Trio Web Design
Trio Web Design

Saskatoon Businesses transitioning from Traditional Marketing to Inbound Marketing

posted by Trio Web Design    |   October 12, 2012 11:13

Once again we had a fantastic week at Trio Web Design! This week we had the opportunity to meet with passionate local Saskatoon businesses that are interested in diversifying their marketing budgets to include online forms of advertising.  A common theme during our meetings was the urgency to transition from traditional forms of marketing to inbound marketing strategies.

Regularly we are asked by businesses in Saskatoon, "how long do I have to keep pouring money into traditional outlets before I can make the transition to online initiatives completely?" Our reply is often quite straight forward, "well that depends on what your marketing strategy has been in the past, is currently, and what you are wanting to achieve in the future."  Many businesses believe that they can completely drop all of their traditional forms of marketing and jump right into the new wave of online marketing. While this might be an option for start-ups, unfotunately, for more well established businesses, this cold-cut strategy might not be well received by their long-time consumers or their staff.

Remember that change can be scary...so in this case patience is a virtue!

To answer some of the questions we received this week I found a great article by Anum Hussain, called "How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing", in this article Anum explains how to strategically incorporate inbound marketing strategies with traditional marketing initiatives. 

For anyone interested in further discussing the potential of inbound marketing strategies and how to transition their business from traditional to online advertising initiatives, feel free to give us a call at 1 (306) 716-0680. 

Hope you enjoy the article!

Have a great week. 

- CBB

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How to Painlessly Transition Your Company to Inbound Marketing

Posted by Anum Hussain - Mon, Oct 08, 2012 @ 08:00 AM

INTRODUCTION

We talk to people all the time that are totally sold on the inbound marketing methodology, but there's just one thing standing in their way from becoming a full-fledged inbound marketer ... they can't convince their boss they can switch to inbound marketing without experiencing a painful blow to their current marketing.

It makes sense -- change is hard, and honestly, nobody is going to let you waltz in and, with the snap of your fingers, totally change the way your business and marketing department functions. If someone came up to you and said that the proper way to cut paper is by grinding your teeth on it because it results in higher levels of efficiency than traditional scissors, would you make the swap? Of course not. Even if it was true. (Note: it's not.)

That means if you're really interested in transitioning your company to inbound marketing, it's time get a little sneaky. It's time to integrate your inbound marketing campaigns with your company's more traditional marketing campaigns. Over time, you can not only prove the value of inbound marketing as your campaigns start to generate staggering ROI -- numbers tend to do the convincing for you -- but you'll already have that gradual transition towards more inbound-friendly methods underway! So let's start that transition to inbound marketing together, right now, step-by-step ... here's what to do.

Merge Inbound Tactics with Outbound Campaigns

Many marketers have already started fusing online and offline marketing techniques. According to Marketing Charts, 90% of marketers believe using online data to optimize the offline experience is important. Furthermore, 73% of company marketers say they will be using a cross-channel marketing strategy over the next few years.

Clearly a large population of marketers are comfortable with weaving online marketing tactics with their traditional campaigns. So let's start there. Kindly request to make inbound tactics a part of the outbound promotion. Here's a few examples.

  • Connect Your Commercials with a Social Media Campaign

If you work for an organization that uses commercials to advertise their business, ask if you can get social media in on the action just a little bit. Perhaps something small, like a hashtag? Just look at this screenshot from an Audi commercial, for example.

 

This inclusion enables you to unify your online messaging with your advertising campaign, and gives you the opportunity to go to town with social content revolving around the hashtag. Use it in quotes, to start Twitter chats, when citing stats ... anything that can help unify the messaging from your commercial and the content you're publishing to social media.

  • Attach a Landing Page to Your Print Advertisements and Direct Mail

Your print advertisements may get you noticed, it's the call-to-action part that's difficult. In other words, is there any way to get someone to actually take action when they're inspired by your print ads? Well, when your team sits down to put together their next print ad, ask them for a little space for some copy that points readers to an online destination. This could be through a QR code like Gucci did below, or by simply including a URL.

 

This allows you to create a customized landing page just for this advertisement -- you know, something a little more personalized to the reader and the ad you created than just your homepage.

Simulataneously Run Inbound Campaigns Alongside More Traditional Campaigns

Now that you've started to integrate digital and print campaigns, ask if you can run a few additional "inboundy" campaigns of your own. Make this easier by promising you'll still complete your routine tasks -- these additional campaigns will be tests you're running in addition to those. While this will require more of your time for a bit, it won't require more of your budget, making it easier to sell your boss and colleagues on the subject. Here are some quick campaigns you can run to include in your ultimate portfolio for convincing your team.

  • Repurpose Existing Content to Create Some Lead Generation Offers

If you've been in business for a while -- even just a year or two -- you've likely accumulated a bunch of content and expertise without even knowing it. And if you want to do a test drive of an inbound marketing campaign, you're going to need that content and expertise. Gather your current sales and marketing collateral -- case studies, testimonials, brochures, whatever you got -- and start reworking it to spin it into offer content that you can put behind a form, and/or share across social media channels.

  • Set Up CTAs and Landing Pages

See if your boss would be alright with you making some website tweaks. You're not going to redesign the skin or anything, but you could improve upon what's already there ... and make some key new additions.

First, create a call-to-action that lives right on the homepage. It's easy, you can even make them in PowerPoint! That CTA should lead to a new landing page that houses one of those awesome new lead generation offers you just created. Make sure you consider what type of offer visitors to your home page might be interested in -- if the bulk of your traffic is coming in on branded keywords, for example, something a little further down your sales funnel, like a case study or product-focused whitepaper, might be most appropriate. When your sales team starts to see people "raising their hand" to talk about purchasing your product or service, you can bet they'll want to try more of that inbound marketing stuff.

  • Create Visual Social Media Content

Put on your creative hat and think of a cool new idea for increasing engagement on your social media channels. Can you create a series of memes around a common industry fad? Can you create a few visual representations of important stats and data in your field? You don't need Photoshop to do this, either. Just head over to memegenerator.net or use PowerPoint to whip up some visuals that can be easily shared, helping you generate more fans and followers and increase your overall social reach.

  • Create and Share Your Blog Content Strategically

Start writing posts on your company blog -- and if you don't have one, set one up! But be strategic. You can't just write a post and hope the world stumbles upon it. Instead, start sharing that post with advocates of your brand or others who would find it valuable. And yes, that includes your social media fans and followers. You also need to make sure search engines can find it by writing about topics germane to your company and industry. It would also help to start writing guest blog posts for other related sites so you can get some of those coveted inbound links that help your site rise in the search engine rankings!

Collect and Compare Metrics

Now that you've got some campaigns up and running, you can start collecting metrics that speak to their effectiveness. Collect every metric humanly possible. Generate reports that show you the number of times your hashtags were mentioned on Twitter. Look at your website analytics to see how many users were sent to your customized landing pages or landed on your website because of your blog posts. See which keywords drove the most traffic to your website. You know, see what didn't work, what did work, and what really, really worked. These metrics will show impact you can tie directly to business goals like generating revenue and closing new business.

Then it's time to organize all your results into a clear, succinct, and educational presentation so you can prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your team. And when you use data based off of recent campaigns -- data that you can tie directly to leads and customers generated -- you don't have that difficult of a case to make!

What tactics have you used to convince your boss and colleagues to invest in inbound marketing?

Image Credit: IT Tech News

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Online Promotional Strategies

Trio Web Design featured in SaskBusiness Magazine - September 2012

posted by Trio Web Design    |   October 1, 2012 13:42

Setting the Standard in Website Design - by Nathan Hursh

website designers saskatoon

In a market where common words are thrown around with no regard to their actual meaning, Trio has established standards to ensure their clients know exactly what they are getting.

The old adage that “opposites attract” may seem like the wrong saying for two people who have grown up together, but for some reason it seems extremely appropriate for the sister duo that started Trio Web Design, Allison Thiessen and Jannah Craig. Opposites attract is usually in reference to how two people can be so totally different that their uniqueness brings them together and with these two, it’s no different except for the fact that they haven’t spent much time apart.

Born in Saskatoon, but raised in Yorkton, the sisters worked together as long as they can remember. “We always started little businesses together when we were younger,” reflects Allison. “My parents’ philosophy in our development was to emphasize that no matter what happens in life, Jannah and I would always have each other to count on. So this propelled us to be the closest of friends. Our friendship was something my parents really nurtured.”

Celebrating each other’s unique traits was also encouraged from an early age and this has given them the foundation of being really great business partners. Before even being out of grade school, the girls had come to the realization that they should be in business together. “Allison was always organizing the products, and I was always making the space look good, whether our pretend business was a restaurant or clothing store located in our playroom,” Jannah laughs while Allison adds, “and these characteristics carried over into our young adult life, as we were always looking for opportunities to work together.”

As life goes, the sisters embarked on different paths with Allison, the older of the two, attending the University of Saskatchewan first, and obtaining a degree in marketing. Jannah followed her passion for art and attended the

University of Saskatchewan, starting in the fine arts program and then branching off to obtain her diploma in graphic design at McKay Career Training. During this time, the desire to work together was still very present, but Allison travelled for some time before coming back to Saskatoon to work for a junior mining company, while Jannah found work with a graphic design firm.

“We hadn’t planned it at all,” explains Allison, “but I was approached by a business owner in Saskatoon who was interested in having me consult for his company on their current marketing strategy. At the age of 26, I didn’t think it was something that I was necessarily qualified to do; however, with my growing interest in internet marketing and my experience in brand development and promotions, he was eager to have me review the business’ marketing strategy. This created an opportunity for Jannah and I to work together, because of the potential re-branding strategy for the company’s print and online material.”

With Jannah’s experience in websites and print design, it seemed like an opportune time for the girls to work together, especially since only a few months prior they met the final part of their trio, Tristan Rawlings. “It just kind of happened,” remembers Jannah. “We met him at a social gathering and casually joked around about the three of us creating a company together.”

“Our conversation was really casual and I think that’s how businesses can sometimes start,” says Allison. “It’s a casual conversation with no pressure, where people can easily talk about their passions, what drives them, and what areas they have expertise in.”

Tristan’s background is in website and database programming and IT support. His experience as a programming specialist with the federal government, and the fact that he also owned a local Saskatoon website hosting company, made him a great addition to the sister duo. “After I was approached for the re-branding opportunity, the three of us revisited our ‘casual conversation’ and we were all really open to working together on this project,” states Allison. Trio grew organically from that moment on.

In the beginning, some of Trio’s initial projects came from Tristan’s web hosting clients who were looking to upgrade their websites. It didn’t take long for the people who had their websites redesigned to start recommending Trio to everyone they knew because of the service they received and the quality of the websites. Trio’s continued growth has almost completely been based on referrals from clients. With this type of organic growth strategy, the business partners found themselves fighting through a few lean months during the beginning stages of the business. “There were days when we would sit and ask each other hard questions about our business growth strategy,” explains Allison. “We would take out our business plan and remind ourselves of why we started Trio, what kind of foundation we were committed to building, and the type of web design company we wanted to become. We all knew the value in the product and service we were offering to businesses and by the end of these talks, the three of us were more committed to seeing the company through lean and robust times.”

“We also had our parents,” declares Jannah, “who were eternally supportive of us. My dad would quit his job and be our personal driver if we would let him.”

It all boils down to three things: a solid business model that puts the customer first, a top-notch product, and a passion that fuels everything. Trio is one of the few web design companies out there that starts every project with a blank page, literally. Jannah will not use a pre-made template or a design that she has created previously; she is creative to the core. She starts with nothing, except for the market research that Allison has done to get down to the heart of the client’s company, by pinpointing the target audience, analyzing the product or service being sold, and thoroughly understanding the message that the client would like to convey online.

Opposites attract, there is no question about it. Allison is the marketing extrovert, Jannah is the artistic introvert. Decisions in the company are made based on each person’s area of expertise and that decision carries authority, and is respected by the other people within the business. “I think why Jannah and I like working together is because we become our best when we work together, which is how it’s been since we were little,” Allison laughingly exclaims. “It’s absolutely huge that Jannah and I don’t compete with each other. We’ve always grown up hearing from our parents to compliment one another and be each other’s biggest supporter. We know one another’s boundaries and we honour each other’s strengths. The same goes with Tristan; he is very gifted at what he does and we respect his area of expertise.”

Since being in business together since 2009, Trio has accumulated over 50 clients and offers each of those clients the same support and service regardless of the business or organization’s size. With Trio’s foundation of producing quality websites and trusted customer service, a plan for expansion beyond Saskatchewan’s borders is a strategy they are carefully assessing. “First, we are focused on grow- ing a dynamic web design business here at home. Now this isn’t to say that we aren’t interested in setting-up Trio outside of our borders, but we believe that you have to build something right the first time before you can successfully export it,” describes Allison. With that being said, Trio is currently expanding here in Saskatoon. They are looking to hire another designer and an administrative assistant to support their business growth going into the 2013 fiscal year.

Allison and Jannah are working hard and are seeing the fruits of their labor. Trio however may not be the only business venture these sisters do in their professional lives, as they are always dreaming and looking towards the future. “Dreaming big dreams is a gift that we all have, and we dream a lot,”explain the girls. “But we know that you can’t only set your gaze on the future, because you will miss out on the greatness of the here and now. It’s keeping our attention on the present that will enable us to one day achieve our dreams. Over fifteen years ago, we had a dream to work together and now here we are business partners and owners. We can’t help but be excited about the future of Trio, but we are even more thrilled about the success of Trio today.”

Regardless of whether Trio is their only business to grow and nurture for a long time to come or if it’s a stepping stone to something else, the one thing that rings true is that whatever they end up doing, it will be done together as partners.

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TRIO News

Web Designer Trio Web Design launches new websites in Saskatoon!

posted by Trio Web Design    |   September 27, 2012 15:26

Growth. Growth. Growth. We are excited to share some of the most recent Saskatoon website design projects that we launched over the last four months! We are currently working on some fantastic website designs and can't wait until our next website project update (right before Christmas holidays!). 

In other news at Trio Web Design:

  • Trio was featured in the Top 100 Companies in Saskatchewan publication.  Trio's article titled "Setting the Standard" is the cover story for the inaugural issue of the Entrepruenuer and Small Business section within the publication.  If you'd like to have a read of the article click here.
  • We just recently hired an Executive Assistant, Lauren Sekulich, to assit Allison with client relations. We are also in the process of hiring on a new Website Designer to assist us with our growing client base.  Very EXCITING!

Till next time be sure to Like our Facebook Page to stay up-to-date with website and internet marketing trends that will help your online initiatives!

- CBB

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