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."

Element Public Relations – We’ve Got News To Share!

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We are excited to announce the expansion of our public relations service offerings with the recent hiring of Tara Brzozowski as Director of Public Relations.

Tara brings 12 years of public relations experience specializing in the areas of strategy, planning, publicity, media relations, special events, and content marketing. You may know Tara from her previous role as marketing and public relations director for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.TaraBrzozowski

Never one to miss a chance to grill a new employee, we put Tara in the hot seat for some Q&A:

What is public relations?
Public relations is both the art and science of building and maintaining relationships between a business or organization and its publics. We define publics as groups of people that have a stakeholder interest in the organization.

What is a common misconception about the public relations industry?
Most people think of public relations as just publicity, which are the stories you read in the paper, online or see on the evening news. While publicity is certainly an aspect of public relations, the practice involves other business functions including reputation management, internal communications, community relations, and crisis management.

What are the trends in public relations for 2015?
Public relations professionals today need to be well-trained in traditional media and digital media. Integrated public relations campaigns should consider four media types: paid, earned, shared, and owned. Today’s public relations pros need to know and understand SEO principles and how Google ranks and displays content.

What are business communication trends for 2015?
I think we will continue to see the lines between marketing and public relations blur. Content marketing is a great example of this combination. When done well, content marketing can be a powerful relationship builder between a company and its customers. You have the ability to showcase your company’s personality, build trust, and develop engagement through the use of creative content.

If you were not working in public relations, what would you do?
If I had any musical talent at all, I would be a performer on Broadway. I enjoy the performing arts tremendously, but unfortunately I do not have a musical bone in my body. I’m happy to sit it the seats and leave it to the pros!

Next time you visit Element be sure to say hello to Tara!

Element Attends Second Wind Financial Management Certification Program

Last month, Digital Marketing Director Derek Blaszak and Business Development Specialist Brad Schwei attended a financial management seminar in Chicago, hosted by Second Wind, an organization focused on providing expert resources to small and mid-size agencies all over the United States. Element has been a dedicated member of Second Wind for 11 years, utilizing the opportunities provided for higher education and unique agency insight.

As an agency constantly enhancing its’ practices, we looked forward to the opportunity to gather with fellow Second Wind agencies and learn about the latest trends in the industry. In particular, the conference focused on streamlining workflow, maintaining effective production meetings, and providing accurate estimating. These key points and more were taken from the conference and are to be implemented into Element’s process in order to be the best partner for our clients.

Outside of the conference, Derek and Brad had a chance to spend some time exploring. The two visited a few rooftop bars and indulged in some Chicago cuisine. Derek captured a couple photos of the beautiful “Windy City”, which are pictured below.

Second Wind Seminar in Chicago

Second Wind Seminar in Chicago 3
Second Wind Seminar in Chicago 2

now hiring: senior art director

Element is looking for a Senior Art Director that can design, supervise, and art direct for both print and web. Five to seven years of agency experience is a must!

If you’re looking for an agency setting with a wide variety of concepting and design challenges, this is your chance to prove you have what it takes. You know who you are. Now we’d like to meet you.

Check out our website (goelement.com) to get a feel for our work.

If you know your stuff, let us see it! Electronic work samples (PDF or web) are REQUIRED. Resumes sent without links to samples will not be considered. No phone calls please.

View the full listing here.

Element Welcomes New Team Member with Drag Race

Cracking UpWhen new Designer, Mike Thornton, rolled up to Element on a Harley, long-time motorcycle enthusiasts, Aldis Strazdins, Creative Director, and Mike Tessmer, Art Director, saw an opportunity for a friendly “Welcome to Element” competition.

Not all can look as cool as Mike, Mike, and Aldis, cruising the streets on a hog; the matching Kia Souls in the Element parking lot are a testament to that. However, the drag race was meant for all—not just seasoned motorcyclists. Every employee was welcome to participate in the race, provided they find their own vehicle.

So there they were, waiting impatiently behind the starting line: the three motorcycled amigos, Derek in a land-converted duck-bodied pedal boat, Brad on a silver Razr scooter, Ann and Lori saddled up on a Hover-Round they borrowed from Ann’s grandmother, and Chad, on a pair of the so-called “fastest in the Midwest” rollerblades. The rest of the group’s vehicles ranged from a pogo stick to a simple cape. The group appeared like a carnival of rejected modes of transportation. Despite the gum-and-paperclip cast, excitement filled the air as racers readied themselves to take off.

Sue counted down and waved the green flag. Wheels screeched; the smell of burnt rubber scented the air as smoke hovered above the once populated starting line.

The heat was on.

The three motorcycles left everyone in the dust, as Eric Severstad, copywriter, stood on the sidelines, waving supportive, grammatically correct signage in the air.

While Mike, Mike, and Aldis were tied for first place, the results were in for second: Brad won propelling his Razr scooter past the finish line; a bittersweet victory he says, now walking with a limp from extensive strength training to his right leg.

The two Mikes and Aldis enjoyed the race so much that they are planning to bring “the gang” onto the open road, providing marketing services on wheels across the nation. The “Hexterminators” will declare “death to boring marketing,” Aldis states. “We’re going to get custom leather jackets for everyone, with our club colors—PMS 300 and PMS 220.”

 

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.

Enriching the Community, One Sub at a Time

Director of Account Services, Nikki Peroutka, is making more room in her life to do the things she loves.

Employees at local grocer, Piggly Wiggly, noticed Nikki frequenting the store an increasing number of times per week. Each visit always included an All-American sub from the deli. Co-workers also noticed Nikki’s curious habit.

“We all knew something was up. She would leave around the same time every day and when she came back, she would close the door to her office, put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, and not emerge for at least an hour,” said designer Lori Schwartz. Nikki didn’t want to hide anymore and decided it was time to find an outlet for her love of the Piggly Wiggly All-American sub.

Six months ago, Piggly Wiggly developed an after-work program for adults, an idea that sparked when one man shared his battle with the Pig’s potato salad. The “Love Food, Love Life“ program is a resource for all people struggling with an insatiable need for Piggly Wiggly’s food. Program director, Jane Milton states, “We provide part-time hours for those who wish to be surrounded by the Pig product of their choice. Nikki is the perfect candidate. We are here to be a pillar of support while providing her with the additional income that supports her near unsustainable need for the All-American sub.”

Of course, Nikki chose to work her hours behind the deli counter. A very tired worker, who couldn’t keep up with the high demand for the All-American sub, was relieved when Nikki arrived to work his shift. “I pulled a muscle in my arm from slicing all the cold cuts.” When asked why Nikki chose to work behind the deli counter, she responded proudly, “Do something with what you love to eat, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Nikki is beyond excited to have taken a position in the deli and has already come up with a few ways to amp up her favorite sandwich. One recipe uses three tablespoons of butter, cubed and neatly arranged into a smiley face on top of the salami layer.

“I’ll be saving a lot of money by working in the deli part-time, but that’s not why I’m doing this. I’m doing this to be near what I love. Some people do yoga, some paint … for me, it’s thinly slicing some quality meat and layering it precisely with cheese, fresh vegetables, and tangy mayo.” Nikki hopes to spread the love, and the mayo, through the entire community. She believes that others will find joy in her delicious sandwiches and the reminder to follow your dreams.

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.

Today’s Best Practices in SEO

Best SEO PracticesSEO is an integral component of a website’s performance. If a site is not optimized with keywords that reflect it’s content and doesn’t have backlinks from respected sites, it won’t show up when someone searches for it. Well, it might show up on page 3, 4, or 17, but let’s be honest—no one goes past the first page.

Gaining traffic and awareness come only when a plan is carefully crafted; it must involve keyword research and networking structured around the site’s unique goals. Every site will have its own SEO strategy that works to complete the desired goals. SEO used to be all about keywords. It still is, to a point, but it has grown to be so much more. It is entwined with content marketing, web design, and marketing. Here are some of the need-to-know best practices in SEO:

  • Owning Long Tail Queries
    Long Tail Queries are super-specific phrases that searchers use. For example, the long tail search for “black wool jackets under $100” will bring a searcher more relevant results to what they’re looking for versus searching key words “black jackets”. The best part about optimizing for long tail queries is while they may have less traffic is that it also means less competition. Not to mention you’ll be gaining traffic from a group of solid potential customers and not someone who meant “black track jackets”.
  • Writing How You Speak
    Since Google’s “Hummingbird” update, it’s become increasingly important to write exactly as you would speak, using “conversational speech” in optimization efforts. An SEO specialist is versed in how to write for the web and knows that Google favors natural-flowing speech over mechanical, stiff phrasing.
  • Quality Over Quantity
    Using good keywords over and over again isn’t going to help your rankings; neither are links to your site from other low-ranking sites. In fact, these tactics will hurt them. Today’s SEO focuses on the context of web pages. The best practice is to use keywords only where they fit, discuss niche and related products if applicable, and have original, useful content that is valuable to users. Fluff need not apply.
  • Full Service Integration
    Good SEO is not freestanding; it needs support. This support comes from marketing pieces that are directly related to your content, for example: an info graphic that is easily shareable on social networks, optimized with keywords, and distributed to the right areas. Achieving good SEO involves a comprehensive digital marketing plan that connects each component with actionable data. Each marketing effort is only a slice of the pie that makes up the whole.

 

In order to be successful, these tips should always be a part of your SEO plan. No matter what your site’s goals are, knowing strategies like these will help you on your journey to Google’s first page!

The Beer Witch Project

It has come to our attention that we may have an unwelcome visitor on our hands.

Element art director, Mike Tessmer, recently came back from a holiday vacation to Mexico, but he did not return alone. No, it wasn’t a ravenous case of Montezuma’s revenge or an exotic insect stowaway. It was an ancient and angry apparition. And we think the ghostly spirit has apparently taken residence at Element.

Yeah, thanks, Mike.

According to Mexican legend, there was once a young man who desired the affections of a beautiful woman whom he knew adamantly abstained from alcohol. Ironically, his family owned a “sustantivo,” or brewery. To show his dedication to the woman, he dumped hundreds of cases of beer into the Lerma Santiago River. Yet, she still would not have him, which left him devastated. Days later, he passed away. Today, it is said that the ghost eternally haunts those who partake in beer and spirits.

Since the office’s expansion, the interactive group upstairs has been unable to ignore his presence. Web Developer, Ryan Hebl, swears to hear bottle caps, dropping one by one, every Friday around 3:30pm. There is a strong scent of beer floating from Associate Creative Director, Eric Severstad’s office, which is unable to be masked, despite Project Coordinator Sue Barrett’s best Lysol-spraying abilities.

We think the ghost may also be contributing to a few other occurrences in Element’s chain of unfortunate office events: The light in Sales Director Chad Mix’s office refuses to stay on; he is forced to spend his workday in darkness. Dirty dishes are strewn across the café counter, even after being placed neatly in the dishwasher. The chairs in the conference room are constantly found in disarray, rebelling from Account Assistant Rachel Carlson’s straightening them.

Element is planning to perform a séance, which will take place as soon as Director of Account Services, Nikki Peroutka, is able to find candles that match the Element décor.

 

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.

Now Hiring: Web Developer

Can you develop responsive sites with a dynamic CMS? Do you create great user experiences from front-end to back-end? Excited about working with a team and learning new technologies? Do people refer to you as a code ninja? If so, keep reading!

Job Description

A Web Developer with 2+ years experience is needed to join the Element team. See more about Element below. But first, let’s talk about you. The ideal candidate has expert knowledge of markup languages, client and server-side scripting, polished troubleshooting skills, and experience working in all relevant applications. You must possess superior visual conceptual skills and the ability to develop effective websites and web applications for a variety of clients. Not too much to ask, right?

Duties

1. Help establish and maintain the highest possible standards of interactive materials produced by the agency.

2. Highly proficient in WordPress and other open source Content Management.

3. Systems and have experience programming for existing open source tools.

4. Keep abreast of current web and interactive programming/designs trends.

5. Consult with the Creative Director, Senior Art Director, Interactive Director, as well as copywriter, production, and account service personnel as necessary to achieve agency objectives.

6. Recommend solutions for clients’ web and interactive problems or objectives.

7. Choose the best methods of development, considering code efficiency and resource efficiency for each project.

8. Engage in any personal development necessary to stay current in web and interactive techniques and standards, and research activity required to become more familiar with clients’ businesses.

9. Meet established deadlines or provide reasonable notice to the production department of special circumstances requiring deadline extension.

10. Actively promote and grow interactive department by seeking out new work and new civilizations, boldly going where no Web Developer has gone before.

Benefits

-Paid vacations
-Paid holidays
-401(k) benefits with company matching
-Health insurance
-Dental insurance
-Vision insurance
-Compensation is competitive and based on demonstrated skills and experience

 Requirements

1. Comfortable working with WordPress and/or Expression Engine CMS.

2. Proficient with PHP, MySQL, HTML/CSS and JavaScript/jQuery.

3. Adhere to best practices and testing cross-browser, cross-platform, and/or cross-device compatibility.

4. Have a passion for doing work of the highest quality.

5. Comfortable in a fast-paced, creative ad agency environment.

6. Knowledge of Adobe’s Creative Suite and Microsoft Office necessary.

About Element

Short story: Element is a gathering of creative individuals that delivers strategic thinking, interactive capabilities, sales conversion expertise, and maximum ROI for our clients. And, we have a good time doing it.

Longer version: A full-service ad agency, Element offers everything from soup to nuts (in less technical terms, interactive to broadcast to print). Our team’s experience and insight allows us to handle business-to-business, business-to-consumer, local, and national accounts. Practically everyone here is cross-trained in all areas of marketing expertise: designers know branding, account executives can creatively concept, our copywriter understands search engine optimization.

Within Element, we appreciate the opportunity to do what we do in a casual atmosphere. So, fire up the patio grill, play some Wii, challenge our ping-pong champ, and enjoy a refreshing craft beer on tap. Located in De Pere, just south of Green Bay, Element associates appreciate Northeast Wisconsin’s strong, diversified economy and its dedication to quality and hard work. We take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities, culture, and safety. Oh, and that legendary football team.

How To Apply

Forward your resume with cover letter, example URLs, and salary expectations to derek@goelement.com.

Nature Called, Element Answered

Earlier this month, Director of New Business, Chad Mix, continually interrupted a Monday morning meeting by excusing himself to the restroom. Swearing the cause was drinking too many weight loss shakes, Mix apologized, but suggested adding computers to all bathroom stalls in order to maintain a high level of productivity. “Just think! I could have been video conferencing into this meeting and not have missed a thing.”

Planning began immediately. In an attempt to maximize the efficiency of the bathroom upgrades, many ergonomic factors were considered. Since research shows that exercise improves mental focus and brain function, Element purchased squat toilets (common in Asia) to replace the traditional sit-down commodes. And to ensure no strain or discomfort during use, eye-level swivel computer stands have also been installed.

Since the addition, Rachel Carlson, Account Assistant, has taken over monitoring employee bathroom use. She was asked to determine if there was in fact an increase in productivity by affixing special bathroom sensors to track brain waves and heart rate.

“It was a perfect time to transition my bathroom monitoring duties,” stated Sue Barrett, Element’s Project Coordinator. “We’ve hired several new employees recently and I am having a really hard time matching the correct person to the unique sound of their foot steps as they head to the bathroom. My files are a complete mess.”

Employees are raving about the addition. “I’ve always said I get my best ideas in the bathroom. I’ve also found that the sound of clicking keys from the next stall is surprisingly relaxing,” stated Digital Marketing Director, Derek Blaszak.

Director of Technology, Kevin Hamilton, has enjoyed the addition so much, that he is currently developing a USB port sensor that will spritz aromatherapy oil into the air every time someone presses “E” on the keyboard.

Since the remodel, Element has caught the attention of several other companies, and an interview with Forbes magazine is scheduled for mid-February, which Carlson suspects will be the peak time of bathroom-related productivity due to fancy Valentine’s Day dinners and gourmet food gifts.

The upgrade has been such a success that owner Lance Peroutka is considering moving his office to the bathroom indefinitely. “When something feels right, you just have to go with it.”

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.