How Marketing Helps You Recruit the Best Employees

I recently ran into a recruiter for one of the top employers in Northeast Wisconsin and had a conversation about his biggest challenge to fill almost 400 open positions annually. Among other things, I was surprised to learn that they didn’t have a social media strategy as part of their efforts. In fact, he mentioned he wasn’t even quite sure how it worked.

Continue reading How Marketing Helps You Recruit the Best Employees

Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

8 Ways to Tell It’s Time for a New Website

Clients often ask us how frequently they should redo their website. With design and functionality trends changing constantly, it can be a challenge to determine when a site should be redesigned and programmed to stay current.

Typically, I recommend businesses reevaluate their entire site annually to make minor revisions and updates. A complete overhaul should be considered every 3-4 years.

Not sure where you stand? Here are eight questions to help determine if now is the time for a new website:

  1. Is your website search engine optimized?
    I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but if nobody can find your site, what’s the point of having one? Your website should appear in relevant web searches and be working hard to attract new visitors.
  1. Has your business strategy, product, or target audience changed since your last site launch?
    Your site should reflect your current business plan and be an accurate representation of the products and services you offer. It’s not uncommon for businesses to expand product lines or add markets, so make sure your website matches the direction your company is headed.
  1. Is it easy to find things on your site?
    Ease of use is crucial for consumers. With new trends in design and functionality, navigating a website should be effortless.
  1. Is your content overwhelming and stale?
    Content on your site should be relevant and fresh. Plus, when possible, use visuals to communicate your information in an easy, consumable way.
  1. Is your site mobile-friendly or responsive?
    According to Smart Insights, 80% of users search the Internet on smartphones. Plus, as of April 2015, Google is using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal so determine if your site is mobile-friendly with this quick test.
  1. Do images date your site?
    Stock photography with dated fashion and hairstyles can age your business as well as people’s perception of your brand. Even if your site is not due for a complete overall, updating the photography alone can freshen up the appearance.
  1. Does your traditional marketing integrate with your digital strategy?
    For brand consistency, your traditional marketing should align with, and complement, your digital strategies. Messaging and imagery should be consistent from print to your website.
  1. Is your website working as hard as it can?
    Long gone are the days of static sites. It’s time to think about how your site can act as a virtual salesperson, generating leads. Or, maybe you can increase internal efficiencies by automating processes. And, let’s not forget about using your website to recruit new talent.

Element understands all facets of marketing, including the digital world. We have an entire team dedicated to staying on top of trends, and our experts develop integrated marketing strategies blending both traditional and digital tactics.

When you’re looking for an honest opinion of your current site, call Element at 920-983-9700 for a complete evaluation and honest discussion.

Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

8 Web Trends to Revitalize Your Site

Keeping up with web trends is a surefire way to make sure you’re not left behind in the digital world. Not every trend on this list is applicable to every website or situation, but by utilizing the ones that fit your specific strategy, you’ll keep a visitor’s attention and encourage them to keep coming back.

1. Be Responsive!

Without a doubt, responsive design is the most important on this list. This buzzword of 2015 has transcended “trendy” and solidified itself as the new standard for web design. With more and more users viewing websites on mobile devices and tablets, it is crucial websites across the board be designed to automatically adjust for different device sizes.

business-bank-wisconsin-responsive-desktop-website-design
By optimizing for both desktop and mobile, we helped The Business Bank give their customers much more user-friendly banking options.

2. Simple, Flat and Elegant

Since responsive design has to fit different sized screens, it begs the question – which design is best for which format? Simple, flat and elegant has become the solution overall, which our programmers helped implement as the prominent design theme for Solarus. Although flat design has been around for a few years, it’s growing up. The use of subtle gradients and layering to retain a sense of tangibility is also starting to emerge.

3. More Scrolling, Less Clicking

With the rise of mobile (seeing a pattern?), visitors are being trained to flick and scroll to view content. This action is now expected while using a desktop computer. Scrolling sites – like we created for Northern Concrete – have less load time overall, allow for more dynamic interaction, and create a more intuitive, easier-to-use website. The transitions are also smoother with no jarring refreshes, which keeps your content flowing.

4. Emphasize Typography

With type kits, such as Google Web Fonts, becoming more affordable and free, typography can now be fully utilized.

Mixing thick and thin with boxy and elegant typesetting is now appropriate for the web. Not sure how it would appear? Check out our work for Oh Snap Pickling Company!

5. Large and in Charge!

Large imagery, large text, large videos. With less bandwidth restrictions, large is now possible. It’s an easy way to display your content prominently and elegantly without feeling gimmicky, as seen on the website we created for Pella Windows and Doors of Wisconsin. Full-screen content also creates emotion and a better canvas on which to tell your story.

Parallaxing these large images and videos not only looks really cool, it’s a great way to utilize large graphics and create a sense of depth.

6. Make it Visual! – Use Illustrations and Infographics

Simple illustrations are a great way to add creativity to a site without adding clutter. They can be most useful in an infographic to explain complicated information since a visual representation of data is always easier to digest.

oh-snap-pickles-website-illustrations
Back to Oh Snap! Instead of a text-heavy list to explain why their pickles are extraordinary, we collaborated on illustrations instead.

7. Reinvent Your Navigation

With scrolling sites becoming more prevalent, floating and sticky navs have emerged. Navigation that slides down, slides up, pops up, and includes imagery and dynamic animations will start showing up. Along with new navigation, new button styles are also making headway.

“Ghost buttons” – buttons with no fill, and are transparent – have become popular because they are elegant and don’t block background imagery. Since Verhalen Commercial Interiors needed to showcase their product visually, we made sure their landing pages used this feature instead of a typical nav menu.

8. Tell Your Story!

Your company’s story becomes more compelling and vivid across all devices through the use of the above trends. When users interact with your content, they will be more engaged and feel a stronger connection with your brand. Check out how we helped Saverne Products use their “Field to You” story to emphasize how it impacts their consumers.

Staying ahead of the website game can be tough at first, but a sleek, user-friendly site is well worth the effort!

Here at Element, we work every day with businesses on maintaining websites and implementing state-of-the-art programming. We give our clients the stress-free and reliable option of providing all web services within one agency.

Have a web project you’d like us to tackle? Give us a call at 920-973-9700!

References
http://unmatchedstyle.com
http://www.elegantthemes.com
http://justcreative.com
http://designmodo.com
http://webdesignledger.com

Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

How to Create a Marketing Budget

Let’s talk about the ‘b’ word everyone likes to avoid: Budgets. When it comes to putting together your marketing plan or next project, writing down that number next to each line item can be tricky. While you’re planning out how to create a marketing budget, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Look at previous plans and budgets. Past project costs will shed a lot of light on your budget and is a great place to start when planning.

Don’t forget the details. Make sure you fully understand what all needs to come out of your marketing budget (salaries, agency fees, printing, postage, media, etc.). Next, add as much detail next to each line item as possible. Understanding where expenses come from within each project will help you make a more accurate projection.

Be upfront and honest. If you work with an agency, talk candidly about your objectives and budget. There’s always multiple ways to skin the cat so perhaps they can find ways to shave off dollars without losing the impact. Even if the initial project estimate is out of your ballpark, it’s worth a conversation to explore the possibilities.

Prioritize based on your goals. Which projects will have the most impact and will directly affect your annual objectives? Move these to the top so that if you can’t stretch your budget to accommodate all your activities, you’re at least getting done the ones that will move the needle.

If you’ve got too much on your plate or are looking for a fresh perspective on your marketing plan, remember agencies have experience planning and budgeting for a variety of clients and can add valuable perspective to the budgeting and planning process.

Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

Marketing Yourself—Little ways to make a big impact.

By: Nikki Peroutka

When it comes to making a good impression, everything counts. From the second you walk in the door at an interview, to the way you respond to a follow up email, you want to be your best self. These tips and tricks are little ways to market yourself and make a positive impact at your next job interview. Take notes!

  • Make sure there’s nothing embarrassing on your social media pages. One of the first things a potential employer is going to do is an internet search of your name. You might want to make sure that profile picture of you doing a beer bong in college is deleted. Permanently. Make sure your social media pages reflect the image you are trying to portray.
  • Think about what you can offer the company, not what the company can offer you. Really think about how your resume and cover letter are positioned. Concentrate on explaining what you bring to the table more than what you are looking for in a potential employer. Most employers seek a ‘givers’ not ‘takers.’
  • Provide exactly what the company is asking for. If a job posting requests you send a cover letter, salary requirements and references, make sure you comply with their requests. It proves you can follow directions (even if they are simple) and makes things easier for the person collecting the applications.
  • Do a little research on the company and get a feel for their culture. Reference the company’s culture when it makes sense in your communications, but don’t overdo it. Spending a little time getting to know the company shows initiative.
  • Every communication is being judged. From the way you format your resume and cover letter, to emails you send to set up interviews, PROOF, PROOF, PROOF and then PROOF again! The only thing you’ll land with a typo or poor organization of your resume is at the top of the ‘no’ pile.
  • A handwritten note goes a long way. The handwritten note is a lost art. At the very least, you should be sending an email thanking the interviewee for their time and consideration (but I’m still a fan of getting mail!).
  • Watch the use of emojis in your communication. Some may see this form of communication as too casual in the initial stages of getting to know each other. Leave the LOLs and smileys for friends and family.
Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.