of digital marketers at large) will be looking to deliver a more personalized, relevant and interactive user experience. Diving into the understanding of the client, their brand and their demographics has always been important, but as the digital landscape has changed, we must dig deeper to earn the customer’s attention. No gimmicks. Just valuable content that makes them want to come back and engage.

As 2017 approaches we’ve been keeping tabs on emerging trends and here’s
92 West’s prediction for the upcoming year with web design / development.

Material Design and Material Motion

Material design is a popular visual interface language that was developed by Google in 2014 to create a single, unified experience across various device sizes and platforms. Since its inception, Material design has grown and is now regarded as a major milestone for the world web design community.

Bold and intentional material design is used to drive the visuals by creating meaning and a tactile experience. The design has realistic visual cues which are grounded in reality.

Material design utilizes grid-based layouts, typography, space, color, padding, scale, and lighting and shadow depth effects. Elements live in defined spaces with a clear hierarchy. 

Motion provides meaning in material design. As such, aspects such as animation should include simple and easy transitions that focus on the design and not just for the sake of movement.

In promoting material design, Google wanted to provide a great experience to all users irrespective of screen size by outlining how apps should look and work on mobile devices. Most of its Android mobile applications such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, and Google Maps have adopted the new design language. 

Since it has become the standard, Google will continue to influence web applications and early this year, Google stopped showing paid ads on the right-hand side of its searches for users accessing it from the desktop. Our guess… Google probably did this to standardize the advertising across devices since mobile doesn’t support the right-hand column.

Side Note: The search engine giant headquartered in Mountain View also introduced
four paid ads on top of its organic search results; making the need for a PPC adword campaign or organic SEO for the top 5 spots even more necessary (Way to Go Google.)

Resources for Visual Reference:
Material Design on GoogleMaterial Motion on GoogleMaterial Design Blog

Minimalism Design and Cards

Web and mobile apps are shifting from pages to a more personalized experience using cards. Cards refer to rectangles of images and text that brands use to provide users with more detailed information. They are perfect for responsive design and can easily reorganize themselves to fit different breakpoints. 

First adopted by social sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, cards with impressively done uncluttered designs and motion graphics are now in use across multiple industries. 

Card based design enhances the user experience by allowing sites to organize a large amount of content into digestible pieces, and are especially useful for sites with user-generated content, like social media.

Netflix is perhaps one of the most notable companies that has previously used cards. The company removed carousel browsing and re-designed its website with more focus on cards. Eventually, it replaced slow-moving side scrolling with click-based browsing.

The purpose of the rebranding was to offer a smoother experience for users accessing the site from various devices. It also changed its logo to a solitary letter N, which utilizes space well and enhances content delivery.

Microinteractions

Microinteractions add up for a more fulfilling user experience between users and website or mobile apps. Dan Saffer, author of Microinteractions: Designing with Details, offers this cheat sheet to guide you on what Microinteractions entail:

  • Provide feedback for completed actions
  • Add delightful elements without distracting you from the main experience.
  • Accomplish an isolated task, such as liking a friend’s post.
  • Shape and teach users how to interact with site.
  • Manipulate particular settings.
  • Prevent user error by communicating status, changes, or drawing attention to certain areas.

A properly designed microinteraction often have an immense effect on users. Examples include turning off the alarm, a change in button color that indicates it’s been pressed, or a specific sound that alerts you of a new comment on your picture. Every touch, scroll, pinch, zoom, click and tap offers an intuitive way to interact with a website.

Big Data, Analytics and Visualization

Big data has always been a key point of interest in the world of web and now businesses are working out how to make this big data smaller and more understandable for users via data visualizations and visual analytics.

Recognizing how fast visual data can impact the human mind, brands are now focusing on mastering the medium to influence consumer decision making process.

Data visualization entails the use of graphical representation of particular data to help underline any relationships existing among various elements of information in a clear and engaging manner. 

Virtual Reality and Immersive Full Screen Video

A majority of companies have added video to their web apps thereby making them excellent options for offering “how-to” information to the users. Short videos running for between 60 and 90 seconds offer a great way to introduce a product or service to visitors.

While these have been around for a while, their popularity seems to be growing at a faster rate now. Currently, more and more companies are using product explainer videos to offer quicker ways to explain the benefits users get when they use their products and services. These videos incorporate informative voice-overs and clever animations to give users a taste of what product or service on a website or mobile app entails which of course is good for driving decision-making. You can add captions to the videos to maximize audience reach for your product, or service.

So What Does it All Mean… Really

No surprises here. Our industry continues to move fast and we’re seeing more individuals / companies catch on to leveraging data to enhance the user experience through well though out design. With this in mind, web development has shifted ever so stedily from static to dynamic and now onto interaction with purpose (no longer building flash site’s because it’s cool to have a flash site).

Overall, I’m excited for the possibilities and the challenges that await us in 2017. We will continue to enhance our understanding of human behavior, how it relates to RWD (
Responsive Web Design) and Mobile Apps and what awesome details we can craft to enhance our visitors experience; prompting them to come back and act.

Keep in Mind: Trends Come and Go

While I feel as though it’s amazing to see what trends come it’s important that you remember to always consider context before you can apply any of them. Don’t just follow trends because they “look great”. Instead, only apply a given technique if you think your users or clients will actually benefit from it.

Having said that, there is no better time to think about the future than right now. 

Happy 2017 from your local strategic creative!


Looking to Develop Your Brand? Your Website?
Your Home on the Digital Landscape? 

Great!  Give us a shout at 402.620.2633 or let’s talk!  We promise coffee and good conversation!

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Web Design Tips on How to Secure Your WordPress Site

Did you know that more than a quarter of the top 10 million sites on the web today are powered by WordPress? With such statistics, it’s easy to see why hackers take so much interest in WP sites. While WordPress deserves a lot of credit for the immense efforts it puts towards curbing these offenders, the many third-party themes and plugins available for use may still pose significant threats to your website.

Below I have listed four of the best WordPress security plugins that can help to enhance the security of your site. (No order of best to worst implied.)

iThemes Security

Coming with dozens of features and offering more than thirty ways to improve your WP site’s security, iThemes Security is certainly one of the best plugins out there that guarantees to lock the would-be invaders out of your online business. If you’re looking for more protection, consider going for the Pro version which features automated daily malware scanning, two-factor authentication, and a dashboard widget that allows you scan directly from your WP dashboard. This plugin is easy to use and also quite affordable.

Block Bad Queries (BBQ)

If you’re looking for a plug-n-play functionality security plugin for your website, then BBQ could be your best bet. This tool is incredibly efficient and helps you block potentially harmful URL requests as well as monitoring malicious codes.

All in One WP Security & Firewall

All in One WP Security and Firewall is another highly useful plugin that can assist in block certain fishy IP addresses or even lock out users who make too many unsuccessful login attempts. Besides, this tool can scan your website for vulnerabilities and offer recommendations and tips for enhancing overall security.

WordFence

WordFence is arguably one of the most popular security plugins among WP users today which can be attributed mainly to its efficiency and affordability. Whether you choose to use the free or the paid version of the plugin, you can be confident about enjoying maximum safety from common web attacks. With the plugin, you can track any crawler in real time, customize blocking protocol, scan your themes and plugin files and much more.

Why You Need to Prioritize the Safety of Your Online Business

As you can imagine, there are hundreds of security plugins for WP sites out there today. However, only a few work as efficiently as the four tools described in this post.

Worth mentioning here is that while you can secure your website using some of the most robust security tools available, if you aren’t partnering with a trustworthy web hosting / web design / web developer, then all that could be in vain; 92 West is a partner you can trust. Here, we offer you secure WordPress hosting, custom or out-of-the-box solutions for both web design and web development as well as service updates and monitoring. 

Contact us today to find out if 92 West is the right partner for you.
402.620.2633 • Request a Quote

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The 4 Key Pillars Of Successful SEO Management

Search Engine Optimization and It’s Direct Impact on Traffic, Lead Generation and Sales

Did you know that about half of the traffic arriving on a majority of websites today comes from organic search? Well, this means that your rank on search engines plays a bigger role in your site’s growth than email, paid search, social media, and direct visitors combined. So, how can you ensure that your website stands out especially with so much content being released to the web every day? SEO is definitely your answer.

For this post, we look at the four key pillars of SEO management that will help you target and reach the appropriate audience for your business.

1. Understand Your Demand

Want to create an effective SEO management plan? Begin by identifying the topics that interest your targeted audience the most. You can start by looking at the existing content on your website to determine the type or topics that drive the most success. Besides, you may also want to take a closer look at your target buyer personas as well as their buying behavior. At the end of your study, you should be able to have a clear understanding of the market you’re targeting including its motivations, pain points, and even budgets.

At this point, consider using keyword research to determine the top topics that generate buzz within your industry. You can then examine these keywords before settling for a few prospective ones that, if fully developed, can get you on top of search engines.

2. Identify Your Competition

As mentioned earlier, the web continues to become more competitive by the day. As such, do not be deluded into thinking that you’re the only one competing to occupy the top position for your preferred keyword. If anything, you’ll most likely be working to outrank a competitor when starting out in your SEO campaign.

To begin, you need to examine the top brands that are presently occupying higher positions on SERPs and get to know their strengths as well as weaknesses. Here, you can choose to focus on various aspects such as the social strategies they’ve employed, types of content adopted, topics covered, etc. If feasible, feel free to incorporate your competitors’ strategies into your SEO campaign.

3. Create and Optimize your Website’s Content and Design

At this point, you should be having sufficient knowledge to help you create content that converts. For example, you already know the appropriate keywords to target, your audience and its preferences, and your competition. Using this information, you can comfortably create valuable content that reflects the work put into it. This should be the type of content that readers find easy to share and which can also prompt them to return to your website at a future date. To achieve such a feat, be sure to position your brand as a leader by providing deep, insightful content and not just sharing other people’s content.

Once you have created your content, consider optimizing it for search.

Below are a few important rules you need to observe:

  • Use your target keywords naturally in your content.
  • Place relevant keywords in the right areas such as the title tag, headings, URL slug, image tags, and alt tags.
  • Focus on link building- both inbound and outbound.
  • Create a site map.
  • Enhance the speed of your website.
  • Incorporate local keywords where needed.
  • Optimize your website for mobile use; responsive web design.

Besides these aspects onsite, focus on creating your social media profiles, create a schedule for posting content that brings people back to your site and incorporate lead generation tools (like a simple e-mail sign-up or landing page).

4. Quantify Your Results

This is perhaps the most commonly skipped step by a majority of webmasters conducting SEO campaigns. Yet, the analytics which you collect in this step will possibly have the most impact on your present and future SEO programs. For example, it is here that you get to know what works for your business and that which doesn’t as far as SEO is concerned. Needless to say, the information you get here will assist you in making more informed decisions in any future SEO programs. Besides, you can also have concrete evidence to present to the senior management when showing the ROI of your activities.

Some of the common metrics you can use to determine the success or failure of your SEO campaign include organic search numbers, revenue amassed, bounce rates, and opt-ins. Using these pointers, you’ll likely be in a better position to make informed decisions on the appropriate steps to take moving forward.

If you’re looking to enjoy massive results with your SEO management activities, ensure to have in place a firm strategy that follows the four steps outlined in this post. This way, you can boost your brand reach, engage your audience in a better manner, and ultimately drive your business results forward.

Need Help with SEO?  You Have Come to the Right Place!

At 92 West, we not only train clients on how to implement their own strategies, but can handle the implementation of onsite and offsite search engine optimization.  Please contact us at 402.620.2633 or fill out a request for proposal and we can craft a custom campaign for you.

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