Hit Your Target! Using the Right B2B Strategy to Reach an Audience

More Wisconsin businesses are starting to see the value in reaching their target audience through content marketing. That means creating articles, videos, graphics, and all sorts of media designed to draw attention to your company and establish your expertise on a given topic.

However, any company that jumps right into content marketing without a plan is making a huge mistake. There’s much more to it than setting up a blog and getting on social media.

Strategy is at the core of any marketing effort. Without the right strategy, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s unlikely your efforts will grow your business in any significant way.

So, where do you start?

Continue reading Hit Your Target! Using the Right B2B Strategy to Reach an Audience

Principal/Agency Director

We Made a Beer! { FINAL PROOF }

What does a blend of creative juices, fresh hops, and heart & soul taste like?

As a longtime supporter of Wisconsin’s craft beer industry, Element has always offered our clients fresh brew on tap as well as bottles from our well-stocked D.B.F. (Dedicated Beer Fridge). However, we’ve now upped our “beer geek” cred a few levels higher—we brewed a unique Element beer!

Final Proof is Element’s statement beverage; an experimental beer that uses uncommon ingredients to match how we push limits to help our clients succeed. Never known as an agency to create something expected, we envisioned a beer with lemongrass, ginger, and fresh hops grown on Element’s back deck.

Continue reading We Made a Beer! { FINAL PROOF }

Copywriter/Asst. Creative Director
Eric’s been doing this copy thing for a while; over 25 years now. He understands that proofreading, like any skill, requires focus and practice. Eric’s been knocking out creative copy with few errors (nobody’s perfect) at Element since 2009. And, he feels somewhat uncomfortable writing in the third person.

What Top Ten ’90s Songs Can Teach You About Google Adwords

Hey … remember the ’90s?

It’s hard to believe Google was nothing more than a big idea that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had in 1998. I wonder what music they were listening to?

As Element’s Director of Digital Marketing, it’s my job to stay up to date on digital advertising strategies, and Google AdWords is easily one of the most important platforms. Keeping up with best practices allows us to provide our clients with the expertise they need for success online.

I also happen to consider myself somewhat of an expert on ’90s music. So why not combine AdWords and ’90s pop songs?

Here’s what we can learn about Google AdWords from 10 hit songs.

Continue reading What Top Ten ’90s Songs Can Teach You About Google Adwords

Director of Digital Marketing
Officially, Derek is Element's Digital Marketing Director, specializing in search engine optimization, social media marketing, and website user experience design. However, outside the office, Derek cannot be pinned down to a single title, so let's go with "happy-hour-turned-late-nighter," "driveway fire-starter," "fins-up-Parrotheader," "world traveler," "Frisbee-throwing-dog-lover," and "up-to-the-minute digital dominator."

Trick or Traits – Match Your Favorite Halloween Candy to your Perfect Job at Element

October 31st is right around the corner, and the team at Element is gearing up for the big day. To help get our followers into the Halloween spirit, we compiled a list of some classic candy favorites and conducted some very in-depth Googling to determine what candy preferences say about your personality. Ready to find out whether you are salty or sweet? Take a look at the selections below, pick your favorite, and see with whom at Element you might pair with best ….

halloween infographic

Skittles- Colorful and fun, those who enjoy Skittles as their favorite Halloween treat are happy-go-lucky and optimistic. With a flair for all things vibrant, you relate best with our Designers who have an eye for just the right color, pattern, and design.

Smarties- Sweet and always a great treat, this candy was designed for the diehard Type A’s who can’t help being helpful. Around Element, that organization and dedication can be found in our Account Executives, Account Assistants, and Business Managers who give sweet a little extra kick.

Milky Way- As a jack-of-all-trades candy, Milky Way has it all. It’s a sweet filled center with caramel and comes in light and dark chocolate. It’s the multitasking madman of the candy jar and people who love it usually are too. Known for your knowledge in a variety of fields, you relate best to Element’s Digital Marketing Specialists who know their stuff when it comes to digital marketing, search engine optimization, content marketing, and more.

Tootsie Roll- A beloved Halloween staple, trick-or-treating just wouldn’t be the same without this Halloween sweet. Those who enjoy this famous classic treat are trusted individuals who make a big difference every day. In Element, these individuals are our Agency Owners who have shaped Element’s path from the very beginning.

Gummy Bears- Gummy Bear enthusiasts are fun-loving individuals who make going to work (or any place for that matter) a barrel of laughs. These individuals aren’t all fun and games, however. They also have the drive to make things stick, much like Element’s Copywriter who can turn jumbles into jargon and scribbles into scripts.

Hershey’s Bar- If candy had nobility, this would be it! Much like a king, individuals who favor Hershey’s bars are stable, quiet, and able to solve complex problems with ease. With the ability to talk technical, you relate best to our Programmers who slay coding and programming like a dragon.

Cricket Lollipops- Those who favor the most unique Halloween candy selection are outside-of-the-box thinkers who often offer interesting and unique perspectives on solving problems. These individuals are often at the forefront of what’s new and trending. At Element, you can find our Director of Public Relations shedding light on interesting products and services while offering tips on the new and noteworthy.

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

Speaking to Silence? Find Your Audience with LinkedIn’s Native Advertising

LinkedIn gives companies a reliable way to promote content and connect with potential leads, but being successful involves more than simply updating your company’s page.

By publishing consistent, quality content and sharing it with multiple networks, you can easily attract professionals to your company page to generate leads and position yourself as a thought leader.

But what if you’re no longer seeing a steady stream of new and engaged followers?

It’s time to try something new, but what?

Don’t be discouraged. With a niche platform like LinkedIn, your content may just need a boost to ensure it’s in front of the right audience.

Promote Your Content to the Right People
When organic distribution of your content doesn’t seem to be hitting the mark, it’s time to consider LinkedIn’s paid native advertising to reach relevant audiences. Native advertisements – also known as sponsored updates – read like an editorial and less like a display ad, which can lead to higher engagement.

These updates allow you to specifically target professionals through their newsfeed. It’ll help you attract new followers to your company page and increase engagement. Plus, it’s optimized for any device!

Create Valuable Professional Content
To get the most out of these campaigns, choose a piece of content that has “showcaseability” – meaning a great piece of professional content that makes your target audience pause and say, I want to know more about that!

This could be a new project or service announcement video, a smart infographic detailing findings from a recent study, or even a fun post that highlights your company’s culture which can attract potential employees to your page.

When you put forth the effort in making your content stand out – whether that’s adding a compelling image, a captivating title, or a clear call-to-action – people will want to share it, which will expand your total reach.

Set Campaign Goals
Once you have selected your message, define your target audience to build a paid campaign.

You will first need to pick between two paid options: cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM).

To help you decide, you need to understand your end goal. CPC is best for lead generation while CPM should be reserved for brand awareness initiatives.

Next, think about who your target audience should be. LinkedIn lets you focus your efforts on either location, industry, or job titles.

Also, keep in mind that on LinkedIn, keeping target audiences specific and including more than 300,000 members, usually gets better results. In 2015, Pew Research Center reported only 25% of online adults say they use LinkedIn regularly compared to 72% who use Facebook, so a targeted approach will help ensure your content is seen by professionals not checking their LinkedIn daily.

In order to get the most out of your paid campaign, make sure you also have measured goals set before you start.

If you’re new to LinkedIn, focus on building organic campaigns emphasizing your content and distribution plans. By analyzing your organic reach, you can estimate what you’d like to see from a paid campaign.

You can also do a trial run of a sponsored campaign that lasts a few days to record some initial data. The best feature about LinkedIn is that they provide built-in analytics so you can see your campaigns in action.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Experimenting is key to understanding what works and what doesn’t. Try to switch up your content every two weeks and once you get the hang of it, promote new content up to one or two times per week.

One of the most important things to remember is to keep everything in context. If you’re a smaller business, keep your goals reasonable. Use analytics to inform your next move and constantly review your current strategy.

Looking to start a more in-depth content marketing strategy? Learn more about Element’s content marketing programs here.

LinkedIn’s Native Advertising
Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015, Pew Research Center

Director of Public Relations
A self-decribed chatterbox, it’s rumored that Tara was born with a phone in her hand. It was only a natural that she ended up in the marketing communications industry. With more than 12 years of industry experience, Tara specializes in campaign strategy, planning, publicity, and content marketing. In addition to socializing with just about anyone, Tara enjoys running, yoga, and watching her beloved Wisconsin Badgers. She also appreciates the occasional quiet weekend at home cooking and relaxing with her husband Ryan and daughter Julia.

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.

Element Welcomes Three New Team Members

While it’s crunch time for the Green Bay Packers – they need to cut down their roster by tomorrow – we keep adding new talent to our team!

And instead of the usual office icebreaker, we emailed them a quick BuzzFeed quiz on social media habits. It’s basic knowledge these quirky quizzes tell us everything we need to know about new employees so we couldn’t resist.

Element-Creative-Receptionist-Molly-WentworthMolly Wentworth
Title: Receptionist/Account Assistant
Specialties: Customer service, account management and photography
Background: Originally from the UP, Molly is a Grand Valley State University graduate with a B.A. in photography and advertising PR. Before Element, she worked as an assistant photographer and retoucher at Evenson Photography.

element-new-employee-buzzfeed-quiz Are you truly “The Private Introvert”?
I’d say this is pretty accurate… I have friends who are constantly glued to their phones while we’re out to dinner, and it drives me crazy! I like to enjoy experiences while they’re happening instead of posting about them. But I must admit, I do love a good throwback Thursday.

What’s the one thing you can’t help but share on social media?
Pictures of my dog, Harvey. He’s just too cute! I can’t avoid the temptation when he’s decked out in Green Bay Packers apparel or helping me decorate my house for Christmas. Everyone loves him and photos of his latest adventures!

Rachel MuellerElement-Creative-Content-Marketing-Specialist-Rachel-Mueller
Title: Content Marketing Specialist
Specialties: Content marketing strategy, editorial and digital content management, and public relations
Background: A Chilton native, Rachel graduated from nearby St. Norbert College with a B.A. in communication and media studies. Her love of her alma mater turned into working for their communications office in three different roles: web and design intern, communications assistant, and interim web and social media specialist, before coming to Element.
element-new-employee-rachel-muellerSo, do you consider yourself “The Accomplished Achiever”?
Yes and no. I do tend to put more thought into big life updates when I share them with the social media world, but if I think something is culturally relevant, newsworthy or funny, I don’t hesitate to post it.

What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done on Facebook?
I’m very cautious when posting on social media, especially Facebook because of older family members. But, the most embarrassing thing I’ve done is the time I posted a Facebook status as if I was writing on my friend’s wall. It was up for over two hours before I noticed. I’m still a little horrified thinking about it…

Element-Creative-Art-Director-Aaron-GraffAaron Graff
Title: Art Director
Specialties: Brand and marketing design for print and digital communications
Background: Aaron is an alum of UW-Oshkosh with a B.F.A. in graphic communication. He’s worked for more than 12 years in agencies throughout Northeast Wisconsin, before landing at Element.

Did this BuzzFeed quiz get it right?
Yup, it’s got me pegged. I primarily use Instagram and post edited, curated photos, never in-the-moment. I’ll use Facebook for big life announcements, but that’s about it.

What’s your favorite Instagram account to follow?
I follow a lot of artists, designers and makers, but my favorite would have to be @malimish_airstream. He’s a web developer with a family of five who works remotely as they travel the country in an Airstream trailer. Great photos, great locations, great captions.

Their lifestyle is kind of a retirement goal for me.

We’re ecstatic to have Molly, Rachel and Aaron on our team, and hope you’ll drop by to say hello!

Don’t forget! For more behind-the-scenes updates from Element, make sure you like us on Facebook.

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.

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.

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!


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.

Tips for Crafting Your Story

By: Kate Shropshire

Twitter started real-time conversations, now they have facilitated real-time video with their on-the-rise app, Periscope. We can do more than listen, we can watch things happen live. Periscope is a platform for users or brands to live stream video to the world where users are tuning in to see live broadcasts of the first appearance of the Royal baby or sunsets on mountains.

Similarly, Snapchat is bringing brands to the devices consumers are attached to. Snapchat users can see celebrities get ready for award shows or watch a video story of an international musical festival and its attendees.

So why do these platforms matter? They provide new ways for brands to showcase a story on social media. These platforms also require creativity to breakthrough the status update quo. Here are 4 tips for brands when crafting a storytelling strategy.

  1. Think Mobile. As more and more people rely on the Internet for news, entertainment, and communication, it’s no secret your consumers are on their phones. To reach consumers, brands need to participate on the platforms people use daily. Brands are using Snapchat to give an inside look to consumers. Taco Bell shows off new products in Snapchat stories and the NBA generates excitement around the playoffs. As a brand, you can be one click away to consumers on the platforms they already trust and love.taco bell snapchat (picture source)
  2. Offer True Engagement. Engagement comes naturally as users can comment on Periscope streaming videos while they are happening. As a brand, there are now opportunities to really connect with consumers instead of pushing one-way messages at them.periscope on phone(picture source)
  3. Keep It Short. Some users are watching 8-second Snapchats instead of 2-minute videos. People want quick content that costs them little time as they move on to the next thing. Consumers want behind the scenes, exclusive looks at the world around them, and they want it fast. For the Billboard Music Awards, brands showed red carpet updates to fans through quick stories that highlighted the popular stars.IMG_4546
  4. Channel Your Inner Artist. With Snapchat, brands can type, doodle, use emojis, and pick filters for video and pictures. Brands can create anything they want since custom content is easy. Use the opportunity to show case some personality and get creative.SnapChat_Scavenger_FB-300x300 (picture source)

Now go explore the story-telling possibilities. Try it out and showcase the personality of your brand.

Digital Marketing Specialist

Google Recognizes Derek Blaszak as an AdWords Certified Professional

The Internet is a powerful tool to market and grow your business. However, combining your business objectives with an effective digital strategy can be a challenge if you don’t understand how popular search engines like Google work.

Derek's certificationAt Element, we are here to help. You may recognize him from his awesome hair, but we are pleased to announce Derek Blaszak has been recognized by Google as an AdWords certified professional.

So what does this mean and how can it help your business grow? Who better to ask than our very own digital marketing expert Derek:

Let’s start with the basics – what is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is Google’s online advertising program that helps companies reach new customers and grow their business across the internet. The program allows businesses to choose where their ad appears and measure the impact for the ad placement.

 Why is AdWords an important component to a digital marketing strategy?

Paid search engine advertising has a low-cost of entry and results can be seen instantly, which makes it a great marketing tool for any type of business. Plus it’s trackable, so you can easily calculate a return on investment or new customer acquisition rate, while easily making adjustments when the market changes.

How do you get certified?

An AdWords certificiation allows you to demonstrate that Google recognizes you as an online advertising professional. To achieve this certification, I passed the AdWords Fundamentals exam and the Search Advertising and Display Advertising exams.

How long have you been with Element and tell us about your role as Director of Digital Marketing?

 I started at Element in November 2008. As the Director of Digital Marketing, I am responsible for the successful strategy and development of digital marketing initiatives that include: website usability, search and online advertising campaigns, social media, search engine optimization, online brand management, and email marketing programs. I combine business objectives with effective digital strategies to deliver a holistic marketing approach that enhances traditional and nontraditional marketing efforts.

Beside his Google AdWords Certification, Derek is also a Certified Account Manager and Agency Financial Manager. It is also his goal to become certified at being certified.

Director of Digital Marketing
Officially, Derek is Element's Digital Marketing Director, specializing in search engine optimization, social media marketing, and website user experience design. However, outside the office, Derek cannot be pinned down to a single title, so let's go with "happy-hour-turned-late-nighter," "driveway fire-starter," "fins-up-Parrotheader," "world traveler," "Frisbee-throwing-dog-lover," and "up-to-the-minute digital dominator."