Giles-parscale

With all of the talk in recent years about digital marketing, SEO and online presence, it’s no wonder that design has taken a backseat in the communications and marketing realm. BIG MISTAKE. While digital marketing is an incredibly powerful strategy for reaching large audiences, without excellent design, consumers will be less apt to engage with your brand. Instead, Giles-Parscale recommends that you look at a holistic marketing approach – combining solid design, traditional advertising and digital media into one potent symbiotic campaign.

Why Design Matters

Brand Awareness

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a great logo is worth millions. Why? Because good design transforms and transcends a complex idea into a neat, easily digested image that effectively conveys your message, representing the essence of your unique organization.

First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions

First impressions can either make or break a person, and the same goes for brands, too. While the impression may be subliminal, a great logo makes a person want to act. At Giles-Parscale, our number one priority is to make your targeted audience act positively and to reach audiences that may not know they need your product or service.

Competitor Envy

Great design not only increases your audience and engagement, it also differentiates you from your competitors – a good thing when you have several direct competitors vying for the same customers you are. Good logo and overall branding design makes you look reputable, instilling trust and the desire for people to do business with you.

Marketing Reach

So, your company has invested in a digital media strategy and online advertising campaign – congratulations! You’ve taken the first step in reaching more customers than you ever thought possible. But – and this is important – if your logo is subpar or doesn’t effectively represent your brand, you may not convey the message you want to your target audience. Spending a bit more time and money on a holistic branding approach will definitely pay off for you, your organization and your audience.

Tell It

Take your business or organization to the next level and expand your audience reach with the power of design, digital media and good content strategy, Giles-Parscale can help. Our comprehensive approach to branding, marketing and advertising combined with our professional team of designers, digital media strategists, content specialists and videographers bring your story to life. We’ll reach and engage a world of audiences on a variety of platforms, ensuring that your brand tells a strong, clear message. 

Digital media strategy is no longer just a buzzword – it’s a powerful tool that if developed and implemented correctly, will increase your organization’s visibility, competitive advantage, and of course, your bottom line.

An all-encompassing digital media strategy involves several different moving parts to ensure it not only reaches target audiences, but also covers all bases, effectively utilizing appropriate channels and social media platforms.

One piece of the digital media strategy puzzle we see regularly left out is a solid content strategy. And out of all of these moving parts and puzzle pieces, content should definitely be a priority as you plan, create, implement and manage your overall marketing strategy.

Why Content Strategy Is Important to Your Company

Whether or not you currently have a digital media plan in place, developing a content strategy is a great exercise in better understanding your organization, customers and existing content/messaging.

Identifying and Analyzing Your Current Content and Messaging

The first step is identifying and analyzing your organization’s current content, as well as assessing your competitor’s content.

This can include several exercises, including creating personas, conducting stakeholder interviews, taking inventory on your existing content and completing a content audit, learning your company’s content gap areas, and identifying your competition.

Developing Future Content and Messaging

After identifying and analyzing current content, the next step is to start planning and developing future content, and identifying the best channels to disperse that content. Content should always keep your customer in mind (always refer to your personas as guidance), and should be relevant, interesting, engaging and helpful to your audience – in short, good, solid writing. But, it’s also important to keep in mind keywords your audience is most likely searching for, and be sure to incorporate these keywords into your content.

To keep on track and on point, make sure you establish style guidelines to ensure content consistency. Your “brand voice” should always be followed and your organization should develop a content editorial calendar. This gives your team a solid and fixed content plan to follow.

That said, just because you have a well-constructed digital strategy doesn’t mean passing on good opportunities that arise. For example, if you notice your customers are requesting a product or service on your social media sites, this is a great opportunity to address their requests – and gain more loyalty since you are actively paying close attention to what they want – because ultimately, that’s the goal.

Placing Content on Various Channels

Once you have a solid content direction, it’s important to place content where your customers can easily access and find what they’re looking for. This includes updating your organization’s online assets like homepage, landing pages and product pages, as well as your blog. If you don’t have a blog, think about creating one, and adding new content on a regular basis. And of course, don’t forget social media channels, too. Not only does this create general awareness by reaching audiences, it’s also a great way to connect with current and future clients – encouraging your target demographic to sign up for emails, blogs and even text messages.

Remember, It’s Ultimately All About Storytelling

You’ve worked hard to create your company or organization – and your story should be shared. Always remember to concentrate on your organization’s story, first and foremost. While much of this blog post concentrates on the “how” in content strategy, the “why” is just as – if not more important. If content is relevant, helpful, engaging, and above all,authentic, you’re on your way to increasing customers and your bottom line.

If you’re ready to take your business or organization to the next level and expand your audience reach with the power of digital media and good content strategy, Giles-Parscalecan help. Our holistic approach to branding, marketing and advertising combined with our professional team of digital media strategists, content specialists, videographers and designers ensure your story is told in an engaging, effective way using a multitude of platforms that best reach your target audiences.

It’s a challenge for all businesses – how do you reach your target audience in an effective way that creates awareness, engages and provides helpful information, ultimately transforming someone into a customer?

No doubt, a comprehensive digital media strategy is an imperative component to any solid marketing plan. The challenge today is that consumers are becoming savvier (and less tolerant) of traditional ads, sometimes making your ad irrelevant and ineffective. It’s no wonder Adblockers are becoming the weapon of choice for many consumers, making it much more difficult to deliver your message to target audiences.

So what’s a business supposed to do to?

The answer may be in the rise of native advertising. In a nutshell, effective native advertising grabs audience attention by not sticking out like a sore thumb – think of it as ad camouflage. And let’s face it – consumers in this day and age not only expect good content – they demand it.

Native ads can be complex or simple, contain video, text, visuals, and even games and quizzes. They can be serious, humorous, educational and/or entertaining and placed on a variety of different online platforms including social, news and numerous other websites.

It’s important to remember, however, like a typical website blog, native ads are information-based – they don’t blatantly promote your company’s product or service, but instead engage the reader by offering them useful and/or entertaining content.

For a humorous example, Gawker and Newcastle created a tongue and cheek native advertising piece entitled “We’ve Disguised This Newcastle Ad as an Article to Get You to Click It.” Gawker chose to weave humor with interesting and relevant content and video, which in itself is a winning strategy. What makes this a real winner in our book, however, is the transparency – another important factor in native advertising. Combining these elements paid off handsomely for Newcastle as they experienced both positive feedback and a bump in beer sales.

BuzzFeed also works very well within the native advertising realm, working with brands to create content that blends seamlessly within their site. When Intel partnered with BuzzFeed to promote their company, BuzzFeed’s answer was to create a piece with images, gifs and content entitled “15 Things We Did At School That Future Students Will Never Understand.” There are many more, but this “ad” was able to convey humor, history and the pre-tech educational experience all in one post, ultimately complementing Intel’s overall brand – and products and services they offer.

And while these are just two examples of native advertising, the possibilities are endless. Just always keep in mind that the most critical aspect of this medium is to provide engaging content.

If your content doesn’t come with value, your audience will simply refuse to engage, throwing your ad into the Internet’s lonely black hole of advertising that never sees the light of day. And a sad, lonely ad is no way to represent your brand, anyway. Tell your story in a unique way and you’ll find your audience will engage – eventually becoming loyal ambassadors for your brand.

If you’re ready to take your business or organization to the next level and expand your audience reach with the power of digital media, Giles-Parscale can help. Our holistic approach to branding, marketing and advertising combined with our professional team of digital media strategists, videographers and designers ensure your story is told in an engaging, effective way using a multitude of platforms that best reach your target audiences.

About Giles-Parscale

With more than 20 years experience in digital media, branding, marketing and advertising, Giles-Parscale is a nationally recognized design + digital agency, and one of the largest agencies in Texas, representing a wide variety of clients throughout the United States. The Giles-Parscale diverse team of designers, developers, digital media strategists and marketing specialists represent and provide services for more than 750 clients throughout the United States. It is our strategic blend of award-winning storytelling, design experience, innovative web development, public relations and digital marketing strategy that makes us unique, setting us apart from the competition. 

Regardless of what industry you’re in or who your audience is, video marketing should be part of your overall marketing strategy. Whether you sell consumer-based products, a B2B enterprise, nonprofit or educational institution, video can help propel your brand to a multitude of audiences. And whether your target audiences are familiar or not with your brand, it’s a great way to reach, introduce, reinforce, engage and inspire your unique brand story.

The Power of Video Marketing

  • 75% of business executives report watching industry-related videos every week
  • Emails that incorporate the word “video” in the subject line have a larger click-through rate, up to 65% higher than those without
  • A whopping 96% of B2Bs use video marketing for campaigns
  • An estimated 80% of Internet traffic will be video by 2019

Compelling Storytelling Through Video

Video has the unique ability to engage your audience on many different platforms by sharing a moving, visual story that can elicit an emotional and lasting impression, further solidifying your brand presence. Video essentially brings your brand to life through movement and story, connecting how your audience feels about your company and building brand loyalty, creating a lasting impression that can grow not only more brand loyalty, but revenue, too.

At Giles-Parscale, we continue to be the leaders in effectively utilizing this next level of brand marketing, helping our clients achieve higher levels of engagement with their audience. Clients like Hilliard Muñoz Gonzales and Donald J. Trump for President are embracing the power of video and reaching more people than ever before.

If you’re ready to take your business or organization to the next level using the power of video marketing, Giles-Parscale can help. Our holistic approach to branding, marketing and advertising combined with our professional team of videographers, designers and digital media experts ensure your story is told in an engaging, effective way using a multitude of platforms that best reach your target audiences.

About Giles-Parscale

Giles-Parscale (GP) is the largest design + digital agency in San Antonio with more than 50 years combined experience in branding, marketing, and advertising. We are, first, however, storytellers, bringing client stories to life through one-of-a-kind branding, campaign and marketing initiatives, turning these campaigns into experiences that touch people. Combined with our knowledge of effective marketing, digital marketing and advertising experience, GP knows how to get attention from specific audiences – precisely at the right place and right time, through the perfect medium.

SAN ANTONIO- The Witte Museum proudly presents the Texas premiere of Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, opening May 14. To provide premium access to the exhibition, the Witte has launched a new microsite dedicated exclusively to Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

“As soon as visitors enter the microsite, they see a full-screen video, which places them in the middle of the gorgeous and expansive exhibition, which is interactive, immersive, and family-friendly, and at the same time, intensively informative,” says Witte President and CEO Marise McDermott. “The microsite is an exciting and highly functional digital experience, providing easy access to ticket and event purchasing.”

Nationally-acclaimed, San Antonio-based, web design firm Giles-Parscale created www.wittemuse um.org/MayaSA. Its designers incorporated a wide sweep of elements from the exhibit into the digital experience by adding culturally accurate design accents including Mayan hieroglyphics.

Read more from the Witte's press release here.

Liberty Bar is not only one of the best restaurants in San Antonio—it is a unique city landmark. On first visit to the restaurant’s site, you’ll notice the degree of comfort, warmth and hospitality that abounds the iconic eatery. Liberty Bar aims to leave its patrons “satisfied, gratified, satiated and indulged.”

Once our partnership with Liberty Bar began, our goal at Giles-Parscale was to mirror these joyous feelings into a beautifully informative website. Take a look at the focal points and creative work our team accomplished in bringing Liberty Bar's brand to its current rank among the go-to restaurants in San Antonio.

  • CMS - The Content Management System used to create a website can make all the difference. This site was built with ExpressionEngine – our choice CMS for it’s limitless creative capabilities.
  • Strong Imagery – The power of photography on a website is immeasurable – especially in the restaurant industry. Images that awaken the visitor’s senses, that cause them to almost smell the aroma in the restaurant, taste the flavor of a succulent meal and hear the music playing in the background – those are the images that visitors remember. For this site, custom photography by Jason Risner was crucial. The goal of these images was to reflect the passion and satisfaction of an incredible meal shared with friends and family. Diverting from an overly stylized look, the photography aimed to capture the aftermath of a jubilant feast: effortlessly assembled table settings, bones on empty plates, and half-full wine glasses. Quotes with less traditional messages lay above the images in the rotating banners. These serve to reflect the restaurant’s happening vibes and alternative feel – this is not your average, buttoned up restaurant.

  • Conversion – The site is incredibly user-friendly to enhance the visitor’s experience on the site. The easier the site is to navigate, the longer users will stick around and the more likely they will be to take action and convert.
  • SEO – Search Engine Optimization is a must in today’s cyber world. If a site is not up to newest optimization standards, your site will be less likely for a user to find. We firmly believe that content is king – if you provide users with useful content, the leads will come.
  • Responsive web design – Millions of consumers use mobile devices to search for local restaurants every day. If your site is mobile friendly they are more likely to visit and become a customer.

  • Ajax When your visitor lands on your site what you don’t want to happen is lag time between pages and applications. This can be frustrating and most likely encourage the visitor to leave the site. Ajax combines XHTML and CSS standards, page interaction, interchange with XML and XSLT, with the infamous JavaScript to blend it all together.
  • Live Tiles – A great web designer will use live tiles to have instantaneous information on constantly changing data like menus or live news and weather. Live tiles replace the need to visit other websites that contain this information and keeps the visitor engaged on the site.

As is evidenced by Liberty Bar’s site, solid branding, design, and web technology makes all the difference. Contact us today to see how our full service agency can help improve your brand and its online presence.

Are you still struggling to figure out how to get the most out of your social media marketing efforts for your business? You are not alone. While most businesses use social media, averaging at least 6 hours a week on their plan, almost half of these businesses claim it has not helped to generate more sales.

But we know social media marketing works; countless businesses have grown and expanded as a result, many basing their foundation on social media success. So what is fact and what is fiction? Just like any marketing or advertising medium, some find great success using certain social media outlets, while others will waste time and money before they find a better solution for their needs.

The key is to develop a strategic digital marketing plan so that you too can start generating sales and growing your business from your social media. Here are a few tips for successful social media marketing:

  • What are your business’ goals? Build your social media strategy around your goals. What do you want to use social media for? If you want to convey instant messages to your customers, stick with live feeds like Twitter. Want to share industry expertise? LinkedIn is great. General information and events? Facebook is perfect for reaching your audience. Visual imagery geared toward a niche market? Pinterest or Instagram is your go-to.
  • •Tailoring Your Social Media Strategy for Your Business. There are many platforms to choose from, but you don’t need to be on all of them – that would take a huge amount of bandwidth and resources. Instead, select the platform that offers the best potential for reaching your ideal audience. Rather than a sub-par representation in a lot of places, choose your social media outlets strategically and make those amazing.
  • •Deliver relevant content. Make sure that what your audience hears from you is interesting and fits seamlessly with your brand identity. Fluff won’t get it done in today’s world of social media.
  • •Keep your social media active. The most successful social media marketing plans are the most active and well thought out. Devise a plan that ensures you post around four times a week, if not more, to keep your followers interested. Editorial calendars are a great way to stay organized.
  • •Engage with your audience. Social media shouldn’t be a passive experience—listen to what your audience has to say about your business and respond accordingly. Also, proactively reach out and engage with anyone who mentions your brand. This will make your business feel more human to users, which is excellent for boosting brand loyalty.
  • •Target new potential customers. Everyone knows the saying “sometimes you have to spend money to make money.” Once you have exhausted your local resources for obtaining a larger digital audience, paid advertising options can help you grow who sees your content. Facebook page boosting and LinkedIn advertising can target individuals that fit into your ideal audience profile based on demographics like age, gender, location, and interests.
  • •Stay current with updates. Social media platforms are regularly updating their tools to better reach target audiences. If you are unable to dedicate the time and energy to stay up to date with these changes, it could be a good idea to outsource your social media marketing and advertising.
  • •Be patient. Understand that social media is just a part of your holistic marketing strategy, is a way to brand your business and communicate directly with your customers. But it does take time and persistence to see a benefit from this marketing medium, so be patient. At Giles-Parscale, we help clients capitalize on the right social media and web marketing strategies for their businesses. Let our digital marketing specialists partner with you to accomplish your business’s goals.

San Antonio Magazine names Giles-Parscale "The Face of Digital Marketing" in their January issue.

click here to view the feature.

While content has remained of extreme importance over the past few years, its power will be at a new height in 2016. Creative, personal, unique content drives almost every aspect of digital marketing. If you want to grow your business in 2016, see our tips to capitalize on content’s expanded role in your digital marketing.

Use Quality Content to Enhance SEO

Unique content has always been key in successful SEO, but in 2016, it is expected to trump most other practices. According to a recent article in Forbes, many traditional SEO practices will become obsolete in 2016. Google has continuously enhanced its algorithms to search out new, unique content, outplaying other efforts to increase SEO artificially. This means strategies like link building to bolster SEO rankings are phasing out, forcing businesses to grow their online presence through higher quality content.

Consider Interesting Content Your New Digital Ad

Fresh content in the form of blogs, social media, YouTube and enhanced web pages is the new form of advertising in 2016. Marketing Insider Group predicts that 2016 marks the year of ad blocking across all mediums. This includes ad blocking software and applications online and customers switching from ad-laden cable TV to streaming. Instead, interesting, quality content will be the new form of advertising. The good news is quality content can cost less than many forms of traditional ads, it just requires constant focus in the form of a strategic content marketing plan.

Diversify Your Digital Content

In 2016, we also suggest embracing a diversified approach. It is not just about having a popular blog or how many followers you have on Facebook; it is about reaching your audience through content in a variety of ways, expanding that reach through different types of content. Social media, blogs, YouTube, infographics and whitepapers are all ways to reach your audience with relevant and valuable content, increasing your brand awareness and building meaningful connections with your potential and existing customer base. This in turn builds higher revenues.

Be Creative with Your Content

So what constitutes high-quality, unique content? It is whatever your customers want to read, watch or share regarding your company, product or industry. Quality content can be informative, shocking, entertaining or funny; it can be a post, a blog, a video or an e-book. It can even be old content repurposed and repackaged as new again. The idea is to have a plan to immerse your audience with a variety of creative content that is meant to feel and look like content that the user would want to engage with regardless of it being an advertisement. This “native” approach is key to competing in 2016’s digital world.

Giles-Parscale will gladly help you create a plan of attack for your digital content marketing. As San Antonio’s digital marketing experts, we can help you build an arsenal of quality content and implement this strategy throughout the coming year to build your brand and customer base. Contact our team today to learn more about the digital marketing strategy that would best suit your business.

Sources:

http://marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/my-top-content-marketing-predictions-for-2016/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/11/06/7-seo-practices-that-will-become-obsolete-by-the-end-of-2016/

Do you have a blog on your company’s website? If not, you could be missing out on some major advantages. Blogs are a crucial element in building your brand, improving SEO, connecting to your customers and converting leads into sales. If you are not using blogs to promote your business, here are five excellent reasons to get onboard.

  1. Customers like blogs. First and foremost, the reason your business should have a blog is because your customers like and use blogs. It is estimated 128 million Americans read blogs. They share them on social media and use blogs to help make buying decisions. 79% of people research their purchases online, with 50% of their research time spent reviewing websites and reading blogs. If you don’t have a blog, your company may be overlooked by these savvy customers.
  2. Blogs help build customer relationships with your company. Brand loyalty is hard to build in today’s online world. Without that face-to-face interaction, you need a way to connect with customers. Blogs are a vehicle that you can use to build meaningful relationships with your customers and improve brand loyalty. 70% of people learn about companies through their blogs versus advertisements and 60% of people feel positively about a company’s brand after reading their blogs.
  3. Blogs help improve SEO and website traffic. One of the main reasons businesses first decide to add a blog is to help improve their online presence. Adding fresh content to your site through a blog helps improve SEO and is a great way to grow your online presence. Blogs are a great way to include search keywords into your site, provide content variety, and new pages for search engines to index. Websites with a blog have 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages than those without a blog.
  4. Increase sales and leads with blogging. Did you know that 61% of consumers have made a purchase due to a blog they read? That statistic alone is a good reason to add a blog to your website. 57% of companies have gained new customers through a blog, helping increase their sales. Blogs are also a great way to create impulse buys – 13-17% of online purchases were due to a consumer making an impulse buy after finding an interesting product online, often after reading a blog.
  5. Blogs help improve your company’s position as an industry expert. Blogs are an excellent way to educate and influence your customers, positioning your company as industry experts. By providing insight into your niche, customers gain trust in your brand and products, and in turn, share your company with others through social media and word of mouth.

The question should not be why your company needs a blog—what you should be asking is why you don’t already have one. Giles-Parscale can help your company capitalize on the incredible benefits of blogging to increase your online presence, strengthen your company’s brand and to gain new customers. Talk to one of our digital marketing specialists today to learn more about our effective marketing techniques.

KENS 5 interviews GP President Brad Parscale and San Antonio Riverwalk on the River Parade's online tickets, now with seat selection--an upgrade made possible this year by our custom web development.

ExpressionEngine is one of the top rated content management systems for its design customizability, extensive list of add-ons and supreme security. See why Expression Engine should be your top choice when selecting a CMS for your website.

Of all the content management systems to choose from, it’s easy to see why EE leaves the others far behind. With EE, you’ll be able to create the perfect website with all of the capabilities you could ever dream of. If you want a powerful, customized, highly secure site that is easy to manage with support included—ExpressionEngine in the obvious choice.

Unlimited Options
Whatever you can imagine for your website—we can make it happen with ExpressionEngine. Designers are allowed full reign, without any restrictions on how or where content can be displayed. EE allows you to craft the experience of your dreams for your website visitor.

What can I do on my site?

  • Content information pages
  • Blogs
  • Forums
  • Wikis
  • Membership
  • Photo galleries
  • RSS feeds
  • Press releases
  • Email

The list could go on!

User-friendly.
Let’s start with Web Publishing. ExpressionEngine allows less than tech-savvy users to publish content and make updates without having to worry about the technical side of things. Control Panels can be tailored to include specific options based on Member Groups. With his easy setup, you will only have to worry about creating quality content instead of the ins and outs of website maintenance.

Forward thinking.
ExpressionEngine is incredibly flexible, allowing you to easily adapt to future needs. Whether it is RSS Feeds, forums, email newsletter or other features, you can be assured that EE will be able to meet your needs. Additionally, SEO allows your site to be incredibly search engine friendly and helps your visibility online – something that is only increasing in importance in today’s digital world.

Plenty of Support.
ExpressionEngine is backed by a large developer network that are highly professional and knowledgeable in this CMS. The code network is well documented and is able to be worked on my any member of the ExpressionEngine Developer Network – a highly knowledgeable and professional group. In contrast, other smaller CMS do not have as extensive networks, so if something were to go wrong, it would be more difficult to fix.

Top-Notch Security.
From a security perspective EE is a top priority. In fact, ExpressionEngine has never had a major security vulnerability in over eleven years. For commerce and business, content security is a must. Avoiding the malicious pit falls and web pirates is important and with EE’s CMS you will have Captcha (which is built-in to the framework of ExpressionEngine’s CMS) for content approval and email verification to determine if a comment or response is generated by a computer. Also important is login history and being SSL compatible all of which provide a satisfactory customer experience.

Here’s what people are saying about Expression Engine from our team at Giles-Parscale:

“EE is perfect for designers who are able to write CSS & HtML because they have free reign to do what they know and insert the necessary content from the CMS easily, wherever they need,” says Peter Rhodes – GP Development Team.

To sum it up you can’t go wrong with this top-ten rated Content Management System. EE’s has you covered on every spectrum of creating quality content for your web site. ExpressionEngine is well worth the investment when you are able to create a finely tuned website with easy to use features and a large contributing community. Talk to one of our web design experts to learn more about how ExpressionEngine can benefit your business.

image source: http://cms-software-review.toptenreviews.com/expression-engine-review.html

San Antonio Magazine features our work on Donald Trump's presidential campaign website in its November issue. 

CNET offers a comprehensive review of all the candidates' website performances. Giles-Parscale's work on Trump's campaign website came out ahead of the rest.

There is no stopping the progression of technology. Whether you want to get aboard the technology train or not, it is moving forward with or without you. If you own a business, staying up to date with industry trends in technology is a must. You don’t want your company get left behind -- especially when it comes to maintaining an online presence. Your website, social media pages and digital advertising need to be moved to the forefront of your marketing efforts if you want to stay relevant in your industry.

Changing Consumer Habits

Only a few short years ago, many businesses could still argue that they did not need to invest a large portion of time or budget to their online presence. After all, their customers already knew and trusted them, so why change? Fast forward to the present and even long-standing businesses are finding that to continue to stay on top, they need to be where customer’s research and shop: online.

Consumer shopping habits have changed. Instead of heading to the mall to window shop, consumers look down at their smartphones to research their next purchase. Even if they still buy locally, they find those retail locations on their tablets, smartphones and laptops. To maintain a top-of-mind awareness in this advancing tech world, a strong online presence is paramount. Consider the following online consumer statistics:

  • 72% of millennials research purchases online before they buy at a local store
  • Adults over 50 are the largest populace online, equaling a third of web users, with two-thirds of them shopping online
  • Online retail sales are predicted to grow to $370 billion by 2017

Improving Your Business’ Online Presence

If your business has fallen behind in technology, it’s not too late to catch up. However, improving your online presence is not a quick fix. It is an ongoing investment, changing your strategy as technology changes. This includes a company website designed to attract new visitors and convert them into new customers. It also means engaging existing and potential customers through social media and using other innovative and effective marketing efforts.

While you may be an expert in your industry, maybe digital or online marketing is not your forte. So, if you are less than tech savvy, how do you achieve a high online presence for your business? You hire someone who is an expert in the digital, online world. You need a company that specializes in creating a dynamic online presence and can give your company the tools it needs to capitalize on the benefits of digital marketing.

Our specialty is web marketing, from innovative web design to all areas of digital advertising. Our team can help your business make the move into a creative web presence that will continue to grow your company. Contact us today to learn more. 

The Rivard Report interviews tech leaders like GP President Brad Parscale on the technologies precipitating economic growth in San Antonio.

Sales conversions on your San Antonio website is likely the number one priority. Regardless of any other statistics or analytics, if a website is generating more sales due to improved design, it can be considered a success. So what can you do to improve website conversions? Although there are many different factors that can affect the performance and success of a site, one simple trick has proven to increase sales conversions: larger sized images.

Importance of Images in Web Design

Images are fundamental to good web design and any kind of visual marketing. The images used, placement, size, quality and colors have been studied extensively for how they affect brand awareness, and ultimately, sales conversions. Some of the finding from images and their effect on sales include:

  • A recent study of Instagram photos showed that images with a higher use of yellow and blues, longer captions and no filters led to higher sales conversions.
  • Images featuring people on sales and service pages can help websites create empathy and a connection with visitors, affecting conversion rates. One study showed a 4.5% increase in sales conversions in marketing that included an image of a woman versus a man with male subjects.
  • Professional photos can make a big difference in sales conversions. Airbnb, a popular travel website, claims that accommodations that are professionally photographed are booked twice as often as the amateur photographed accommodations on their website.

Bigger Images, Better Conversions

Yes, images can improve the effectiveness of how a website is perceived, but does size really matter? According to a recent study, it can. The one simple trick to improve sales conversions is to increase the size of product images. Using the exact same products, the study had one variation showing a larger picture of the product, with a description available with a mouse-over. The other two variations had smaller product images with product descriptions below. Regardless of the type of product, the sales conversion increased 9.46% on the pages with the larger images.

This is not just true on product images. Large images on landing pages can also help sales conversion. Dell reported using a large “hero shot” on their landing page as a background image increased lead conversions by 36% over a control landing page with the same information provided. This is a fantastic example how something so simple can have such an incredible effect on a metric as complicated as sales conversion.

To learn more about how a redesign of your San Antonio website could translate into higher sales conversions and more revenue for your business, contact our San Antonio web design team at Giles-Parscale.

KSAT 12 interviews President Brad Parscale on what bringing Google Fiber to San Antonio means for the tech community and the city as a whole.

Giles-Parscale gains exposure as the developer of Donald Trump's presidential campaign website. The SABJ interviews GP President Brad Parscale on the experience.

KENS 5 interviews Giles-Parscale President Brad Parscale and employees Erica Jones and Katrina Lichtenburg on what it's like to work in San Antonio's growing tech industry. 

KSAT 12 reports on Mayor Ivy Taylor's resolution to resolve San Antonio's ride-sharing issue. Tech Bloc Co-Founder Brad Parscale shows his support.

As Mayor Ivy Taylor voices support for Uber and Lyft's return to San Antonio, SA Express News interviews Tech Bloc co-founder Brad Parscale on the importance of the technology industry in San Antonio.

Donald Trump's campaign website runs on Giles-Parscale design and technology. San Antonio's KSAT 12 interviews GP President Brad Parscale.

See how our competitive pricing and holistic approach can help grow your business. Contact us today.

SWhile you may have the most impressive products or services on the market, if your San Antonio website is not easy to navigate or understand, your business’ impressiveness may go unnoticed. Good usability improves the performance of your website and leads to increased conversions. Whereas, if what users are looking for is not easy to find, they will quickly leave a website in a cloud of cyber dust. Here are seven characteristics that every user-friendly website should have.

Easy to find navigation.

Always make sure the navigation will be above the fold of the screen, regardless of what device they are using. Changing this formula may make your website unique, but it also may frustrate users.

web design satx

Simple and concise page names.

Make it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for by keeping page names simple and concise. Using odd or creative names for pages may be intriguing, but it does not help a potential customer find what they are looking for on your site.

website design satx

Professional, relevant images.

Images are important to your San Antonio web design, yet need to be carefully chosen for relevancy. Choose high-quality, professional images that convey the right message for the corresponding text. Avoid stock photos that may be used on a competitor’s site.

web designers san antonio tx

You are here.

Let visitors know where they are on your website and where they need to go. Highlighting the current tab they are on is helpful for navigation. Give them easy ways to follow the steps to a sale, with call-to-action links for ordering, entering contact information or downloads.

restaurant web design

Search bar.

Make it easy for your visitors to find whatever they are looking for by including a search bar on your website. Ensure that it has the capability to bring up the right pages to correspond with common keywords.

custom website design

Mobile applications.

If your website is not mobile-friendly, it is not user-friendly. With over 300 million active cell phones in the U.S., 25% of web traffic originates from a mobile device. Make the move to responsive web design before you lose potential customers that are trying to access your company’s site on the go.
mobile ready web design san antonio

Contact information.

Don’t make it difficult for customers to find a way to contact your company. Give them several places to access your company information, including phone, email or live chat options.

If you are looking at this list and have found your San Antonio web design is not as user-friendly as you thought, maybe it is time to upgrade your website. Contact our San Antonio web design team today to learn more about making your website user-friendly to maximize your digital marketing efforts. 

Time Warner Cable News elaborates on what makes San Antonio the perfect environment for thriving startups. Giles-Parscale President Brad Parscale explains GP's success.

How to Create a Successful E-Commerce Site

Launching and marketing an e-commerce website is easy enough; creating one that is successful amongst millions of other sites out in cyberspace is an entirely different endeavor. Although there is not one formula that can be applied across all business types, there are some characteristics that most successful e-commerce sites all share. To join the ranks of the successful and profitable companies in e-commerce, make sure you include these features in your business’ site.

Simple, Easy-to-Navigate Design

No matter the target audience, no one wants to navigate a complicated maze when they visit a website. From some of the largest brands in the world like Apple, to small e-commerce businesses that are still building their brand, the most successful have simple, easy-to-navigate website designs.

Tip: A simple folder-like navigation will also provide SEO benefits. For example,www.yourwebiste.com/shoes/boots/womens rather than www.yourwebsite.com/womens-cowboy-boots will help search engines understand your website better.

e-commerce website design

Blogs

One of the best ways to connect to your audience, add personality and add fresh content to your e-commerce site is through an active blog. Blogs are an opportunity to talk directly to your customers, offering educational and helpful tips that reflect your company’s personality, values and expertise. Add to that the unsurpassed SEO benefit of fresh website content, it makes sense that some of the most successful e-commerce sites have an active blog to which they add new content on a weekly basis.ecommerce professional website

Personalized Customer Service

What differentiates one e-commerce site from another often comes down to the basic rule in business: customer service. Even online customers want to be catered to. They shop online because they want the freedom to browse and compare, but when they have a question, they want easy access to answers. Online customer service live chat, easy-to-find contact information and simple check out options are all customer service features that help the most successful e-commerce sites stay at the top of their game.

website ecommerce

Easily Accessible Everywhere

It does not matter what the demographic is for your business, if you want to be successful in e-commerce, your site must be easily accessible from everywhere, on all devices. The majority of e-commerce sites are now accessed from mobile devices, making it imperative to have a responsive website that adjusts for desktop and various mobile devices.

mobile ready website san antonio

Customized Web Design and Marketing

E-commerce is unique in the fact that most customers will never talk to a representative from the company, like they would at a traditional brick and mortar store. Their entire impression of the company, services and products is gained from visiting the website. This means that the content, message, design and images must all create a cohesive brand that reflects the mission of the company. For this to happen, professional, customized web design paired with a comprehensive marketing plan is needed for success.

shopping website design san antonio

At Giles-Parscale, we will work with you to create a customized, professional e-commerce website design and marketing plan. Let us help you incorporate these features into your e-commerce site to ensure you have all the components needed to perpetuate your business to the highest level of success. For more information on our website design and marketing programs, contact our team today.

Tech Bloc Calls on Ecosystem to Get Organized and Get Beyond Uber

Brad Parscale (right) explains the importance of uniting the San Antonio tech community.


The San Antonio Business Journal features Tech Bloc founders, including GP President Brad Parscale and GP Creative Director Jill Giles. See what Tech Bloc is doing to organize and grow the tech community in San Antonio.

Photo by: Carlos Javier Sanchez | SABJ

The San Antonio Business Journal covers the successful Tech Bloc launch, where technology advocates from all industries gathered to unite the technology community in San Antonio.

Photo by: Carlos Javier Sanchez | SABJ

KSAT12 interviews industry leaders like GP President Brad Parscale on the importance of Tech Bloc's unified voice for the technology sector in San Antonio.

The Rivard Report recounts the launch of Tech Bloc, where technology leaders like GP President Brad Parscale assembled to support and grow the tech community in San Antonio.

Photo by: Scott Ball 

Some marketers make the mistake of not including email within their marketing campaigns. Yes, email has been around for a long time and lacks the glitz and glam of social media, but still has proven time and again to be one of the most effective ways to reach customers on a personal level. Nevertheless, crafting an awesome email marketing campaign is no easy task. Here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Segment, Segment, Segment

You’ve probably heard it before – it’s crucial that you segment your marketing efforts to effectively target a range of groups and demographics. That approach is no different for email marketing. Be sure to segment both your content and your results, so that you can more easily analyze your marketing data.

2. Think Mobile

Nearly half of email marketing campaigns (44%) are opened on mobile devices. However, only 29% of email marketing campaigns are viewed on a desktop. Take time to consider how your email will appear on small mobile devices, paying attention to email width, font size, and space between links.

3. Honest Subject Line

Make your subject line appealing and concise, but don’t assume that jazzing it up with too many buzzwords will help you get more emails opened. Instead, keep it sweet and simple. You’ll be surprised to see how much your readers will appreciate it.

4. Measure and Analyze

If you want to improve your email marketing strategy, you have to track your progress. Most email marketing platforms offer helpful analytics tools that can be used in real-time. Take advantage of these tools to create statistic reports from your email campaigns to help you learn what works and what doesn’t work.

5. Guide Your Readers to Action

The worst (yet most common) mistake in email marketing is not guiding your readers to some form of action. Remember to be clear and direct in your writing – the call to action is arguably the most critical aspect of an email because it measures reader conversion.

For more information on how to execute an effective email marketing campaign, contact our digital marketing team at Giles-Parscale.

In our day and age, there is no doubt that Google is driving the mobile revolution. Not only is it the world’s largest mobile platform provider (Android), but it is also the world’s largest mobile search provider. In other words, Google calls the shots when it comes to mobile, and everyone is talking about it.

But why all the hype? Google recently announced that on April 21st, they will launch an update to their algorithm that could be comparable to Penguin or Panda, and no doubt will be the most significant update in years. Your search engine rankings could take a hit if you and your website are not prepared.

The main focus of the update is to create a better search experience for mobile users. What makes a site mobile-friendly? Basically, any site that is designed to function equally well across devices is mobile-friendly. Nothing changes or is unusable when switching from desktop to mobile device. However, many sites have still not optimized for mobile use and their unresponsive nature make them unappealing to mobile users. In light of this, Google “will be expanding [their] use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” What does that mean for us? Many Google experts have predicted that if your website is not optimized for both desktop AND mobile, your pages may virtually drop from mobile rankings, maybe even desktop rankings. If you’ve been putting off optimizing your website for mobile use, Google has officially given you a reason to upgrade in the coming weeks.

But never fear! The new update to the algorithm operates in real-time, meaning that you can optimize your site to be mobile-friendly at any time, and as soon as Google picks up on the change, you will begin to benefit from the update. So what are some ways to see if you are prepared for the change?

  1. Run your website through Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.
  2. Check for any mobility issues in Google Webmaster Tools.
  3. Test, test, test, and monitor your metrics leading up to and following the rollout of the April 21 algorithm update.

If you happen to find that your website is not mobile-friendly, contact our digital marketing team about making the necessary changes in order to prepare for Google’s upcoming update. Giles-Parscale’s experience and expertise in SEO and web design can help your company navigate this significant shift so that you can focus on adding relevant content to your website to keep climbing search engine rankings.

Join Giles-Parscale at our Web Development Meetup on Thursday, April 16th at 7pm at The Club at Sonterra. We’ll discuss CMS ExpressionEngine best practices, tips and tricks, plus have presentations and a Q&A session. Presentations will address Web Design, Software Development and Web Development. Be ready to participate!

Our goal is to create a pragmatic, supportive community in the San Antonio area to share valuable insights about coding practices, add-on ideas, and other experiences that can benefit us all.

You don’t have to be an ExpressionEngine expert to participate — the Meetup will be an informative, collaborative dialogue for all levels of users.

“This is an open forum,” said Brad Parscale, co-founder of Giles-Parscale and organizer of ExpressionEngine Conference. “I look forward to collaborating with the EE community so that we can all further our learning.”

When entering through the Stone Oaks gated entrance for the Meetup, please tell the security guard you are attending the event in the Director’s Room. Enjoy the food, drinks, and sharing the knowledge.

See you April 16th!

About ExpressionEngine

ExpressionEngine, created by EllisLab, is a flexible content management system that allows limitless creativity. While it is able to handle acute complexities, the interface is simple and user-friendly, made with designers in mind. Modules add endless opportunities to customize the features on your website. The ExpressionEngine community consists of highly trafficked websites, friendly and knowledgeable affiliates, and expert support from EllisLab. Check out our work to see what can be done with ExpressionEngine.

The San Antonio Business Journal features Giles-Parscale's unique approach to brand messaging. See how GP has helped clients like Massage Heights and The Bank of San Antonio build success.

To see how our award-winning web design can help your business, contact us today. 

Businesses are creating more interactive marketing tactics as of late. For example, many have added blogs to their company websites. This has proven to be quite successful as 57% of those companies have reported an increase in customers as a direct result of the blog. Marketers also report 81% of businesses find their blog necessary for business success. Here are five crucial reasons your business’ website needs a blog:

1. Search Engine Optimization. While your company’s website may be beautifully designed and highly informative, it may remain untouched in the cyberworld without the proper search engine optimization. SEO raises your website to the top of search engine results based on many aspects. One way to do this is through the use of search keywords: the more your keywords are found on your website, the higher your website will rank in search engine results. Blog posts offer more opportunities to feature keywords in the website, especially in the highly-weighted page title spot. SEO is also dependent upon the freshness of content in the website. Search engine robots scan the newest content rather than older information. Publishing blog posts weekly full of fresh content will support your SEO efforts.

2. Personality. There are 644 million active websites in the world right now. With Google supplying millions of search results, businesses may struggle to stand apart from the rest and connect with their audience in such a highly saturated market. After you get visitors on your website, what is keeping them there? Blogs give your company a chance to expand beyond the basic content of the website. With a blog, you can show the standards in practice, talk about the vision, and most importantly, give your company a unique voice.

3. You as a Credible Resource. A blog allows an avenue for you to post content about your industry, defining your business as an expert in your industry. Creating blog posts with valuable, expert information over time will create a helpful resource for customers and others in your industry. Keeping people coming back to your website again and again will naturally lead to more converted leads.

4. Connect People to Your Brand. A blog is the perfect place to connect your visitors to information that does not have an obvious home on other places in your website. Are you launching a new product? Have a big event coming up? Land articles in the press? A blog can serve as a great public relations tool that can elaborate on the topic’s story in much greater detail than the space allotted in other parts of the website as well as show off press mentions you’ve received. Blogs are the perfect way to promote these stories and therefore create a more illustrated representation of your company’s personality.

5. Your Social Media Benefits. A company’s social media presence is becoming increasingly imperative in today’s digital world. As important as it is to have a page for your company, it is just as important to post frequently. Blog posts from your website are the perfect content for a social media post. These drive traffic to your website, publicize your company’s information, position you as an industry leader, raise awareness about your brand, and thereafter, leads to conversions. Additionally, the content on your company’s social media page is shareable. If that information is useful and interesting, followers may share it to their networks, exponentially expanding the online reach of your website.

A blog provides many opportunities for your company to advance. It takes a schedule and a bit of creativity, but if done right, the time and effort will dramatically benefit your website’s traffic. For more information or help creating and maintaining a blog, contact our San Antonio web marketing team today.

Twitter and Google recently announced an agreement that would allow Twitter’s ‘firehose’ stream of data to appear in real-time on Google’s search engine results page.

The deal, expected to go live in the first half of 2015, is part of an overarching campaign by Twitter to drive traffic to the site, convert “logged out” users, and better monetize content.

These “logged out” users – those users who visit the site but are non-active or have never registered – present a huge opportunity for monetization on the site. By allowing Google to quickly and efficiently share individual 140-character tweets in its search results, Twitter hopes to boost its 284 million user count to nearly 600 million.

The Twitter-Google ‘firehose’ deal is important for three reasons:

  1. Reach people primed to engage with your brand. Content marketing that interests and resonates with a consumer can drastically influence buying decisions, especially if that consumer is in active search mode. Real-time tweets in search means your content will be pushed in front of people who are already interested in your brand message.
  2. Build your base of social media followers and cultivate online relationships. Converting “logged out” users is just as important to individual brands as it is to the platform as a whole. When relevant tweets appear in a consumer’s search result, he or she is more likely to click through and land on a targeted page that will encourage active involvement. If Twitter creates the right immersive experience, this user conversion process will boost the long-term growth of your brand’s social media following.
  3. Extend your advertising reach. The end-goal of digital marketing is a return on your brand’s investment either through lead generation or conversion. Google’s integration of individual tweets into its results provides your brand an avenue for free advertising. Any marketing push on Twitter will now be available to a much larger targeted audience that (as point #1 explains) is already open to the message. It’s a synergistic cycle that has the potential to build upon itself for brands with a clear understanding of their digital marketing strategy.

While content marketing, Google remarketing, and social media advertising are each tactics that independently improve web presence, a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is essential to leveraging the full benefits of the continued shifts in digital media.

Giles-Parscale’s experience and expertise in digital marketing can help your brand navigate these shifts while holistically boosting your online presence. From audience research to brand messaging to analytics, we create a custom-tailored digital marketing plan that exponentially increases your brand’s interaction with a targeted online consumer base.

Contact one of our digital marketing specialists today to learn more about Giles-Parscale’s unequaled experience in digital marketing and innovative solutions.

We live in an era of content overload. In the face of endless information and competition, you want to make sure that your content stands out in the crowd. Don’t miss out on revenue by presenting your product or service in the wrong way online. Here are 12 tips from the Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, to get your content to start converting:

  1. Find your strengths and admit your weaknesses. If you are not the strongest content writer, hire someone specialized to do it for you.
  2. Know your audience. Ask customers what they want, listen carefully, be persistent and use that information to improve your product.
  3. Use the science of storytelling. Make your headline irresistible. Use something that will keep the reader hooked.
  4. Analyze your business metrics. Having a good grasp on how your webpage is performing will help you make better content decisions in the future. Google Analytics and web analytical tools make this easy.
  5. Customer reviews are crucial. Studies show that most online customers put a lot of their trust in reviews. Including positive testimonials from Twitter orFacebook on your website will boost consumer confidence and act as social proof that your product/service is worth buying.
  6. Focus on your Unique Selling Proposition. Be sure to be succinct and get right to the point. If you bore customers with little details they will turn to someone else.
  7. Emulate your business hero. Rather than obsessing over your competition’s content, try to learn from it. Find an industry blog or website from which you can gather valuable information by following them online and asking them questions. They can give you guidelines for how they found success, so don’t forget to take notes; you can then morph their practices to best suit your company.
  8. Feed your Customers. First, help your customer find your website by optimizing your page with the correct keywords and performing other SEO strategies. Making it easier for them will then, in turn, help you. Give them free information and position yourself as the subject-matter-expert so they are more likely to convert. Once those customers have developed a relationship with your business, ensure they remain loyal by continuing to reward them with more content and useful information.
  9. Never quit writing. Try creating as many drafts of copy or headlines as possible. The more time you spend thinking something through, the greater the final product will be. If you get stuck, start writing headlines that start with “How to…” and fill in the gap with knowledge about your product or service. The best headlines are rarely written in the first 10 options so keep writing--even if it’s painful.
  10. Forget technical jargon and be approachable. Very few people will understand difficult terminology so you have to speak to them in their own language. Be true to your brand’s personality and voice while still using approachable, everyday language. Once you’ve blended your consumer’s language with your company’s unique voice, be consistent.
  11. Use your winning streak. Focus on small wins that can turn into big wins in the future. Focus on successful landing pages, keywords or sales letters--no matter how small. Find what worked, deconstruct it and repeat.
  12. Be interesting. Be funny; be shocking; be knowledgeable; be anything but boring.

Content is key in your online presence. Not only does it express your brand’s voice, inform your current customers, and bring in new prospects, it serves as a reflection of your company’s identity. Make sure you’re putting out the best message. For more information or help creating inspiring content that converts quickly, contact our San Antonio web marketing team today.

The San Antonio Business Journal has named our website for Texas Lutheran University the “best website overhaul” of the year in the first annual San Antonio Tech Flash Titan Awards. The awards recognize outstanding people, businesses and organizations in the city’s growing technology industry.

Our award-winning plan to overhaul Texas Lutheran University’s website was fairly straightforward in its objectives. We wanted to understand the university’s goals, develop a design and then employ appropriate technology to do the work. After meeting with TLU and identifying how they wanted to use internet-based technology to grow, we built a site based on two critical functions: improve access to information for current students and better connect with prospective ones.

San Antonio web design overhaul website, TLU

Designing, developing and launching the university’s new website took a year of hard work. “Most large colleges or universities want to rush through the process of designing a website as fast as possible,” GP president Brad Parscale said. “But (Texas Lutheran) came to us with an attitude that they were going to slowly build their content and brand over time, and work to develop the best product possible. In the end, they were willing to take the time to build a better website.”

Quality takes time and as the Tech Flash Titan Award proves—it was well worth the wait. Patience, along with open communication about what client goals are key in crafting successful websites.

“Our greatest satisfaction comes when we come back a year and a half later to a client’s website to find that their business or institution has grown and that they are more successful than their competitors because they hired us,” Parscale said.

To learn what Giles-Parscale can do for you, contact us today.

It’s All About the Readability

You know a beautifully designed website when you see it. But have you ever thought - what makes this website better than the rest? There are many aspects that play into a great website but among the most significant is the readability of the text. The font on the page holds the most important asset to a website: the content! If your text is not aesthetically pleasing, it can hinder a reader’s willingness to read, and ultimately buy your product/service. Studies suggest that while users surf the web, their attention span last around 8 seconds, reading only 28% of the page. Following these readability-centered principles are little details that will make a great impact.

Make it larger

The standard in web font size is 12 px. When websites were first created, a very small font was used. Though the web is evolving, these small font sizes are still prevalent on most websites. A 14 px size font is recommended for your smallest text and an even larger size font for your title. This will grab the attention that your business needs to easily engage users and therefore potentially convert them into customers.

Add the Right Contrast

Similar to font size, font color and its background is also crucial in the texts readability. The rule of thumb is to always use a high contrast. Pairing a dark text with a light background, or vice versa, will produce the most pleasant read. The biggest mistake you can make is choosing two colors with low contrast. To take it one more step further, studies have shown that black text on white background is significantly easier to read than any other combination. White text with a colored background (known as reserve type) should be used sparingly with short text to grab attention.

Call to Action

Speaking of contrasts, it is very important to differentiate the most important call-to-action on a page from the rest of the content. If the call to action button catches their attention, they will be more likely to click and continue viewing the site. It should be a bright, contrasting color that does not clash with the rest of the design of the page.

Length vs. Height

Now down to the nitty gritty: the dimensions of the text. This can make the difference between a beautiful page or an awkward and unbalanced one. At first glance, there is an unexplainable reason why some pages are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Often, the height and length of the text are the reason. In regards to line height, there is a golden ratio that all font sizes must match perfectly to ensure the ideal readability. Great web designers know how to keep their designs in perfect proportion. Just as important as the line height, is the line length. The suggested length of a line of text is between 50-60 characters. If the line of text is too long, it will be intimidating and encourage readers to merely skim the content. On the flipside, if the line of text is too short, readers will become annoyed with the lack of flow between each line and the constant starting and stopping.

Improved readability will greatly enhance your web users experience, therefore increasing the likely that a customer will engage with the site and read more of the valuable content! To learn more about web design, contact Giles-Parscale.

Think about your favorite television advertisement: what makes it different than other commercials? More often than not, the commercial is telling a story. Storytelling is an effective way for businesses to connect with a variety of different audiences. Companies need to plan social media advertising similar to other media platforms. In the highly saturated market of online advertising, it is important to have a clear message that stands out. Need more convincing? Here are four reasons storytelling messages stand out:

1. Storytelling is how we interact as humans.

When talking about life events, people tend to describe what happened, not simply state facts. Social media is no different. If corporations want to receive interaction on social media, they need to present their personal side to consumers.

2. Emotions are vital to your story.

Emotional responses to a story can significantly increase the connection, which subsequently leads to higher customer loyalty. The New York Times researched what people share on social media, and discovered that it’s relationship-driven posts. People share things for other’s entertainment, creating their identity, and alerting others. More specifically they found that the emotions that evoke sharing are that of amusement, inspiration, cuteness, illumination, shock, fear, anger and controversy. By making an emotional appeal to the customer, not only will you increase the likelihood of connecting with your story, but they are more likely to share it.

3. So much more than the product.

In a recent British study, they found that most successful storytelling campaigns were with, “brands considered to have a unique character or personality” and “brands with a clear sense of purpose or vision.” People are no longer making buying decisions solely based on the product, they are purchasing it for what the story is that represents the product and brand. In order for your brand to be successful, it is important to have a reason for existing more and communicate that message to your clients.

4. Consider your platforms wisely.

It is a good idea to use multiple media platforms to tell your story. Similarly, it is important to consider your target audience’s usage of different types of social media. For example, Snapchat and Twitter tend to be appropriate for a younger crowd while older generations are more active on Facebook. Beyond what platforms you chose to use, make sure your posts appeal emotionally to what you are trying to convey via your brand story and vision.

Who will the hero? What will be the conflict? How will it end? It is time to figure out your business’ story! For more information about social media advertising for your company, contact our San Antonio web marketing team today.

We have finally reached the point where social media is so large, and so commonly used, that it may be a victim of its own success. That is, lots of businesses and marketers realize the importance of "using" social networking sites, but fail to keep up with important trends and ideas. As a result, their social media efforts keep moving forward, but they aren't gathering as many fans, or sales, as they could be.

With that in mind – and to keep you from making the same kinds of mistakes – here are three important social media advertising trends we're keeping an eye on for 2014:

1. Facebook boosted posts.

Facebook boosting is just what it sounds like, a way to send your content to the top of a prospect's news feed for maximum exposure and attention. Better yet, Facebook allows you to specify what kinds of users you want to see your boosted posts, making it great for targeting each of your messages.

As with any kind of sponsored messaging, of course, the key to Facebook boosting is choosing the right combination of demographics and offers. In other words, just because you can get someone to read something doesn't mean they'll act, so you have to create something compelling to get the right results.

2. Twitter advertising.

Twitter advertising works largely in the same way, with "sponsored" messages being highlighted based on keywords and hashtags. Because of the huge volume of activity that's always taking place on Twitter, it can be a great way to spread the word quickly, especially for things like breaking news, special prices, and other temporary offers.

Another way to advertise via Twitter is by paying to "borrow" followers from another well-known person or company within your industry. These sponsored tweets are the social media equivalent of endorsements, and can be powerful if you have the right mix of message, personality, and audience come together.

3. Instagram advertising.

As with the other forms of social advertising, Instagram ads let you put your message right alongside major brands and retailers, with the possibility for huge effects. Naturally, the big difference in this case is that your ads will have to be based mostly on images, rather than text.

That means certain types of products and offers are going to be more effective than others. For that reason, it's important to make sure that your visuals are going to stand out in a crowded marketplace (remember you're competing with other sponsored content and lots of free uploads) before you begin your campaign.

Social media advertising, like pay-per-click advertising or email marketing before, is a potential game-changer. To make it work profitably, though, you have to understand how your market and the specific channels intersect.

Giles-Parscale can help you with that analysis, and to create a plan that makes sense for your business goals. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

Website loading time is one of the rare occasions in life where slow and steady do not win the race. A slow website is extremely damaging to your sales and revenue and can eliminate you from the race altogether. When designing your website, loading time must not be neglected. Here are 3 reasons that fast websites finish first.

1. Increase Sales

You’ve re-launched your website with flawless design and marketing techniques, but when a potential customer tries to view the site, it takes an eternity to load. Your impeccable design won’t keep you in the competition if load time is even as long as 3 seconds. In fact, 40% of users will leave your site after just 3 seconds. Consider how much more impatient mobile users will be.. More often than not, they are trying to view your site as they wait in line for coffee or walk to their car. You have very limited time to impress them--don’t waste it on load time. Companies that studied this phenomenon found that decreasing loading time by even as little as 100 milliseconds increased sales significantly.

2. Inspire Trust

Websites that freeze, crash, or take too long to load do not inspire a consumer’s trust and confidence in the company’s ability to meet their needs. 75% of consumers have expressed that they will not make a purchase from a site that presents these kinds of concerns. A fast website tells your potential consumer that you want their user experience to be the best possible. Your job is not only to sell them your product but also to make their purchase experience a pleasant one. Poor user experience is cited as one of the top reasons people leave a website. A pleasant user experience increases likelihood of return users, increasing your return on investment.

3. The SEO Advantage

Think of it as a relay race: the faster your website loads, the quicker it can hand off the baton to Google which makes sure your site is ranked as highly as possible in search results. If one of the legs of the relay is slow, you can’t expect the second leg (Google) to be able to compensate for it. While site speed is only one of many factors influencing your search rank, it is definitely not one to be neglected. Faster sites rank higher.

When designing your website, there are innumerable factors to consider. However, it is imperative that you make sure your investment in a web design does not go to waste by having a slow loading time. Otherwise, no one will even see your flawlessly designed site.

Now that you know the importance, you can make some changes on your website or ask your web developer to implement some of these strategies to help your San Antonio website load faster.

  • Use clean and simple style sheets (CSS) - or use just one to load and call in any others instead of using multiple style sheets- Style sheets are what gives your website it’s color and look. Ensuring these are simple and easy to read will decrease load time. All of your website’s style sheets saved in one file will also reduce the amount of time the browser has to search for the information it needs.
  • Remove whitespace in your source code- Services like HTML Optimizer will search through your website’s code and remove any unnecessary blank spaces. This will not impact the look or functionality of your website, just reduce the number of lines of code the browser has to read in order to load.
  • Eliminate or minimize the use of frames within the pages- Use as few frames as possible so the browser only has to load one page.
  • Optimize your images for web — use 65% image quality of jpeg instead of 100%. High quality images are great but if you’re having trouble with load time, reduce those images to 65% quality so they load faster but maintain their integrity.

If you need help improving your website load time, call or email for a free web marketing consultation today!

Facebook has undeniably changed the way the world interacts on the Internet. A marketing campaign without a dedicated social media portion is now a rarity. Many people’s profiles are an extension of their being. As a result, Facebook is a utopia for advertisers with the wealth of their audience’s demographics, psychographics and lifestyle categories nailed down to a tee. Here’s what brands need to know in order to properly leverage the information:

New and Improved Atlas

Facebook acquired Atlas Advertising Suite from Microsoft in 2013 and has recently announced the launch of the latest version, boasting that it provides “people-based marketing” to clients. This technology includes the ability to track users anonymously across devices and across the Internet, providing advertisers with the capability to truly capture their audience’s everyday online shopping habits.

The Shift

Because the cell phone has virtually converted into a new human limb, mobile daily active users of Facebook grew from right under 300 million users to about 470 million users between Quarter 2 2012 to Quarter 2 2013. These figures have undoubtedly increased over the past year—especially in the United States. Mobile traffic makes up for 40% of all social media traffic.

Cookies Could Become IrrelevantCookies are a staple of current online advertising, however they do not work on mobile devices. Before, Facebook defined audiences for their mobile advertisers using context from newsfeeds and were limited to cookie data from its desktop users only. With the majority of Internet users now gaining access through their smartphones, Facebook’s capabilities were severely limited. With Atlas’ improved technology, Facebook can attain audience members cookie data--even on mobile devices.

After the Purchase

Facebook hopes to connect the digital realm to real life by associating offline purchases with online advertising impressions by cross referencing lists of those who purchased and those who saw the advertisement. As a result, conversion data will be available that indicates whether the product was purchased online after being exposed to the advertisement. Facebook will be able to gather the effectiveness of marketers’ campaigns through online and offline purchases.

This technology will be tested with a couple big companies, including Pepsi and Intel. If all goes well, this technology could be streamlined for online marketing and provide advertisers with the confidence that they are reaching their target audience.

For more information about social media advertising for your company, contact our San Antonio web marketing team today.

When hiring an Internet marketing agency there are bountiful variables to consider in order to ensure the highest return on investment. There are a multitude of agencies out there with varying levels of expertise, so how do you know you’re picking the right one for you and your company? Here are 5 of the most important questions to ask prospective agencies to ensure that marketing dollars are well spent.

1. Can they guarantee their work?

Yes? Then don’t hire them. If an agency claims that dramatic results are guaranteed, then this should be an immediate warning sign. SEO and Internet marketing are not exact sciences. While they may be able to give you an estimate and should give you a detailed report of the work they have completed over the past month, there are too many factors in play to be able to make a guarantee on traffic and conversions. Guarantee is likely a sign they’re participating in shady link building practices or are going to fabricate results.

2. Do they charge for interacting with clients?

Agency and client should be thought of as a partnership. If they charge you when you ask for passwords or to see your Google Analytics account, they clearly undervalue the partnership. You are the expert on your company and your industry; the web marketing agency should allow you to provide information wherever possible to improve the campaign. In order to open the lines of communication and get the best results, it’s best to hire a company that does not charge to discuss the campaign, results or areas of improvement.

3. How do they measure SEO and Google Adwords performance?

Don’t let months go by without any idea of what you are paying for. Ask for monthly reports that show the work the agency has completed in the past month. Before signing a contract, ask the agency to explain how they will regularly report results back to you.

4. What past experience do they have with similar jobs?

Ask about the agency’s previous experiences and successes with similar jobs. Concrete evidence of effective past campaigns illustrates the expertise they can contribute to your campaign and hopefully make yours even more successful than the previous ones.

5. What is their process for content development?

When hiring an agency it is imperative that you know how their content development process functions. What is written in your company’s blog is a direct reflection of your company’s voice and values. Ensure that the agency has a clear idea of your target and the brand’s tone. They should have established strategies for research, content creation, editing and posting.

Selecting the right web marketing agency can mean a world of difference in how your website reaches prospective customers. Asking these 5 questions will help you find a great quality website SEO San Antonio agency that will result in the highest return on investment.

According to a recent Google study, well over three quarters of mobile web users take their smart phones and tablets into retail stores and use them to find the products they're looking for. It's especially true for big-ticket items (like appliances) where they want to be sure they're getting a good price, and the most value for their dollar. In fact, a whopping 82% of those surveyed said that they used the information they found on mobile devices to make immediate buying decisions.

While those numbers might be surprising to brick-and-mortar retail store owners, the information that mobile users search for isn't. In the vast majority of cases, they go online to find product reviews, the best available prices, and the availability of particular products at different stores or locations.

What is more interesting, however, is that most admitted to finding information on mobile devices rather than asking store employees for help, and that search engines were a more popular starting point than store websites and shopping apps. In both cases, that points to a desire for impartial information, rather than sales and marketing updates.

For retailers with physical stores and real inventory, the information in Google's report leads to some important conclusions:

First, that your prices have to be competitive. We all know that, while price might not be the only consideration in your customers’ minds, it certainly does matter. Now that buyers can check them against other sites and area retailers with just a few clicks, it's important that you monitor and maintain competitive prices and specials throughout your store.

This is especially true within your geographic area. Some customers might prefer to buy from an actual store instead of a website, but if they find they can get the same products for less than just a few minutes down the road, it could turn out to be an easy choice for them to walk out your doors without completing the purchase.

Employee training and in-store marketing materials might need to be adjusted going forward. The fact that customers consider information on the Internet to be more helpful than actual employees says something about the aggressive sales tactics that a lot of retailers employ. There's certainly nothing wrong with teaching your staff to further the sale, but make sure they aren't pestering buyers too badly.

The same advice may apply to your in-store marketing materials. If they seem helpful and informative, they may be valuable in moving shoppers to the register. But, if they gloss over the details or don't give enough benefits, they are likely to be ignored.

Reputation and local search are going to become more and more important. It used to be that even a poorly run retail store could survive if it was in the right location. Now, however, even a few poor customer reviews – or a new online or off-line competitor – can drive customers elsewhere in a matter of days or weeks. That means you have to have a strong profile and reputation online, especially on social and review sites.

Additionally, local search engine optimization is taking on a whole new meaning for retailers, since you can only sell to the buyers who can locate you. Regardless of whether you have a shopping cart and online ordering system, it's critical that your website be attractive and easy-to-find.

The Internet has been changing the way retailers operate, both online and off, for many years now. But, with mobile-ready devices everywhere, and in the hands of hundreds of millions of customers, the best ways to appeal to buyers are changing right before our eyes. Are you ready?

Why not work with our team to maximize your approach to mobile web marketing? Call or e-mail us today to set up a free consultation.

A good landing page plays an essential role in the success of a company’s San Antonio web marketing campaign. Statistics show that leads can increase by more than 50% when companies add landing pages to their website. However, quantity does not guarantee success. Landing pages should communicate the page’s objective with simple, straight forward messaging and attractive sale-focused design. Check out the features listed below of highly successful landing pages.

1. Clear and Consistent Branding
It takes users an average of 3 seconds to either convert to a lead or leave. If your branding is able to capture the attention of a user for longer than these few imperative seconds, it is probable that these leads will turn into conversions. Good branding will allow visitors who may not have any prior knowledge of your company to get a general picture of the business and its objectives. It is important to keep logo positioning and the message communicated consistent throughout the site, allowing for a smoother user experience and more conversions.

2. Positive User Experience
One of the primary ideas behind using a landing page is to present the most targeted information to the user first. Therefore, when users click an ad about “San Antonio web design,” it’s best to send them to a page with only San Antonio web design information. Providing navigation links on top of the landing page will give users the option to see the other pages of your website. Providing options so that a user feels as if they are in control is paramount in overall user experience. Failure to do this can result in user resistance to subsequent pitches.

3. Proper Design and Composition
There is a substantial difference between a landing page and a common web page that should be considered. While a home webpage will include general company information and guide users to other pages, a landing page should have a single focused objective. A landing page should drive users toward the conversion. Call attention to the sale with bold colors, shapes and fonts.

4. Clear Call to Action
No matter what you are attempting to persuade potential customers to do, whether it be subscribe, sign up, or buy, it is important to be clear and precise. Decide what is it that you want users to do, and state that objective clearly with your competitive advantage and most attractive selling points first.

5. Give Visitors Clear Directions and Instructions
Once visitors have followed your call to action, guide them clearly through what is to come. For example, if you run a clothing website and a customer purchases an item, guide them through the steps that follow for payment and confirmation. Users have little patience for overly complicated and unclear payment methods.

The landing page is indispensable in the success of a web site. Create a landing page that fulfills these crucial criteria:

  • addresses customer needs
  • features consistent branding
  • communicates a focused call to action
  • provides abundant user options
  • gives step-by-step instructions

Contact us today for all your San Antonio Web Design needs.

The top secret Google algorithm constantly updates in order to give users the most relevant results, consequently affecting the way websites are presented to web users. Google Panda, an update to the algorithm originally implemented in 2011, was created specifically to flag websites with low quality content; in other words, content that reads poorly, is spam, or clearly unoriginal.

Panda 4.0, released in May of this year, has affected millions of sites and could affect yours too. Here are 2 ways to recognize if you have already been affected.

1. Google Analytics

The key to avoiding any SEO harm is to regularly check for updates and how they are affecting your sites. There are a number of ways you can identify whether or not Panda has targeted your site; one of the simplest of these being through Google Analytic trends. Filter your audience for “organic traffic” and look at the past 5-10 months. Has the monthly traffic steadily decreased month-to-month? If so, that’s a pretty good indication that you have content issues.

2. SEO Visibility

SearchMetrics has created a free tool that allows you to view your SEO visibility by looking at major keywords, and is a good alternative to Google Analytics. Search your domain and compare how it has done before and after the Panda update. This allows you to see clearly if you have been targeted by Google Panda due to weak content.

Whether you have been affected or not, here are 2 steps to take to either fix the damage or prevent Panda from ever affecting your website.

3. Unique Content

A key to resolving or steering clear of the problem is to highlight unique content and stay away from low quality content. That low quality content can be anything with spelling errors, factual errors, and articles that are too short, redundant or unhelpful, or content that is mass-produced. Once you have taken steps to eliminate bad content, the next step is to create unique content. Write content that is creative, innovative, and interesting. Don’t recycle other people’s material, come up with information that you can offer the reader that no one else can, and be the authority on that topic.

4. Careful Advertising

While you may need to have advertisements on your site, this is a quality over quantity situation. Ensure that the ratio of advertising to content does not detract from your reader’s experience. Panda takes this into consideration and will penalize you if advertisements are hurting loading time or visual experience.

While the Panda regime may seem severe, it encourages the best online content possible. Panda challenges you to make content that users want to read, which can lead to loyal subscribers who will share your content. Use these 4 tips to make sure that your website brings you high return on investment.

When you've written a great blog article or just posted and seen it go live, what's the first thing you're tempted to do? If you're like most of us San Antonio web marketers, you probably go back later – and perhaps several times a day – to see how many views it has received.

There's not necessarily anything wrong with that, and most of us do it (whether we admit it or not). The problem comes in, though, when you start to focus on the number of views themselves, and use them as a measuring stick for the "success" or "failure" of your content marketing. Views are nice, but they don't tell you much about impact.

In fact, they can actually be distracting. To see why, here are four dangers of focusing too much on the views your content creates:

1. You end up generating worse content. Playing to what you think people want isn't always a great idea. For an easy example of this, just check your TV listings. You'll quickly realize that the difference between popular and good can be quite significant. If you want to be respected as a marketer, you need to be timely, unique, and informative. That kind of content won't always attract the most views, but will generate the biggest results.

2. You lose focus. When you're strictly going for content views, the real goal is to be "viral," but not necessarily relevant. So what if thousands of people view your content? If none of them are within your target audience, it doesn't really matter. That's the problem of losing focus. When you take your eyes off the road, it's easy to drive your content in a direction that's entertaining but not fruitful.

3. You can misread the metrics. There's nothing wrong with having lots of views, of course, since it means people are at least giving your content a chance. But, seeing that someone "viewed" your content doesn't necessarily mean they read it all, thought about it, or even liked it – just that they clicked the link. So, even though you need some views to generate content marketing traction, having more of them doesn't necessarily mean the great things you think it does.

4. You lose track of what matters. Ultimately, what you want aren't readers, but buyers. If you can't trace a positive return on investment back to your content marketing efforts, then they aren't very useful and it's probably time to start thinking about how you can write differently to appeal to a new audience.

Views are great, but they aren't necessarily valuable. You can attract thousands, or even tens of thousands, of viewers to an article, idea, image, or video. But, if none of them remember who you are later, or ultimately take action, what have you really accomplished? You've probably entertained a few people, and maybe even made them think, but that's not going to help you feed your family, is it?

To really make content marketing work, pay a little bit of attention to the views and shares you get… and a lot more to the bottom-line impact of your efforts.

To get some web marketing and content strategy tips, contact our San Antonio web marketing team today!

Over the last decade, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and Internet marketing have gone from being specialized subjects discussed by San Antonio web designers to mainstream business topics. In the beginning, these seemed like very technical concepts. Now, the majority of business owners and executives know the basics of SEO keywords, Facebook business pages and Google Adwords.

One thing that often gets lost in the shuffle, however, is that all aspects of Internet marketing – including SEO, social networking, online advertising, and even email – are really just different sides of the same coin. They are all one art and science, being expressed in different ways.

If this seems like a small, obvious point, it isn't. Once you see all of your campaigns and marketing channels as being related, you understand that the key to ROI is using them together. Here are a few examples of this phenomenon at work:

You can attract buyers with search engine optimization, but social media is better for pulling them closer.Keywords might attract Google's spiders, but they don't do much for actual live human beings. In fact, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are usually much more effective avenues for building relationships and buyer loyalty than landing pages are.

Your social media campaigns can be used to improve your search engine positioning. Google and the other search engines are emphasizing social content and real-time results heavily these days. At the same time, having a large number of social followers, or lots of discussion around your posts, gives you more credibility than you would have otherwise. The net effect is that a strong social networking campaign can improve your search engine positioning at the same time.

Blogs build your search profile, but also invite social interaction at the same time. Although you'll probably want to post a lot of content to your blog, the summaries, links, and updates you post about your blog to your social profiles could be just as valuable. That's because the first piece of content builds your search profile and credibility, but subsequent postings invite back-and-forth discussion.

Email newsletters can be the "closer" that helps you make the most of new business relationships. Once a contact trusts you enough to opt in to your email marketing list, it's a lot easier to stay on the top of their mind and eventually move closer to a finished sale. The role of email newsletters is changing, but not going away. If you need an easy way to reach lots of people, and possibly "close" the prospect on taking the next step with your company, it might be the tool of choice.

A lot of the distinctions we make between different Internet marketing channels are arbitrary and unnecessary. The more you think of your plans as different touchpoints for new buyers, the more effective you'll be in spreading the word about your business online.

Are you making the most of online marketing opportunities during integrated approach? If not, now is a great time to sit down with our team and see how we can help.

To receive a free web marketing consultation, contact us today.

Just like moving into a new house, relocating to a new website allows you to throw out content you don’t use and place things of importance in prominent places. However, some companies see a steep drop, sometimes 60-70%, in search engine ranking and website traffic after a redesign. This drop can be attributed to not having the best grasp on their current site’s content and traffic sources

Work backwards

Do your homework (or hire someone else to do it) - check out your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools to know what search terms bring in traffic.

If during your website redesign, you change all your content and URLs, you will no longer rank for the same keywords you did before. Save yourself the headaches and loss of traffic by keeping a list of the most popular search terms to make sure those survive the move. Redesign is a great opportunity to put those popular search queries in more prominent places likes in h1 tags, therefore adding a little SEO boost.

* Pay special attention to non-branded keywords (i.e. keywords that do not contain your brand name) those are important for prospective customers who are not familiar with your brand, allowing you to expand your brand’s reach to new audiences.

Let Google Know

Most redesigns will require at least a little bit of URL change as navigation improves and content is shifted around. Just like notifying the post office your address has change, notifying Google is simple. Google Webmaster Tools has a Change of Address Tool. With 3 easy steps, you give search engines a heads up about where you will be moving and that a redesign is taking place.

Link up old links

As well as notifying Google, you also need to look at your website’s traffic sources. Which links are sending in the most traffic? For example, maybe a blogger links to a specific product page. Make sure you notify those websites and they are prepared for any changes that might occur or set up 301 redirects to make sure that traffic isn’t lost. If your domain name is changing, make sure you take the time to update all social media and directory listings.

A website redesign should always improve functionality and increase traffic, not hurt it. Once you have a good understanding of where you started, you can jump your new website to further enhance and your audience stream.

To find out more about your website’s traffic and how to prepare for your website’s redesign, contact us today.

Your company has done its homework and put a list of subscribers together who want to keep in contact with your brand, but there is still one challenge. How do you keep those subscribers interested? Even though there is a huge increase in social media use, email marketing is still effective and growing. If anything, it has grown due to great formats and interactive designs!

According to the Channel Preference Survey, people prefer to get promotions through email because it’s harder to miss in their inbox, as opposed to the Facebook’s News Feed. Email marketing also bodes well in return on investment, according to Experian, as every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.

The key to retaining your subscribers is planning, but this process isn’t always straightforward. With the following tips, your company can get an edge on the competition by not only retaining but also gaining new subscribers.

Professional emails are simple, concise, and contain high quality images.

Have Something to Say

In order to retain subscribers, your emails must offer value. Emails should not be sent just for the sake of getting your company in as many inboxes as possible. When that is the case, your value proposition declines, encouraging readers to unsubscribe. Most of these occurrences stem from companies not developing an email marketing strategy prior to launch.By helping your company achieve its goals and providing value to consumers of your content, your email marketing strategy provides mutual benefit; a facet necessary to succeed in email marketing.

Target

Now that you have something to say, decide who you’re saying it to. Consumers are more wary than ever and have learned to distinguish between email blasts that are of interest to them personally as opposed to those that have been sent to an entire subscriber list. Make your emails more personal through targeting specific demographics. Making use of simple information such as location and gender can dramatically improve the retention of your subscribership.

Easy to Read

It starts with the subject line; keep it simple and concise! According to Chadwick Martin Bailey, 64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line. With so many emails in an inbox, vague or overly-excited subject lines do not get read and eventually readers unsubscribe. When a subscriber opens an email, content should be divided by headings and photographs, instead of one block of text with a picture at the beginning or end. This format allows readers to skim through content quickly and find relevant information. If there is too much content, simply add links that drive traffic to your website.

Google Analytics: Keep up with how your emails are performing

Retarget

After your email is sent, it is imperative that you learn from the results by looking at the analytics. Who opened it? How much time did they spend reading? Did they click the links within the email? By answering these types of questions you’re able to further segment your subscribership and enchance their email experience. Initially, the relationship between company and consumer via email marketing is one-sided, but by constantly learning about your subscribers, you can develop a relationship with your advocates.

For more information on retaining your subscribers for your San Antonio Web Marketing Campaign, contactGiles-Parscale today for a free web marketing consultation.

Stop and look at the people around you. We can bet that at least one third of them have their head buried in their smart phone. They are tweeting, texting, Instragramming and searching the web. Wouldn’t you want those mobile web users to have the best experience possible with your business’ website?

Implementing a responsive website means the website responds to the user’s device. Your website's dimensions will change slightly when viewed on a smartphone, tablet, and desktop. Those changes make the website easier to use on those smaller screens, meaning less pinching and zooming and more scrolling. Responsive design translates to less work for your customers.

According to a recent poll by Marketing Land, mobile devices account for “about 15% of online orders.” It goes without saying that sites, especially San Antonio websites that neglect responsive design are leaving their customers frustrated.

Responsive website built for Dough Pizzeria, easily accessible on tablet and mobile devices.

Mobile commerce is expected to expand to about $86.86 billion by 2016. San Antonio will generate a sizeable chunk of that amount due to the Digital Divide. The map below shows broadband internet adoption in the city, high frequency of subscribers are in green and the low frequency of broadband subscribers (nearly half of the city) are shown in orange/red. Without broadband internet at home, it can be assumed those users are doing most, if not all, of their web surfing on their smart phones.

Shown on this map is broadband internet adoption in the San Antonio area. With adoption being shown in green, one can see that nearly half of the area is solely relying on their mobile devices for web browsing.

The fifty percent rings true for most the country as well; a statistic released by CNN states that 55% of internet usage occurs on mobile phones in 2013. Although one can hope that your customers will make a mental note to revisit your website the next time they are at a desktop computer, the graph shows that half of San Antonians don’t have that option.

Responsive designs allows you to keep what is it important. It offers a number of benefits that translate into more conversions for your business.

  • Competitive advantage - Beat your competitors to the punch and offer a responsive website. If your customers enjoy their mobile experience with your website, they won’t have to find your competitors.
  • Image quality - With small screens, images will display as the correct size in vivid detail
  • Easy-to-read font - Don’t make your customers squint. Responsive websites fill the screen with text, making it easy on the eyes without zooming.
  • One URL = More SEO juice - Some people opt for a mobile website instead of responsive design meaning they make a whole new website (usually at m.yourwebsite.com) that is smaller copy of their original. This solves the pinching and zooming problem but adds the problem of another website to manage and forcing your main website to compete with mobile in terms of SEO. *AND say they open a link to the mobile site on their desktop computer, the mobile website will look odd on their full-size computer screen
  • Consistent branding- Your customers won’t miss a beat as the theme, look and content of your full-size website will still be accessible.

To view more examples of responsive web design, check out our Portfolio.

To make your website mobile-friendly and reach half of the San Antonio market, contact Giles-Parscale for a free web marketing consultation.

A new wave of social media is emerging, with Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat moving to the forefront due to their visually-based prowess. These platforms resonate with consumers in ways that their big brothers, Facebook and Twitter cannot. While Facebook and Twitter remain a standard in marketing, they merely keep users up-to-date as opposed to keeping a brand ahead of the game. The key to keeping your product and company at the forefront is to capitalize on these newer and innovative platforms.

A modern-day Pandora’s Box, Pinterest is a compilation of all your favorite online interests; whether it’s a humorous posts, interior design, or science and nature articles, Pinterest allows you to keep all your interests in one place. Pinterest allows users to “pin” images, videos, and gifs on their virtual “boards” so they are easily accessible and organized. Not only that, but Pinterest lets users follow others, view their pins, and develop interests based off of their boards. Two-thirds of the top 100 brands have Pinterest accounts, and the average consumer spends more time on their boards than any other social media site. Through pinning and repinning, brands become highly visible to the four million unique users who visit Pinterest per day. According to Bizrate Insights, 70% of online consumers find more purchasing inspiration on Pinterest than any other social media platform. Although consumers see the benefits of Pinterest, relatively few San Antonio brands have yet to use it to their advantage. Below are 4 ways that brands can use Pinterest as a means of free advertising to draw viewership and gain followers, resulting in increased profit due to newly discovered needs.

1. Lifestyle Over Products

Liberty Bar

Liberty Bar's "Our Southtown" board showcasing the community.

Successful companies do not use Pinterest as a medium to show products, but rather show how products are used in a specific environment. Users want to know how products can be seamlessly integrated into everyday life. Pinterest is the top social media platform for spontaneous purchases because users make buying decisions on newly discovered needs. San Antonio restaurant, The Liberty Bar, created a board, “Our Southtown” to show the ambiance of not only their restaurant, but the atmosphere of the surrounding area; acknowledging that customers want to not only enjoy their unique and delicious menu, but also be a part of the artistic Southtown community. The Pinterest page promotes trendy restaurants, neighborhood developments, local artists, and yoga classes. By doing this, they are promoting their own brand as healthy, trendy, and creative. When companies portray their products as a vivid lifestyle, they encourage users to immerse themselves in the details and adopt the way of living, influencing purchasing decisions.

Liberty Bar

Liberty Bar pins a photo of the setting outside their location and features an article written in Texas Monthly.

2. It Takes YOU to Tango

As a brand, it’s up to you to get things going! Engage with your audience by actively following other users, repinning posts, liking pins, and commenting on those pins. A brand’s Pinterest presence should be a two-way conversation. As an active user, companies gain credibility, intimacy, and the ability to cross promote with brands that have mutual interests.

Visit San Antonio Pinterest

Visit San Antonio features a variety of relevant organizations and topics in their boards.

3. Contributing Pinners

Start partnerships with Pinterest experts! To increase the interest of their followers, companies can invite Pinterest experts to be guests and add pins to company boards. Pinterest allows these contributors to curate boards that are featured on the company's main profile. Fashion label Calypso St. Barth reached out to prominent pinner and stylist, Christine Martinez, inviting her to live-pin a photo shoot in the Caribbean. This partnership boosted their following from five hundred up to nearly one million. By using industry influencers and brand advocates to pin on your boards, brands gain credibility with followers and non-followers who may decide to follow as a result.

Island Photoshoot

Christine Martinez’s board from her live-pinning in the Caribbean featured on the Calypso St. Barth Pinterest.

4. Timing

Stay on top of social trends! By pinning products or ideas that are socially relevant, you will be discovered by more users. Studies by Pinterest and Search Engine Journal show that fitness trends are most popular on Monday, but by Friday humor pins are more prominent. Pinterest claims that their activity peaks at 9 p.m., but the best overall time to pin is Saturday morning. Boards featuring gift ideas, such as Father’s Day dinner ideas or Christmas wish lists are popular before the upcoming holidays. Brands have to keep in mind that these are overall trends of Pinterest and not your industry specifically so it is worth it to experiment with your own company.

H-E-B Pinterest

H-E-B gears up for the Father's Day holiday with pins and boards dedicated to dad.

Pinterest is a platform that allows users to create a lifestyle. The world [of the internet] is at your customer’s fingertips, and they can create anything they desire through boards detailing their favorite summer clothes, perfect wedding, or words to live by. By participating, companies can increase both user-engagement with their brand and profits.

To find out if Pinterest is right for your brand, contact Giles-Parscale for a free web marketing consultation.

Categories

Syndicate

Exceptional social media marketing elevates visual content as king, because our brains process visuals thousands of times faster than text. In fact, 63 percent of social media is made up of visual content.

Instagram is now part of the marketing muscle for Fortune 500 companies such as Nike and Starbucks. Instagram gives these companies a platform to present a lifestyle and a brand experience, not only a product. Nike features toned, lean athletes in adventurous exotic locations enjoying their lives, while they happen to be wearing Nike-branded apparel. Local companies in San Antonio are also taking advantage of Instagram marketing. We selected three San Antonio brands that are using this platform to connect with their target market.

3 Successful San Antonio Brands on Instagram:

Your Brand is a Lifestyle. Instagram enables brands to create a whole way of life, from the product the viewer buys, to the destinations they can visit visit, to the decor shown in homes. Your customer wants your product because they want the lifestyle that it promises.

Bexar Goods is a San Antonio-based “maker of durable goods” ranging from leather bags, accessories and unique gifts. Their posts promote a sense an adventure, ruggedness, and timelessness.

Engage Your Biggest Fans. Not only can brands inspire a lifestyle, but brands can get customers engaged with their product and therefore drive purchase frequency. Examples of engagement include: using certain hashtags, photo contests, or giveaways. An engagement strategy gives customers the opportunity to feature your brand on their platform and have their friends see your message, thus increasing your area of influence among a variety of audiences.

San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo employs their Instagram followers to become free advertisers by creating a contest.

Transparency Is Golden. Instagram allows companies to become transparent. Customers want to see real people behind the product production, which is a much powerful and engaging story than merely another impersonal corporation. Featuring pictures of behind-the-scenes moments in the making of your product or show experiences made possible by using your brand.

Followers of the San Antonio Spurs Instagram see the personality of the players as they snap a selfie in their new Finals hats. #GoSpursGo

Instagram allows businesses the unique opportunity to generate two-way communication between brands and customers, freely advertising under the guise of interesting, share-worthy content.

As Instagram and all other social media platforms continue to expand in popularity, brands that are able to harness the power of visual content to drive engagement will reap the rewards of increased profits.

To find out if Instagram is right for your brand, call Giles-Parscale for a free web marketing consultation.

Having a business website is great, but creating an effective Internet marketing plan is even better. After all, why does your website even exist if not to help you create new business opportunities?

As San Antonio business owners and marketers inevitably learn, a big part of that process – attracting visitors and turning them into buyers or prospects – involves creating focused and effective landing pages. So-called because you want potential customers to "land" on them, these pages are different from any others on your website because they are designed for specific audiences and tailored to create specific actions.

For example, a real estate agent could have a landing page that’s specifically geared for couples looking to buy their first home together. Or, a health food store could create a landing page that’s set up to generate subscribers for a monthly newsletter containing recipes and coupons.

Regardless of the specific application, landing pages are incredibly important to your Internet marketing success. Here are five reasons to put them to work on your website:

1. Landing pages turn readers into doers. For all the discussion about things like search engine optimization and social media marketing, having visitors and fans doesn't mean a lot if you can't get them to make a purchase or register for more information. When they are written and designed correctly, landing pages bridge that gap between interest and action.

2. They let you target your offers. The best landing pages are written for a very specific kind of reader or prospect. That means you can use them to segment your potential buyers into lots of different groups, tailoring the offer you want to make for each individual type of contact.

3. Landing pages are perfect for split testing. Wondering whether one message or offer is more effective than another, or want to try different design elements to see which one can gather the highest response? With landing pages in place, this becomes easy – you just set up slightly different versions of your page, direct traffic to each, and then measure the results.

4. You can get great analytics data from landing pages. Because your campaigns and offers can be customized with landing pages, the resulting analytics data you get from visitor behavior can be priceless. If you want to know how different offers are performing, which landing pages hold the attention of readers, or what kinds of elements you should avoid in the future, the analytics data from your landing pages probably holds the answers.

5. Landing pages work well with other Internet marketing pieces. As mentioned, your landing pages are the perfect destination for search engine optimization, pay-per-click, and social media marketing campaigns. That means they make everything else you do online more effective, and more profitable.

Are you getting the most from landing pages in your current Internet marketing campaign? If not, now might be the right time to talk to the web marketing team at Giles-Parscale and see what we can do for you.

We'll admit it: This is a bold claim. When it comes to search engine optimization, there are a lot of San Antonio web marketers paying attention to a lot of algorithms and details. So, how is it that so many could be missing a crucial detail?

The answer has to do with forests and trees. Because so many San Antonio web designers and their clients are paying close attention to the actual details of search engine optimization, they are missing an overwhelming but undeniable fact: The shifts in strategy necessitated by Hummingbird and the updates before it aren’t going away.

In other words, the "good old days" of search engine optimization, when you could build a site on keywords and links and then watch the traffic flow in, aren't going to be coming back. Instead, web marketers now have to think about things like relevance, engagement, and even currency.

If this all sounds like a huge inconvenience, then you're looking at the problem the wrong way around.

Here are a few quick tips and strategies you can use to earn a top spot on Google going forward:

Realize that some level of search engine optimization is still important. Some search experts and marketing gurus would have you believe that SEO is dead altogether. That's not true – keyword research, optimized page headings, and other "technical" search engine optimization details don't matter a great deal if you want your site to be visible on Google and the other engines.

However, know that user experience matters just as much. What has changed is the focus. There was a time when all of that technical work was more than good enough to earn you a top position on all the major search engines. Now, having a site that's targeted, responsive, user-friendly, and up to date matters just as much. In fact, Google and the other engines want to ensure that people are staying on your site and actually using it before they'll keep sending traffic your way.

You need to plan your content with an eye toward quality and focus. In other words, keywords have become secondary to interest, engagement, and attention. Not only is compelling content more likely to draw readers and viewers in for longer, but it can also be shared over social networks. That means targeted, unique content is good for search and overall marketing effectiveness.

For a lot of companies, things were great when Internet marketing basically amounted to stringing a few keywords and inbound links together and watching the visits roll in. But, searchers demanded more and Google is giving it to them as a result. The choice we all face now is to either catch up to that fact or watch customers flock elsewhere.

Outstanding use of visual platforms is now the golden key for marketing campaigns. Snapchat is a photo-messaging app that allows users to take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, then share with friends. These photos and videos, known as “Snaps”, have a set time limit for how long recipients can view them, after which they will be hidden from the recipient's device and then deleted. Snapchat boasts over 60 million total users and 30 million active users a month, sending around 400 million Snapchats a day. This new platforms allows brands the opportunity to present their product creatively while harnessing loyalty and interest. Below includes 3 successful Snapchat campaigns that create urgency, engagement and creativity.

3 Reasons to Add Snapchat to your Web Marketing Campaign:

Create Urgency

The first company to use Snapchat for marketing purposes was New York based a frozen yogurt store, 16 Handles. They sent out a Snapchat promotion asking users to send them a picture of their friends eating 16 Handles frozen yogurt and then they would receive a Snapchat back with a discount on their next yogurt purchase. The urgency created through sending a quickly expiring image to users allows your brand to engage users at and control when they’ll be back in your store.

16 Handles

16 Handles sends out a New Years promotion via Snapchat

Engagement

Snapchat photos can be edited within the app with filters, paintbrushes and text, allowing limitless creativity. One quality of Snapchat is that it has a raw feel to it, and this lends itself to giving users a more personal experience with a brand, rather than being another faceless corporation. This engages users in a way that allows them to see the possibilities and lifestyle a product can provide. The San Antonio Spurs use the platform to show fans behind the scenes pictures and videos of the players, sneak peeks of new merchandise, or promotions for free tickets.

The San Antonio SpursKawhi Leonard

The San Antonio Spurs send quote-worthy Snaps to keep fans excited about the recent NBA Finals

Creativity Welcome

Of college Snapchat users, 73% cite using it for creativity. Creativity is key in Snapchat marketing, and has been neglected in most Snapchat marketing campaigns. Snapchat allows users to draw on the picture, which can be done quite inventively. Mashable, a leading source for news, information and resources, has capitalized on the drawing feature, with elaborate daily Snapchat stories that keep readers interested in their behind the scenes and content, as well as asking followers to send back creative Snapchats. This strategy keeps their customers actively engaged with their brand, increasing both brand loyalty and influence.

Mashable Snapchat

Mashable sends daily Snapchat stories that keep readers interested

Snapchat is a platform that allows companies to expand their brand and engage with visual content. Snapchat is growing quickly with an extremely active user base, and if used correctly, will greatly increase brand-engagement and profits.

To find out if Snapchat is right for your brand, contact Giles-Parscale for a free web marketing consultation.

According to a recent Google study, well over three quarters of mobile web users take their smart phones and tablets into San Antonio retail stores and use them to research the products they're looking for. It's especially true for big-ticket items (like appliances) where they want to be sure they're getting a good price, and the most value for their dollar. In fact, a whopping 82% of those surveyed said that they used the information they found on mobile devices to make immediate buying decisions.

In the vast majority of cases, they go online to find product reviews, the best available prices, and the availability of particular products at different stores or locations.

What is more interesting, however, is that most admitted to finding information on mobile devices rather than asking store employees for help, and that search engines were a more popular starting point than store websites and shopping apps. In both cases, that points to a desire for impartial information, rather than sales and marketing updates.

What Retailers Should Take From Smartphone Data

For retailers with physical stores and real inventory, the information in Google's report leads to some important conclusions:

First, that your prices have to be competitive. We all know that, while price might not be the only consideration in your customers’ minds, it certainly does matter. Now that buyers can check them against other sites and area retailers with just a few clicks, it's important that you monitor and maintain competitive prices and specials throughout your store.

This is especially true within your geographic area. Some customers might prefer to buy from an actual store instead of a website, but if they find they can get the same products for less than just a few minutes down the road, it could turn out to be an easy choice for them to walk out your doors without completing the purchase.

Employee training and in-store marketing materials might need to be adjusted going forward. The fact that customers consider information on the Internet to be more helpful than actual employees says something about the aggressive sales tactics that a lot of retailers employ. There's certainly nothing wrong with teaching your staff to further the sale, but make sure they aren't pestering buyers too badly.

The same advice may apply to your in-store marketing materials. If they seem helpful and informative, they may be valuable in moving shoppers to the register. But, if they gloss over the details or don't give enough benefits, they are likely to be ignored.

Reputation and local search are going to become more and more important . It used to be that even a poorly run retail store could survive if it was in the right location. Now, however, even a few poor customer reviews – or a new online or off-line competitor – can drive customers elsewhere in a matter of days or weeks. That means you have to have a strong profile and reputation online, especially on social and review sites.

Additionally, local search engine optimization is taking on a whole new meaning for retailers, since you can only sell to the buyers who can locate you. Regardless of whether you have a shopping cart and online ordering system, it's critical that your website be attractive and easy-to-find.

The Internet has been changing the way retailers operate, both online and off, for many years now. But, with mobile-ready devices everywhere, and in the hands of hundreds of millions of customers, the best ways to appeal to buyers are changing right before our eyes. Are you ready?

Why not work with our team to maximize your approach to mobile web marketing? Call or e-mail us today to set up a free consultation.

As more attention is being paid to the return on investment of Internet marketing, lots of San Antonio businesses are discovering the power of sales funnels – combinations of offers which, in succession, tend to draw customers through a set sales process.

A combination of web design and web marketing can create those sales funnels for you. For example, a typical sales funnel might look like this:

  • First, a potential buyer finds you through search engines or pay-per-click ads.
  • After clicking on your ad or result, the searcher is taken to a landing page that promotes a free report in exchange for their email address.
  • In your automated email responses, you point them toward downloadable resources that help them determine their needs and budget.
  • And finally, when they're ready to move forward, the customer contacts you for a face-to-face appointment.

This is only one example, of course. Other sales funnels might involve lower-priced products and higher-priced packages, or ongoing e-commerce relationships. The beauty of all of the systems, regardless of how they're structured, is that they are repeatable and predictable.

To understand why that's so important, consider all the time, effort, and expense that are usually burned in finding new customers. Now, imagine if you had a web design and web marketing system in place that would automatically do all of this for you, without any further inputs or active attention.

That's what makes a winning sales funnel so effective and profitable, and why it's worth testing every element of your Internet marketing plan until you have one that works.

If you don't have a proven sales funnel in place, why not? Isn't it time you called us to take the next step?

Some San Antonio business owners have an almost irrational fear and dislike for pay-per-click advertising. Often, their distaste for paid search marketing stems from a previous bad experience, when high hopes were dashed by outrageous bid prices, low quality scores, and dismal conversion rates. In other instances, owners and executives have heard dark tales from their colleagues, and decided that "free" organic search engine optimization is a much better option.

Of course, both of these scenarios have some foundation in the real world – PPC can be expensive if your campaigns aren't structured the right way, and organic SEO is typically more effective and cost-efficient over the long run.

And yet, smart businesses use pay-per-click campaigns, profitably and with great success, each and every day. In fact, the savviest marketers use PPC and organic search together, not separately. Here are four of the biggest reasons you should consider doing the same:

1. Paid search advertising works much more quickly than organic SEO does. This is more important than a lot of business owners and executives realize. To properly execute an organic search engine campaign, you might be waiting months or longer for traffic to come your way. With paid search ads, on the other hand, you can choose keywords, design an ad, fund your account, and start attracting new customers in under an hour.

2. Sponsored search ads let you test ideas and concepts quickly. The speed that comes with pay-per-click advertising makes it an excellent tool for testing new ideas and concepts. If you want to see whether a particular offer can work, or what kind of interest you can get from organizing an organic search campaign around a new set of keywords and phrases, paid search marketing can give you the answers in a matter of hours or days (and at a very small relative cost).

3. Paid ads often appeal to a different kind of searcher. Although some searchers stick strictly to organic regular listings, online retailers and serious Internet marketers know that customers who are ready to make a purchase (and especially those who are in a hurry) tend to click paid ads more often. In other words, by mixing up your search engine marketing campaigns a bit, you might be able to attract a different kind of searcher, and convert a higher percentage of visitors into buyers.

4. Search marketing campaigns can be changed and adjusted instantly. When things aren’t working with your organic search campaign, which may have taken months to put into place, finding a solution can be a long and involved process. But, with paid search ads and keyword groupings in place, you can shift strategies as often as you'd like, which is especially valuable if your products, pricing, and offers change on a regular basis.

There is a lot to love about organic search engine optimization, but that doesn't mean you should ignore the opportunities that paid search ads present. Use both together effectively, and you'll find that you can reach potential customers faster, more efficiently, and more reliably than ever before.

Need help getting started with your paid search marketing plans, or some other aspect of Internet marketing? Call or email our San Antonio web marketing team today and let us get you the answers you're looking for.

It's almost amazing that, a couple of decades into the digital revolution, there still isn't any real consensus opinion about what a good business web design is worth. As any experienced business owner or executive knows, you can spend anywhere between a few hundred dollars (by taking advantage of a template) and several tens of thousands of dollars (for custom business web design) to have someone design and code your pages, with varying results in between.

So, where is the "sweet spot" when it comes to value? And why is it so easy to pay too much, or too little, for business web design?

If you want to find answers that will actually help you build a stronger web presence, here are four things to keep in mind:

1. Business web design is a professional skill. The widespread availability of web design software has led some to mistakenly believe that anyone can create a professional-looking web presence. But, having a bit of an "artistic flair" isn't the same as knowing how complex web projects are supposed to work. You wouldn't expect one of your friends to buy an off-the-shelf bookkeeping package and start doing your company's payroll and taxes, would you? Apply the same caution to business web design.

2. It's not necessarily a bad idea to start your design from a template. A lot of business web design firms like to build sites "from scratch." That can be a great thing, but it can also add to the time and expense of your website. Assuming that your site is relatively simple and straightforward, working from a template might not be a bad thing. It gives the design team a starting point to work with, and gets you online faster – leaving the rest of your budget for the all-important Internet marketing process.

3. When potential customers visit your new website, your credibility is on the line. Regardless of whether your site is built from scratch, or template, what really matters is that you choose a creative team that can put your business in the best possible light. After all, a visit to your website might be the first and only chance you get to impress an important potential customer or contact. That means you don't want a cookie-cutter site, or one that is underwhelming. In the same way that you wouldn't want a sloppy employee greeting customers in your store or office, you don't want a tired website representing you online.

4. A good business web design is only the first step towards a larger Internet marketing plan. As we mentioned earlier, launching your website is only a first step, or putting down a single piece of the Internet marketing puzzle. It's what you do to promote it, and attract visitors through search engines, social media, and email marketing, that will ultimately make your site a profitable project. So, even though it needs to have the right look, don't settle for a great design without an accompanying marketing plan, regardless of how much or how little you spend on web design.

Naturally, the cost of a good business web design is going to vary depending on where you work, the reputation of your creative team, and what kind of needs your company has. By remembering what's really important about the process and end result, though, you can avoid paying too much or too little to get a powerful sales and marketing tool.

To learn more about business web design, contact a member of our San Antonio team today and ask for a free consultation or account review.

We live in a world where expertise is valued over almost anything else. Advice from a friend or a well-meaning stranger might be next to worthless, but if it comes from an "expert" on the subject, that same advice might be worth thousands of dollars an hour… or at least persuasive enough to get you to take the next step on an important decision.

While the power of PR and expertise is well known, what a lot of San Antonio business leaders overlook is just how easy it is to actually become recognized as an expert. In fact, here are three easy ways you can become a San Antonio industry leader in 2014:

Compile a series of YouTube videos. YouTube really is the world's second-largest search engine, showing billions of videos each and every day. Why not put your knowledge into a few easy-to-follow clips and show off what you know to viewers?

Publishing an e-book via Amazon's Kindle. Authors have always enjoyed an added layer of credibility on any topic. And now, it's easier than ever to publish your work. Promote your book on Kindle and you might just make a little bit of extra money in addition to building up your own name and reputation.

Create relationships with the new press. In the old days, getting press coverage meant schmoozing up to reporters or hiring expensive PR firms. Now, with a few well-timed press releases and relationships with bloggers, you or your company can get industry-specific coverage all over the Internet.

You probably already know a lot of what you need to be established as an expert in your field or industry. Why not take advantage of the opportunity and contact us, your San Antonio web and marketing experts.

If you're like most of the San Antonio residents we know, your New Year's resolutions for 2014 have already been failed and forgotten (that's okay, there's always next year). But, you may not have even remembered to make your most important resolutions of all – the ones that will stop you from wasting time and money with Internet marketing this year.

Here are seven you should make (and keep) this year:

1. Stop letting your website get out of date. It doesn't take long to update your site and get rid of broken links, so long as you do it on a regular basis.

2. Don't send any more boring email newsletters. If your newsletter isn’t engaging, you are bleeding subscribers… and missing out on a big sales opportunity.

3. Make a bigger effort with social media. For your social media accounts to matter, they have to be current. Take a few minutes today to update yours and respond to messages.

4. Don't live with low pay-per-click quality scores. Low PPC quality scores kill your online advertising budget, so start testing new ads and keyword combinations today.

5. Stop ignoring mobile computing. All the smartphones and tablets you see around you represent missed opportunities if your business website isn't mobile-ready.

6. Always track incoming leads to their source. If you don't know where your leads are coming from, it's time to start keeping track so you can emphasize your most effective marketing campaigns.

7. Finally get the creative help you’ve been dreaming of. The right creative team makes all the difference when it comes to conveying your marketing message, so don't settle for lackluster service or results. Hire our award winning San Antonio design team.

2014 is a great year to stop settling for less in San Antonio, so make these resolutions part of your ongoing plans and enjoy the feeling you get next year when your website is more profitable than ever! If you are interested in speaking to one of our marketing professionals, contact us today.

In the past few years, thousands of marketers have discovered that YouTube (which is sometimes referred to in the business web design community as "the world's second largest search engine") offers incredible opportunities for finding and impressing new buyers. Unfortunately, their competitors have figured that out as well, meaning that you can still do a lot with online video marketing, but only if you can make your clips stand out from the millions of others that are available.

With that in mind, here are some quick tips for making your YouTube videos more popular and effective than the rest:

Plan ahead for your video marketing project. Rather than having a video simply for the sake of having one, think ahead to the video’s purpose. Should it be to inform interested customers about a new product, give a "behind-the-scenes" look at your company, or something different? Don't start scripting or filming until you have the answers to these questions.

Put a lot of thought into titles and keywords tags. Remember, before anyone ever sees your video, they are likely to see the title and description listed in YouTube's search results. That means you need to grab their attention, and use the right keywords, just as you would for any search engine optimization efforts.

Pay attention to the details. Terrible production values can kill even the best video marketing concept. Instead of shooting your video with a cell phone, work with a team of professionals that can provide the right cameras, lighting, and sound equipment.

Edit like a professional. Obviously, if you have an experienced video marketing partner, they can help with the editing. If not, shoot for something that's short and to the point. If viewers don't make it to the end of your video, it's going to fall flat as an effective marketing piece.

Don't let your videos work alone. If potential buyers like your video, they'll put in your YouTube channel to look for more. For that reason, videos work best in batches. Plus, if you have several videos, it's easier to keep each one short, and to target different groups of buyers or keyword combinations with each one.

Tell prospects where to turn for more information. Hollywood studios might like to finish stories with "the end," but your videos should all end with a call to action and somewhere the viewer can turn to find more information or take the next step. Usually, this involves visiting your website or subscribing to an email newsletter.

Even though online video marketing is picking up steam in terms of popularity, many of the principles involved in producing a good clip mirror those that would go into producing a strong e-book or web page. In other words, if you can find a way to interest your most important prospects, convey your message and idea clearly, and then tell them how to take the next step, you've got everything you need for a successful project.

To learn more about online video marketing, and the business web design process, call or email a member of our team today.

In a way, the success that many startup online stores have experienced has actually made it harder to succeed in e-commerce. That isn't just because of the increased competition, but also because it has made the process of building a successful e-commerce site seem easy to potential entrepreneurs.

In other words, because they have seen other online retailers launch and make big profits from the start, many new e-commerce owners expect that they can quickly do the same.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. Although your online store certainly can gain momentum and start turning a profit in just a few days or weeks, some take a lot longer to show consistent results. And, it's absolutely critical that you avoid the most common mistakes that new e-commerce business owners make:

They don't scout the competition. Even if you have a great idea for an online store, it's important to know how your store is going to differ from other key competitors. And if there aren't any other big competitors, you should do your best to figure out why no one else is trying to profit from the market you are targeting.

They emphasize e-commerce web design over Internet marketing. If you're reading this, you already know how important web design is to the success of your online store. Still, having a site that looks great isn't enough – you also need a comprehensive search engine optimization and Internet marketing plan if you're going to attract new customers online.

They put all their money into a massive pay-per-click blitz. The great thing about Google AdWords and other pay-per-click tools is that they allow you to draw in targeted traffic very quickly. Still, the best PPC campaigns are developed over time, with a close eye on the analytics that tell you about buyer behavior. Spend too much, too quickly, and you could run out of money before you really understand where the profitable parts of the market are.

They are hesitant to offer guarantees to new customers. A lot of e-commerce owners are afraid to offer money-back guarantees and other warranties or exchange programs because they think customers will abuse them. Although that's a possibility, experienced entrepreneurs know that only a very small percentage of orders are ever returned, while guarantees can dramatically affect sales.

They ignore their online reputation. Having a great online reputation is important for any web business, but especially a new one that's dependent on customers sharing credit card numbers. Handle any complaints or concerns quickly, and work through social media, review sites, and other outlets to develop a reputation for trustworthiness, value, and unbeatable service.

Although a lot of companies would like you to believe that launching a successful online store is as simple as choosing a product, configuring a template, and watching the sales come in, the reality is that it's rarely quite that easy. In fact, there are a lot of predictable pitfalls to look out for. Avoid these new e-commerce business mistakes and you can see your site take off quickly… and discover a new source of income in a relatively short amount of time.

Want help getting your new e-commerce site off the ground? Call or email our team today to see what we've been able to do for other brand-new online retailers just like you..

It's no secret, or surprise, that search engine optimization and search engine marketing (also known as pay-per-click advertising) have gotten to be more competitive in recent years. Because Google alone processes more than 2 billion search queries per day, it has become clear that search engines have the power to send you more customers than you could ever handle. That means everyone is going to try to get in on the act, and that it's up to you to keep your SEO and SEM campaigns moving forward.

But, how do you actually keep them moving forward after they’re up and running? Here are five guidelines San Antonio businesses can follow to keep your plans on track:

1. Pay more attention to your own website than you do to Google. Lots of San Antonio businesses do strange things to their websites in an effort to impress Google. Instead of worrying about what search engine spiders think, pay attention to the logical flow of your content, and whether or not your site is as usable as it could be. Search engines pay attention to these factors, and more importantly, so do your customers.

2. Keep investing time and money into keyword research. Possibly the biggest waste associated with search engine optimization and marketing comes with trying to attract visitors via keywords or search phrases that are no longer relevant, or that don't convert well into actual sales opportunities. While you're adding blog posts, social updates, and other forms of new content, continually look for new keywords and search terms as well.

3. Add fresh content to your site continually. Speaking of blog posts, social content, etc., these are the tools that can help your site rank above your competitors’. While you don't want just any new content, remember that relevant articles, updates, videos, and other forms of content are massively important to your search engine optimization and marketing efforts.

4. Keep an eye on conversion rates for different parts of your site. Ultimately, attracting visitors to your website is only a first step. Turning them into genuine leads or customers is important if you're ever going to see bottom-line results. So, study visitor behavior to see which pages are doing their jobs, as well as which parts of your site might need an overhaul, or some new messaging.

5. Look for other forms of visitor feedback. By studying things like blog comments and social media feedback, you can learn about new keywords or topics that are important to your customers, and what they think of different ideas or trends. Each of these can help you produce new content and improve your search engine positioning going forward.

The minute your search engine optimization and marketing plans stall, you have effectively cut off your biggest source of new online traffic and revenue. So, keep these five tips in mind, and watch the ROI from your search engine campaigns improve from one month to the next.

Need help with San Antonio search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and other forms of online marketing? Let our team of experienced creative minds help. Call or email us today to request a free consultation and Internet marketing review.

While in San Antonio for the First Annual Sky High for St. Jude and Eric Trump Foundation Sporting Clays Tournament, Eric Trump visited local design and web marketing firm, Giles-Parscale, Inc. He stopped by to meet the team that designed and developed his Foundation’s website pro bono.

Mr. Trump had this to say about working with Giles-Parscale:

“Giles-Parscale is a true class act in every regard and one of the best in the business. When we considered designers for the Trump International Realty website we hired Giles-Parscale based on their impressive portfolio and solid reputation. Throughout the project, their technical competency was exceptional on every level and their innovative design team met our aggressive time frame while accurately creating the image the Trump name commands.”

Mr. Trump continued, “Giles-Parscale generously dedicated their time and talent to a completely new website for The Eric Trump Foundation, a non-profit that benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — 100% free of charge. They did so without fanfare or expectation and went way above and beyond what was asked. It’s rare to work with a company that embodies a commitment to excellence on all levels.”

In addition to websites for Trump International Realty and The Eric Trump Foundation, Giles-Parscale has completed a site for Melania Trump and is working on a re-design of the Trump Winery.

About Giles-Parscale, Inc.

Giles-Parscale fuses quality design with leading-edge web strategies, an uncommon combination of design experience and technical expertise. The principals’ previous firms, Giles Design, Inc. and Parscale Media earned reputations for creating highly effective marketing solutions for clients that range from Universal Studios and the San Antonio Riverwalk to UTSA and the Stockshow & Rodeo. Jill Giles’ branding and environmental design experience provides the aesthetic balance to Brad Parscale’s commerce-focused, technically-advanced web projects.

When we talk to clients about trends in San Antonio web design, they often expect to hear about things like HTML 5, or what's new in mobile marketing. But, as much as technology’s part of the discussion, the industry is also heavily shaped by what's going on around us. That's certainly the case these days, where a booming economy is changing the way businesses are thinking about things like web design and Internet marketing.

The growing industry that surrounds Eagle Ford Shale isn't just attracting oil and gas specialists, but also entire families and service industries that go with them. More money always means more people, which quickly turns into more competition.

When you think about things in that light, it's no wonder that so many local businesses are rethinking San Antonio web design, and looking for ways to get an edge over their neighbors. It's something we have seen ourselves, with lots of successful companies opting to revamp their websites for a better look, more functionality, and a bigger bottom-line impact.

For a good look at what we mean, consider these two recently relaunched San Antonio websites:

Dough Pizzeria - www.doughpizzeria.com

&

Reata Real Estate - www.reatarealestate.com

Besides the fact that we are extremely proud of the work we did on both sites, they both also make great examples of what's going on with San Antonio web design in this booming economy. Take a good look at them, and you'll notice a few things that you might be able to apply to your own thinking about business websites:

It's not enough to be online anymore. A few years ago, you might have been able to get away with just having a website, even if it was a bit outdated. With the increase in money and competition that's floating around out there, however, companies need to think more about their competitive positioning, and whether they are really doing everything they can to stand out over the Internet.

Clean layouts are important for attracting new customers. Because a lot of new residents to San Antonio don't have a favorite pizza shop or commercial Realtor yet, for example, having a professional, clean, and easy-to-understand website is key to winning their business. Your company should have a website that makes you seem credible and trustworthy, and explains how you're different from other companies in the area, if you want new buyers to come to you.

You don't need a complicated website to keep up. Although these two new websites are beautiful, they aren't complicated. That's an important distinction, because lots of local business owners and executives trick themselves into thinking a new web presence has to be incredibly complicated and expensive to be effective. The opposite is actually true – the best sites are usually the ones with the most straightforward designs and navigation structures.

It's clear that while our city is growing, San Antonio web design is evolving right along with it. And as always, it's the companies that are prepared to change with the times and put themselves in position to succeed that are going to be the winners. Is your business ready?

Giles-Parscale offers experience, creativity, and strong marketing insight in San Antonio web design. Why not talk to us today about a free consultation and website review?

Once upon a time, "business web design and Internet marketing" really amounted to putting up a nice-looking website, making sure Google could find it, and then building an email list that you could use to communicate with customers. If you're really adventurous, you could try things like search engine advertising, or experimenting with a company blog.

Just because that deep journey into history only goes back a dozen years or so doesn't make it seem any less ancient. That's because we live in a world where digital marketing involves, at the very least, things like responsive web design, search engine optimization, social media engagement, mobile compatibility, advanced web metrics, and a lot more. Throw in a few things like e-commerce or automated lead generation, and you can quickly invent not just a whole new language, but entirely new ways of thinking and doing business.

In such an environment, it's only natural for business owners and executives to think that "more" and "better" must be the same thing. As it turns out, though, adding too much complexity to your Internet marketing doesn't always help… in fact, it can actually hold you back.

In order to understand why, here are five great ways to keep things simple when it comes to business web design and Internet marketing:

1. Skip complicated and expensive programming schemes. The web design industry is like any other – there are some people who like expensive toys more than they do simple solutions. The reality, however, is that very few business websites actually need complicated custom programming. Go with simple layouts and plug-ins; they cost less, take less time, and are more reliable.

2. Keep messages and designs simple. In the same way that you don't necessarily need more tools and add-ons to your business website just for the sake of having them, neither should every page be crammed with blinking objects or screaming headlines. Keep things simple and to the point. If viewers can understand them, they'll have an easier time finding what they need and turning themselves into customers.

3. Know what kinds of customers you want to appeal to. Often, when businesses take a "kitchen sink" approach to online marketing, it's because they don't have any real goals in place. If you can identify your biggest set of potentially great customers, and figure out what they want from you, you'll have laid the groundwork for future online and offline marketing success.

4. Don't feel compelled to do everything all the time. We've already mentioned just a handful of the Internet marketing techniques you can put into action. Does your company necessarily need all of them, or to make all of them big priorities? A lot of that depends on your business, but a good web design and online marketing team will steer you towards the tactics and strategies that are likely to pay the biggest dividends right away, and then help you build up from there.

There's certainly nothing wrong with being ambitious when it comes to business web design, but going overboard often leads to more of everything except the bottom-line results that actually matter. So, if you're more concerned about growing your company than your web designer’s invoices, keep things simple and concentrate on giving your customers what they really want and need.

If you want to work with a San Antonio web design team that keeps you focused on what actually matters, call or email Giles-Parscale today to set up a free consultation and website review.

Many years ago, the government sponsored a brilliant advertising campaign with the theme, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." The idea was simple: If you have someone you care about in your life, don't let them hurt themselves or others by making a bad decision.

Recently, I've found myself wishing we could start a similar campaign for web design. There are just far too many businesses out there relying on friends, nephews, and other well-intentioned amateurs when it comes to building a web presence.

Why am I so bothered by this phenomenon? Have I created this post merely because I'm a San Antonio web designer and don't want to lose business? While that's undoubtedly part of it, the bigger issue is that I'm tired of seeing companies watch their Internet marketing plans go flying through the windshield, so to speak, when the unexpected collision between their impressions and the reality of business website design inevitably take place.

In other words, it's frustrating to have so many new clients come to us after they've already been burnt, especially when it would've been much easier to simply do good work for them the first time around.

To see why this is, and why it's so important to your company, here are the biggest reasons friends should never let friends do business web design:

Your website is your most important sales and marketing tool. Not only is it the most often seen part of your marketing, but it's also your number one recruiter, customer service specialist, and public relations agent. That's a lot of different hats to wear, and you don't want to trust web design to someone who doesn't have the skills and experience needed for the job.

An underwhelming web design embarrasses you in front of new customers. If someone is just learning about your business for the first time, what sort of impression do you want them to get? With that in mind, what sort of impression do you think they're going to get from your homemade website? Don't hurt your own credibility, or make your competitors look better, by putting up a sloppy website.

Your bargain-basement business website costs you more than it saves. Obviously, the biggest motivation for turning to a friend or acquaintance for business web design is to avoid spending valuable dollars. That makes sense, but it's a "missing the forest for the trees" kind of concept. By skimping on business web design, you're also lowering your own sales and marketing potential, which is likely to cost you a lot more long term.

Home-built business websites usually lack important features and back-end power. Although most business websites are built in a way that's more complicated than necessary, there is an art and science to the process. What's more, modern business website should all have marketing tools like email registration, account update features, and more. Things get even more complicated if you add e-commerce functionality into the mix. If you want your website to do all that it should, get it designed and coded by a team of professionals.

Simplified image editing software and quick YouTube videos have created the impression that just about anyone can launch a website with minimal training. That's largely true, but it's also not enough to give you the business web presence you actually need to compete in the digital age.

Want to find out what separates great San Antonio web design from an amateur effort? Call Giles-Parscale today and let us show you the difference.

As we look back on Internet marketing history years from now, it's possible that we'll see 2013 as a sort of "evolutionary tipping point" when it comes to search engines and search engine optimization. That's because Google (and its competitors to a lesser degree) seems to have arrived at a moment where new technology, ideas, and philosophies are coming together to permanently change the way search portals work.

Some of these changes have to do with the increased capabilities that are available. Not only have search algorithms expanded in recent years, but there are also many years of search patterns to analyze. Combine that with the increase in computing power, broadband availability, and server storage space that the company has at its disposal, and it's only natural that they would make the most of it.

At the same time, though, it's important to note that the Internet is changing around Google, and not just within it. The growth of social media, for example, has changed the way people look for information and answers, and the exploding number of new websites means there are more things to find, while making it harder to actually find them. Additionally, the rise of mobile computing and local search means that searchers are looking for different things than they were in the past, and hoping for different results.

All of this change is exciting, but it's also confusing. It's no wonder, then, that Google is scrambling to stay ahead of the market and businesses aren't sure what to do to maintain their rankings for important keywords and search phrases. Misinformation and mistaken ideas are everywhere, and following the wrong advice can hurt your business in a big way.

To help you sort through the mess, here are seven of the most important truths and myths surrounding the current and future state of search engine optimization:

Truth: Keywords and links still matter in search engine optimization.

For all the talk that "the old rules of SEO have gone out the window," search engines still have to find you somehow. That means that keywords and inbound links to your site are still important.

Myth: The "formula" for good SEO hasn't changed.

The difference now is that keywords and links aren't nearly as important as they used to be. The age of your site, size of your social media following, and the "newness" of your content all factor heavily into the mix, too.

Truth: Google wants your website to appear "natural" and not "over-optimized."

Google is on a campaign to deemphasize (and occasionally, actively punish) sites that have been trying to beat the system by stuffing keywords and taking other steps that make pages harder to read and understand.

Myth: That means you can ignore search engine optimization altogether.

For one thing, Google and the other search engines still process billions of searches per day, which makes them important Internet marketing. Additionally, there's a big difference between "findable" and "over-optimized," and most websites have a lot of room for improvement.

Truth: Big changes will probably come to Google and the other engines in the next few years.

You can never be certain what the engineers at Google will be up to in the future, but you can bet they'll keep adapting to customer demand and new technologies.

Myth: The same companies and websites will continue to dominate and rank highly.

Whether you enjoy a great search engine ranking now, or want to catch up to a competitor, what matters most are the actions you take going forward. If anything, Google and the other search engines are placing more importance on current content and updates, meaning that no ranking or advantage is safe for very long.

Want to stay ahead of the curve – with your competitors – in search engine optimization and Internet marketing? Call or e-mail our team today to set up a free consultation and see how we can help.

From the first days of social media marketing, words like "excitement" and "profit potential" have been flying around. As hundreds of millions of people have joined sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the buzz has only gotten louder… despite the fact that many businesses have a hard time tracing real-world sales back to their social profiles and content.

For many, it seems that people love social networking, but mostly because it allows them to share jokes, daily status updates, and photos of their children. More and more people are using their social profiles – and accessing them through apps and web-ready mobile devices – but the debate about the value of these sites to companies goes on and on.

With that in mind, it's worth asking: with social sites finally "growing up" and going mainstream, is social media marketing living up to the hype?

The short answer is that social media marketing is living up to its promise, but not necessarily in the ways that business owners and executives have expected. The problem is that they've always wanted to treat it like search engine optimization – something that they could "use" and "build up" until it delivered a steady stream of online leads or sales each and every day. For most, that isn't happening, simply because their products or tactics aren't a good fit. And, until they understand what works and what doesn't on social sites, that's unlikely to change.

To keep you from making the same mistakes, here are seven of the most important things we learned about social media marketing so far in 2013:

1. Each social media site requires a different marketing approach. Each social media site requires a nuanced approach. Facebook, for example, is more personal, while LinkedIn tends to be professional and Twitter runs on quips, jokes, and images.

2. Some messages and concepts translate more easily to social media than others. If you have a marketing campaign that’s funny or quirky, you'll have an easier time finding fans in social followers than if you employ straightforward price-benefit offers.

3. Success in social media marketing is really about time, creativity, and engagement. To succeed on social sites, you really have to stand out above the "noise." That means thinking outside the box, answering questions and requests, and updating your profiles on a frequent basis.

4. On social sites, the raw numbers are less important than the results. That might sound obvious, but too many businesses treat "likes" the same way they would treat sales or links. You have to focus on the actual business opportunities being generated; other metrics don't necessarily mean much.

5. You need an established sales chain to make your profiles profitable. If you want social media marketing to lead to sales, you have to have a way of moving customers from your profiles and updates to your landing pages. Otherwise, you're just making lots of friends.

6. Social media marketing often pays off in ways you wouldn't expect. Although it doesn't always lead directly to sales, social media marketing can help you achieve better brand recognition and a higher search position. The key is to have realistic goals going into the process.

7. The social networking world is constantly changing. What's true about social sites today might not be accurate tomorrow. That's because the way people use them is changing all the time, and businesses are still developing new profit opportunities. So, stay tuned and stay informed.

Social media just keeps growing, but using it for your company requires more than setting up a few profiles, and a lot of the generalized advice that's out there doesn't always apply to individual businesses. So, it can live up to the hype, but only if you have the right kinds of expectations for your social media marketing campaigns.

Do you feel like your business should be getting more from social media profiles? Call or e-mail our team today to set up a free consultation and let us show you how to turn them into a profit center for your business.

In the last few years, mobile web usage (in the form of Internet-ready smartphones and tablets) has exploded to the point that experts predict that it will account for more than 50% of all web traffic by next year. That has led businesses, and San Antonio web design teams like ours, to keep up with mobile-ready sites.

But, is a mobile version of your business website really the best answer?

Not always. You certainly can't ignore mobile computing, but there may be a better way to appeal to customers who are coming to you from mobile devices. That's because responsive design – so-called because it "responds" by showing different versions of your website based on hardware and software – lets you be accessible to mobile customers without having to build an entirely new site for the purpose.

That makes responsive business websites a good value for three reasons:

1. It's easier to maintain and update a single website. Most companies struggle to keep a single website up-to-date with the right products, prices, frequently asked questions, and so on. Why make things more complicated by adding more websites into the mix? Besides, with a single site, it's easier for your content to keep growing and be accessible to everyone, since you don't have to worry about spreading it or duplicating across different domains.

2. There is some suspicion that Google may prefer responsive websites. Why would search engines care whether your site is responsive or not? That's easy: since a growing number of searchers are using mobile technology, having a single, adaptable website that's a great resource for information and products ensures that they can send you traffic and still deliver a quality result. If you have a mobile-only site, or site without mobile functionality, then some users might not be able to find what they're looking for as quickly.

3. Responsive websites can offer an all-around better value. A dedicated mobile site doesn't just require an investment of time, but also money. Some businesses don't need to spend extra money from the marketing budget on what usually amounts to a duplicate version of their existing site when they could get more value from a responsive design that grows and is updated over time. Plus, when you add responsive functionality to your current site, you decrease the odds that you'll have to upgrade it in a major way over the next few years.

Is Responsive Web Design Always the Answer?

The bottom line is that mobile computing is changing the way a lot of people use the Internet, and responsive web design can give you a convenient way to connect with mobile customers in 2013 and beyond. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best answer for everyone.

Although responsive web design means less duplication of work, it also tends to mean big upgrades (or in some cases, a complete redesign and re-coding of your business website. For that reason, you might want to hold off on making the switch to responsive design if you've recently launched your site, or are hesitant to make any changes to it.

Additionally, businesses with large numbers of mobile customers can sometimes benefit from dedicated mobile sites, since responsive design doesn't always offer a perfect experience from one platform to the next. In other words, it's probably good enough for 99% of companies and users, but those with extensive mobile marketing plans might want to keep those activities separate. That's especially true if there are mobile-only coupons and specials being promoted on a regular basis.

If you're looking for new ways to add to your business website, and want to take advantage of mobile computing, then be sure to give responsive web design a look. It might be a great way to save a bit of your company's time and money, especially if mobile marketing isn't your top priority.

Want to find out more about responsive web design, and see whether it's a better value than a dedicated mobile website for your company? Call or email our team today!

For a lot of the business owners and executives we talked to, social media marketing is like a new, expensive toy that they haven't figured out how to play with yet. They know that huge opportunities exist on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – with hundreds of millions of users, how could they not? – but can't easily use them to draw in buyers the way they can on Google.

Although certain types of businesses have done well with social media advertising, it is still a new and unproven concept. And, connecting with potential customers one at a time on social media sites can be time-consuming. So, should you concentrate your efforts elsewhere and ignore social media marketing?

We certainly don't think so. Although finding customers on social media requires a more nuanced approach than a lot of businesses are used to, it can still be well worth the effort and expense. In fact, here are three reasons we think most San Antonio businesses should make social media a bigger part of their Internet marketing plan:

1. It's always good to know who your customers are. In other words, you probably need to use social media sites because your customers do. There are currently more than 1 billion registered social users, with lots of them logging on to their favorites every day. That means they aren't just looking at vacation photos and sharing preferences on music and books; they are also seeking out products, vendors, and especially buying recommendations.

2. You can use social sites to develop relationships and brand recognition. It's true that social media sites might not deliver you as many customers as search engines or Internet advertising do. But, while those other tools typically give you access to buyers at one particular moment in time, social media lets you develop a relationship and reputation that can last a lot longer. So, even though you might be meeting fewer customers, there is a bigger chance to build profitable impressions and relationships that will last for years to come.

3. Your customers' social media profiles are filled with valuable information. It could be that the most valuable part of a social media isn't in the marketing opportunities, but in the information provided by current buyers. The more they show you about their "likes," connections, and personal demographics (like age, education, etc.), the easier it is to target your campaigns directly to other buyers just like them. What business couldn't use five or ten more contacts who are very similar to their best customers?

Social media sites are a lot different than search engines like Google, but that also means they bring different kinds of opportunities. If you feel like you aren't making the most of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, it's time to talk with our team and see what we can do for you.

When Google was first introduced as a search engine, the changes it brought were immediate and dramatic. Because it processed search queries in a way that none of its competitors had in the past, it was able to produce better, more relevant results faster.

Of course, we all know what happened next: people started using Google as their first stop on the Internet, to the point that it now handles nearly 9 out of every 10 searches in the US, processing more than 2 billion requests per day.

Those kinds of numbers mean big business, and it wasn't long before companies (and their business web design teams) started figuring out ways to influence Google's rankings, pushing themselves and their clients higher in the search results to enjoy lots of targeted traffic. But, as with most things in life, too much of a good thing started ruining the system – customers are now finding pages that are excellent for search engine purposes, but not so great for finding actual answers and products.

Naturally, in their quest to remain the market leader, the engineers at Google have come up with new answers, and are rapidly changing the way they look at websites. So, the question is: will you be ready for Google's next act?

Our clients will be, because we are helping them to stay ahead of the curve. To give you an idea of how, here are a few of the things the world's biggest search engine is starting to do differently:

1. De-emphasizing sites with too much search optimization. Traditional SEO tools like keywords and inbound links have become the online version of plastic surgery – a little might help you get some positive attention, but go too far and you'll stand out for all the wrong reasons. Google no longer prefers sites with obvious attempts to boost their rankings, so it's time to grow content in a way that's more natural, and more focused on human buyers.

2. Measuring Google author rank. Google is starting to place less emphasis on websites, and more on the people who actually create content for them. That means posting anonymous, low-quality content could get you penalized in the search rankings. On the other hand, building your credibility as an author who can be trusted is a great way to improve your visibility quickly. Make the most of Google + and other social platforms to build your reputation.

3. Studying search behavior. One way that Google can tell your site is valuable is noticing that searchers tend to stay on it for a long time, clicking through to other pages and reading information. Conversely, if most people exit your site after a few seconds, that's a sign to Google that what you offer isn't that original or compelling. This analysis of searcher behavior is the new way of thinking, but all evidence suggests that it will be a big priority going forward. So, your company needs a unique website with an easy-to-use navigation structure to get an edge.

As always, changes with Google's algorithm mean there are going to be winners and losers. If your business isn't ready for a new era of search engine optimization and marketing, it might be time to speak with a member of our team to get your business website and Internet marketing plan back on track.

It is no secret that Internet marketing is always changing, but in 2013 we seem to be seeing those changes and evolutions accelerate. Tactics that were used and discussed for years on end are starting to become ineffective; and at the same time, entirely new areas of growth (like social media, and mobile computing) have exploded over the past few years.

In other words, just about everything you know – or used to know – about San Antonio web marketing is changing. Here are five of the most important reasons why, and how they matter to your business:

1. Search engines no longer stop at keywords and links. It used to be that putting up a few keyword-heavy pages or blog posts was enough to catch Google's eye. That's not true anymore. We’ll go more in-depth in a future post, but it's important to realize that the world's most popular search engine is now factoring in social content, the frequency of updates, and even the amount of time people spend on your pages when they determine results. So, it's up to you to give them a fresher, more interesting website for searchers to find.

2. The world is getting bigger, but customers are going local. At the same time that new companies are springing up all over the globe, more and more buyers are turning to the web to find local businesses to work with. That means, depending on your industry, your business website has to be ready for "double duty," appealing to both customers in other areas and those down the street in San Antonio.

3. Mobile is everywhere, and everyone is using it. The predictions for mobile computing have been around for a while, but the experts now agree that the majority of web traffic will be mobile by the middle of 2014. If you haven't incorporated mobile marketing, and a mobile-friendly (or responsive) website into your plans, you are falling behind other businesses who have.

4. Social media can give your marketing an added dimension. Social media sites are great for staying in touch with friends, but can also be valuable for building customer relationships. Another great use for your social profiles is to gather information – the more you know about your very best customers and their preferences, the easier it is to interest them in your offers, not to mention find other customers just like them.

5. Big budgets are out, creativity and efficiency are in. Few businesses of any size can afford to simply outspend all of their competitors anymore. Accordingly, the focus has shifted away from big budgets toward creative, high-ROI strategies that pay off time and time again. In today's business world, it's thinking outside the box that gets you the right results, not just writing a bigger check for Internet marketing.

Although the constantly changing world of Internet marketing can make it hard to keep up, change is also a good thing, because it forces us to refine our approach and become more effective month after month. If you want the very best minds in the business on your side, call us today to set up a free consultation.

Wondering whether it's time to upgrade your business website, or if you can hold off for another year or two? We can't answer that question for you, of course, but we can tell you that nearly all of our clients find that adding a new look, or a handful of key features, to their web presence turns out to be one of the best business decisions they've ever made.

That's because a new or improved website can help your business run more smoothly, and improve your bottom line picture, in a number of different ways. Here are a dozen of the most important:

1. By helping your business to make a stronger first impression. Your business website might be the first (and potentially only) part of your business a new customer ever sees. That makes having the right look, not to mention an easy-to-use navigation structure, a must for any company.

2. Through improved search engine rankings and stronger online visibility. The easier you are to find, the more customers are likely to find you. That's especially true on Google, which currently handles more than 80% of all North American searches to the tune of 2 billion inquiries per day.

3. With lower Internet advertising costs. An improved business website increases your pay-per-click quality score. That means you can enjoy better bit positions with lower advertising costs.

4. By helping you target your marketing more carefully. Your business website should appeal directly to your most important buyers (the men and women who are likely to place orders for years to come). Just as importantly, though, it shouldn't invite time-consuming inquiries from people who are likely to do business with you.

5. By bringing in more smart phone and mobile web buyers. If you're website isn't mobile-friendly, then you could be missing out on a large and growing segment of the market.

6. Through an increase in local interest and foot traffic. Likewise, local search on Google and review sites has replaced the Yellow Pages and print directories in most areas. So, if you want buyers who are close to home, think of your business website first.

7. With better promotion of sales and special events. A business website that's easy to update, or one that has good e-mail newsletter integration, allows you to reach previous buyers quickly and inexpensively. That means you can do a better job of promoting sales, discounts, new products, and special events.

8. Through higher product prices. When you have a high-quality business website, people perceive your business as more trustworthy, and your products as being worth more. That means you can often raise prices on what you sell and enjoy a higher profit margin.

9. By letting you sell more to each customer. With strong social media and e-mail marketing campaigns tied into your new business website, you can capture more customer data and contact them more frequently. That means more frequent purchases throughout the year.

10. With automated customer service and fewer hours spent on the phone. By adding frequently asked questions, product usage videos, assembly instructions, and other items to your site, you can decrease calls and inquiries to your company significantly, saving you time and money.

11. By getting you more attention from local or industry press. Journalists and editors turn to the web for research just like everyone else. If your website makes you seem credible and reputable, they might look to you for answers – earning you free publicity in the process.

12. Through better, less costly recruiting and hiring. Your website isn't just for customers. When you need to add new employees or vendors, having a site that attracts the right kind of professional can be a huge asset.

For most companies, just one or two of these benefits far outweighs the cost of an updated business website. Why not call us today and get a free, no-obligation quote for your business web design project?

Every business website is different, and what's right for one client or company might not be perfect for another. But, if there is one thing that we are recommending to almost everyone we work with these days, it's a content management system.

To help you understand why, you first have to know what a content management system (or CMS) is all about. In a nutshell, a CMS allows you to keep a consistent look, layout, and navigation structure to your website, regardless of changes to its content. In other words, you can keep your site uniform and consistent, but add, delete, or alter specific text, pages, images, and more with a few clicks of the mouse.

Why is this capability such a great thing? It really comes down to two important benefits:

1. Always having the flexibility to update your business website.

The Internet is stuffed with business websites that have gotten completely out-of-date. The products listed are no longer for sale, or sold at different prices; employees have come and gone, and things like locations or contact information are no longer valid.

Why haven't the companies in question simply kept their sites current? In some cases, they may have forgotten. But, many more are afraid of the time and effort (or billable hours) involved if they reach out to a business web design firm. Plus, if they update their pages now, won't they just get out of date again soon?

With a content management system, all of these worries go away. That's because you and your employees can logon to the site, update, add, or remove pages is need, and then publish them in moments without worrying that you'll stop the site from looking or functioning correctly.

2. An easy way to keep growing your website and Internet marketing plan.

As valuable as a current, up-to-date business website is, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Business blogs, search engines, social media, and most other Internet marketing tools run on new content. Having fresh writing, images, etc. is the key to getting noticed by customers.

With a content management system, adding these items – and attracting new potential customers in the process – takes seconds, not days or weeks. That means it isn't just less costly and more efficient, but can also help you make the most of the opportunities you probably had in mind when you first designed your business website in the first place.

If it's been a few years (or more) since you started your business website, you might not have had the chance to install a content management system and use it to grow your web presence. Why not make up for it now? Call or e-mail a member of our team to get more information.

How often do you pay attention to the Internet marketing world around you? If you're like most of the business owners and executives we meet, it's probably not as frequently as you would like. You're aware that things are always changing and shifting, but who has time to keep up with the details?

Fortunately, we are looking after the world of online marketing for you. Here are four trends we are telling our clients to keep an eye on, since they could have a big effect on every San Antonio business:

1. The rise of online reviews.

Years of experience have taught consumers that they can't necessarily trust what businesses are telling them. What they can count on, though, are reviews from other customers just like themselves. For that reason, online reviews (posted to review sites as well as social media portals) are becoming a key component of online andoffline profitability. If you don't have someone looking out for your reputation on the Internet, and maintaining current profiles for your company, then it's hard to keep track of what kinds of reviews you are getting and more difficult to encourage positive feedback from customers.

2. The growing influence of social media offers.

Sites like Twitter and Facebook have gone from personal spaces for communicating with friends, to alternate company "home pages" and even public forums where you can spread messages and watch them go viral. That means that, unlike e-mail marketing or pay-per-click advertising, for example, the content you post to social sites can grow and spread on its own. For that to happen, though, you have to have content that's interesting, easy-to-understand, and helps your branding effort.

3. Responsive web design as a way to take advantage of mobile computing.

You don't have to look at the numbers to know that nearly everyone has a smart phone or tablet these days, but if you did, you would find that these devices are rapidly overtaking "traditional" desktop and laptop computers. Although a mobile version of your business website can help you reach mobile customers, responsive web design (which adapts to the hardware and software your visitors are using individually) is a better long-term value for a lot of businesses.

4. Brand integration to keep your message on track.

With all the new marketing mediums and advertising channels that are opening up, it can be hard to keep your messaging straight and branding consistent. The art of "brand integration" could be the answer. Focusing on your core message, and then distilling it across different campaigns, involves making sure that all the major and minor details – from your logo to coloring, fonts, and unique selling points – come through in every communication, so that the "whole" of your marketing campaign has a bigger effect than the sum of its parts.

As a business leader, it's important that you know what's going on in the digital world so you can adapt and take advantage of opportunities. But, it certainly helps to have the right agency on your side, making sure you don't miss anything important. Why not call or e-mail us today and see how easy it is to get the bright minds at our company working on your challenges?

The web world is changing....again. The new buzz word is responsive design, which simply means that your website responds to any device and displays the appropriate information based on the dimensions of the screen. In the early 2000’s, businesses needed to migrate their sites from static HTML pages to content management systems (CMS’s) like ExpressionEngine, WordPress and others. Businesses wanted (and needed) a better and easier way to manage their content.

Today, the craze is mobile. And when we say mobile device, we mean devices like the iPad and the new Microsoft Surface. For many of these devices, the standard “point and click” design doesn’t work very well. Even some of the fancy javascript “point and drag” functionality on sites like www.zapier.com fail miserably on an iPad. Since 2007 and the introduction of the Apple touch screen, we’re used to fluid websites. A simple finger gesture allows us to quickly scroll or slide through content easier than ever.

How Do I Know If I Need Responsive Design?

The story can be told in your Google Analytics. Login to your dashboard, and navigate to Audience > Mobile > Overview in the left column. Here you will see the information such as the example below:

For this website, we can see that 2,357 visits out of 4,803 visitors are from a mobile device, including tablets. That’s nearly 50%, which is very high. If this ratio is more than 20%, you need to consider building a responsive website. This particular site is not responsive, and we can see they suffer from fewer pages per visit, and less time on site compared to non-mobile visitors. The bounce rate for mobile visitors is also 10% higher, which is an indication that the mobile visitors are simply less engaged. You could also measure your conversion rate between mobile and non-mobile with this data. Are you convinced yet?

Mobile App, or Responsive Design?

Businesses are typically two to four years behind the Web technology trend curve. It simply changes too fast, and most businesses are not able to sustain an ongoing expense to maintain and upgrade their web presence. The mentality is to get as much mileage out of whatever technology they have until it’s absolutely necessary to upgrade, and a lot of times peer or competitive pressures force their hands. The previous trend was to build a limited, stripped-down “mobile-friendly” or “app” version of your website that simply becomes four of five buttons that’s easier to navigate and read. If you’re a business looking at converting your site to a “mobile-friendly” version, or “mobile app”, then this is already an outdated strategy. These can be expensive and requires yet another monthly service that you need to login and update when you make a change to your main site. Not ideal.

Responsive design fixes all of this. You no longer need to build device-specific webpages, or deploy third party applications to manage mobile-friendly pages. Responsive design is agnostic to all of that, and it’s the newest thing.

Google Has Preference to Responsive Web Design

A recent article on Marketing Land states that “Google currently has a preference for responsive Web design”, and co-founder Larry Page personally finds mobile-specific sites “frustrating” because they are “too simple” and finds those sites “confusing” when he has a modern Nexus 4 that can view the full site. No one knows yet if Google will penalize against mobile-specific sites, but we could see that in the months or years to come.

A Responsive Design Example

Take a look at one of our most recent projects, Trump International Realty. This is what you would see on a normal desktop monitor or laptop screen:

Trump full.jpg

This is what you would see on a tablet:

This is what you would see on an iPhone or Android phone:

The page automatically resizes and adjusts itself using media queries which call for different CSS on the page. Depending on the page layout, you may not see a dramatic difference between the desktop and tablet versions, but things like images and graphics can resize themselves and change position.

Interested in upgrading your site to be responsive? Contact us today.

Let's get straight to the punch line - yes, you want to be updating or refreshing your website every three years (five years maximum). We see small businesses make two key mistakes with their web design and Internet marketing:

A) Lack of updates. Web technology is changing every six months, so if you want to take advantage of these newer technologies (such as jQuery, slide decks, marketing automation, etc.) you need to upgrade to the latest and greatest in content management or e-commerce engines.

B) Lack of investment on web marketing. After spending $20K on a new site with all of the bells and whistles, there is no appropriate budget to market the website online with tactics such as SEO or PPC advertising.

So why do you, the small business owner, need to be constantly spending money on your website? Well, for starters, small businesses are seeing a sizable increase in leads from web searches as compared to even three years ago. According to Forrester Research, 85% of all items purchased in a store started with an online search. Your brand, reputation, and reviews of your business by other consumers are all drivers in search today.

But there are 5 more reasons why you want to upgrade, or maintain your website:

  1. Your CMS is outdated. In order to get some of the new bells and whistles with ExpressionEngine, you'll need to upgrade to 2.0. If you're on the old platform, some of the new modules or plugins won't be compatible.
  2. Your host provider has made changes. Recently, Rackspace has decided that they will no longer be supporting PHP versions older than 5.1 on the cloud. This forces web developers to update all of their customers to the latest and greatest version of their CMS to be able to still run properly on the Rackspace Cloud.
  3. Your SEO will improve. When you upgrade your site, you have an opportunity to clean up any lingering issues that are causing your SEO to suck.
  4. Your bounce rate will improve. When was the last time you looked at your bounce rate in Google Analytics? Bounce rate is defined as a visitor who comes to your site but only looks at one page before leaving. In other words, it was likely that they were not very engaged. If your bounce rate was above 50%, a new or refreshed design could help improve and lower your bounce rate by making the design more engaging and easier to navigate.
  5. Your conversion rate will improve. Are you measuring conversions, such as form submissions, file downloads, or others? Did you know you can create conversion goals in Google Analytics and have a report sent to you automatically every week on the conversions your site is getting?

What kind of investment should be made in a website?

Naturally, there are the upfront, one-time costs to design and develop the website. The rule of thumb we use is to allocate 10-15% of the cost annually for site maintenance, upgrades, etc. We also recommend planning for 10-20% of the site cost as a monthly expenditure for Internet marketing activities.

For example, if you paid $10,000 for a new site with full design and development, you would allocate $1,000 - $1,500 per year for site maintenance, and about $1,000 to $2,000 per month for marketing and advertising. Your Internet marketing provider should be able to provide you with some relative ROI numbers associated with that kind of spend.

Your website is like your best sales person who never sleeps and never takes a vacation. It works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. How much would you invest in an employee like that?

Just about every business, large and small, is competing online for visibility so that when a potential customer types in a variety of keywords, your website or brand will appear somewhere on the search page. You may appear as an organic listing, a location on a map, one of the paid sponsored links at the top, or even a social media mention or video. Internet marketing is still in its infancy, and everyone—from freelancers to agencies to Internet marketing specialty companies with thousands of customers—is ready to offer you their services.

So whom should you believe?

As you begin your search for the right Internet marketing partner for your business, be on the lookout for some of these Internet marketing traps, and how you can avoid them.

Long-Term Contracts

Beware of companies who force you into long-term contracts. What if you are not satisfied with the service or the results? Do you want to be stuck in something long-term? Look for a company who will offer a month-to-month option, or at least longer-term options that would result in a reduction in setup fees or monthly fee savings.

Not Knowing What You’re Getting for the Money

With the plethora of options out there, you can run the gamut on plan features and pricing. Compare service providers by looking at what exactly they are going to be delivering each month. For SEO services, you should be able to equate each deliverable to a price. So if company A is charging $1,000 per month and delivering 5 articles and 10 links, and company B is charging $1,500 per month and delivering 2 articles, and 3 hours of link building, you can make some general comparisons and throw out the ones who are way off-base. See if they will break it down into a per-unit price for you. Be prepared to pay more for companies with more experience, staff or other resources.

Advertising Costs Included!

Beware of companies that include the click costs as part of your overall budget, and pay Google and Bing on your behalf. Some of these companies are putting as much as 50% of your click budget in their pocket. This is why their management fees seem unusually low, or never adjust for the size or spend of the campaign. Everyone is required to disclose what the actual cost per click and ad spend is per Google’s Third Party Policy. This ensures transparency all around.

“Adversites”

Many of the larger Internet marketing firms are finding that they can avoid your website and all of your technology problems completely by setting up an “adversite” for you. This is another website, usually on another domain that is run parallel with your existing website. These sites are pumped with content and links to help build their presence to drive phone calls. While this is fine in nature, the problem is that you don’t get to keep the website if you decide to leave. It’s like you’re “leasing” a website that once you stop paying for, you stop getting benefit from.

Work with a company that will either fix or replace your existing website on your established domain name.

AdWords and Analytics Are Set Up For You

In some cases, we find that customers had their previous agency or Internet marketing firm set up all of their accounts for Google AdWords and Analytics. The problem was that when it came time to leave or sever the relationship, these accounts could not be taken with them. They were generally set up in a larger account with lots of other customers in them, and the company will claim that the account “can not be moved or shared.” If your Internet marketing firm sets up your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts for you, make sure that you are the owner and master administrator of them. This way, if you ever switch services, you can simply turn their user off, and give access to a new company to manage your accounts for you.

Choosing a San Antonio web developer is a crucial task. This person will need to design, program, and market your website. Many clients have a hard time when choosing a designer because they have no idea what to look for. Listed below are 3 crucial features for choosing a web developer.

Experience
Experience is the key to results. An experienced web developer is one with an extensive client or design portfolio, who demonstrates a depth of knowledge in certain programming languages. Look for developers who have solved multiple problems, ranging from ecommerce back-ends to content management systems to complex workflows. Experienced developers can also adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances and unique requests. Contact previous customers to ask about the developer’s work, and request their portfolio, if one is not immediately provided.

The ability to create original and professional websites is what separates the amateurs from the professionals. Almost anyone can create links and put words on a page, but it takes a trained person to have a proper sense of page layout and a tasteful knack for design and graphics. Keep an eye out for this kind of innate design sense when browsing through a potential web developer’s portfolio—look for unique and original designs, and pay attention to style. If the none of the samples seem to match your style, you may be looking at the wrong developer for your project.

Marketing
Having the most awesome website on the web won’t make a whit of difference if nobody ever sees it. Standard marketing tactics you might use for a brick-and-mortar store don’t apply here. You need to incorporate social media marketing, along with other online strategies to build a steady stream of visitors, allowing you to sell products and actually make money. If a web developer claims to be an expert in search engine optimization, do your own Google search to see whether they’ve utilized those techniques on their own website with good results.

Price
The cost of a professional website can range anywhere from $500 to tens of thousands of dollars. Before hiring, always get a written price estimate for the project. Some firms may request half of the fees to be paid upfront as a deposit, while others may charge a flat hourly rate. Aside from the initial production cost, you should also factor in the cost of maintenance once the site is online. If you plan to update your website regularly, you will need to pay an administrator a monthly/weekly fee, unless you plan to do the job yourself.

The old adage may be cliché, but oh so true in the digital universe we live in. Even though some trends come and go, like a flipped up collar on a polo shirt, dated website design is not one of them. This is an area where old is not classic, but potentially detrimental to your online presence and your business.

On a daily basis I talk to people who “want to be on the first page of Google”. There’s way more to it than that. You can drive a million people to your website, but if it appears outdated, chances are the visitor will leave.People associate the look of a website with credibility. You run the risk of being perceived in a manner that may not be how your business actually exists. It’s one thing if you’re an established organization and you just need to update your website. It’s another situation when your business depends on converting traffic going to your website.

Either way, if a website is more than five years old, in some cases even fewer, it is probably time to consider an update, and most likely a new site. Here are just a few things that have changed in website design:

  • Design Structure and Appearance
    • Content Management Systems
    • Animation technology
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Social Media Integration
    • Email Marketing Integration
    • Enriched Content
  • Your website has to change with technology in order to keep up. With over 15 billion pages indexed online (double the world’s population, p.s.) competitiveness is a slight understatement. There are many people people who are able to build websites out there, just make sure you find a partner who is well versed in all these areas.

    It makes a difference, just ask our clients, Paseo del Rio Association and Buyers Distributing Incorporated.

    Paseo del Rio Association Before and After:

    Buyers Distributing Incorporated Before and After:

    Last week, the city of Seguin, Texas launched their new website. It was a true community effort. Check out what Jim Vassar, IT Manager of Seguin, had to say...

    "Today the City of Seguin has a website it can be proud of. Two and a half years of hard labor has produced our new site: www.seguintexas.gov"

    It features a Content Management System that allows certain people from each city department to update information on their section of the site. This allows much quicker updates to the site, making it more practical to post News items, Emergency notifications, etcetera for Seguin's citizens. It also gives freedom to each department to display pictures, PDF files and text in their own creative way within the confines of the site. Easy to use Agenda and Minutes postings, Employment opportunities, and Bid opportunities are also new features to our site. SEDC is now integrated on our city website under Business.

    "Special thanks to Parscale Media for working with us so well and providing the functionality and design of the site. Also, thanks go out to Dan Rubio and Manuel Rosas for their huge efforts in this project. And let's also thank the web site administrators in each department for working so hard to make the site come alive with up-to-date content. Thanks to each department for their cooperation in this project!"

    For more great projects from Parscale Media visit www.parscale.com

    Parscale Media is proud to launch the new official website of the San Antonio River Walk for the Paseo del Rio Association. The project is the result of a very dedicated collaborative effort between Parscale and Paseo.

    “As the number one Google search for the River Walk, we felt we were due for an upgrade,” explains Nancy Hunt, Executive Director of the Paseo del Rio Association. “The enhanced visual appeal truly highlights the beauty and wonder of the city’s jewel, the River Walk. The enhanced functionality allows visitors to the site to find the information they are looking for, in fewer clicks. We wanted to provide visitors a comprehensive understanding of what San Antonio and the River Walk have to offer.”

    The new website showcases a new modern design, but more importantly evokes a more interactive layout for visitors, members and sponsors of the Paseo del Rio Association. It is no longer a text driven brochure online. Now it is a multi-faceted resource with options to plan a trip, sign up for email updates, find points of interests through category-based sections, and of course links to social media. It also features an extensive Events section with in-depth detail pages, links to purchase tickets and image galleries.

    The Paseo del Rio Association is a non-profit association whose mission is to promote, protect and preserve the River Walk. www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com

    Parscale Media is a San Antonio-based web-marketing firm specializing in custom web design, web strategy and online presence. www.parscale.com

    As part of the Rivercenter Mall’s rebranding efforts, Parscale Media had the opportunity to work on the website portion of the plan. In keeping with their new look and feel, and the use of “Re” words, a very image-driven design was implemented. The site showcases everything Rivercenter has to offer in addition to shopping, such as great dining, entertainment and special events. A multi-level directory map was created to help visitors easily find what they are looking for based on categories and location.

    Several items have been implemented to encourage more interactivity for a marketing and social media benefit. The opportunity to sign up for convenient email updates and establishing a Facebook and Twitter presence will help Rivercenter Mall keep in close touch with their audience locally and beyond. In addition to these efforts, every page of the website is properly titled to optimize the opportunity to be found in search engine results.

    All of these features combined will prove to keep Rivercenter Mall as a key destination in the Riverwalk area. Check out the new site at www.shoprivercenter.com and see more of Parscale Media's projects at www.parscale.com

    There’s a certain twinge of excitement I get when going to the airport, because it typically means I am doing something fun. But then, in an instant, you take the happiness detour to Baggageville. The lines, the people and worst of all, the FEES!

    I’m always envious of those people who seem to float through the airport minutiae
    and arrive at their gate with composure in tact. Fortunately, we can all have that experience thanks to ShipLuggage.com.

    ShipLuggage is a premier door-to-door luggage delivery service that makes traveling much more enjoyable and stress free. You simply go to ShipLuggage.com, schedule your luggage shipment, print your labels, a courier picks up your luggage from your home or business, and you receive your luggage at your desired location. How great is that?

    There are similar services out there, but none have the vision and expertise that ShipLuggage does. The owners approached Parscale Media with a very clear vision of how their website and service would be unique. This resulted in a custom design and program unlike any other out there. The website is modern and user-friendly, which is made possible by a combination of excellent design, concise marketing messages, and a transaction system created specifically for this project. Recognizing the role that social media plays in a modern traveler’s world, you will find Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels associated with ShipLuggage as well.

    So, the next time you plan a trip – be it business or pleasure – consider sending your bags ahead of time. Save time, money, and sanity!

    Learn more about ShipLuggage and Parscale Media at www.shipluggage.com and www.parscale.com

    Yes, the title is cliché’, but it is the day before Thanksgiving and I am very honed in on food at the moment. Not only is it the time for holiday planning, but also budget planning for many businesses.

    A recent article published on mashable.com has interesting predictions on how small businesses are expected to spend their marketing budgets in 2011. For some time now, trends have shown continuous increases in online, email and social media marketing.

    Over 54% of the businesses surveyed already have a website. This is not surprising. What’s exciting, is that people are starting to recognize their website must be more engaging and take their efforts further to incorporate other elements. People are seeing the value (and more importantly, results) of having a comprehensive plan that covers several ways to communicate and interact with their audience.

    However, 80% of those businesses say the majority of content is information about their business. Another key area where we are seeing much focus is content marketing. Stay tuned for more on that!

    Check out the full article - http://tinyurl.com/2eynmqb - you are bound to find something that relates to you and your business. In the meantime, enjoy a turkey leg.

    To celebrate this monumental occasion, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation decided to go big with their website too by creating a dedicated Walk for Life website! Parscale Media created a completely customized registration system to provide the most user-friendly way for individuals, teams, volunteers and supporters to get involved. This website is truly a one-stop shop for all things AIDS Walk related. The 2010 San Antonio AIDS Walk will be held at Woodlawn Lake Park on Saturday, September 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

    Help support the 20th anniversary of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation's Walk for Life and visit www.walkforlifesa.com.  

    Gourmet Body Treats is a local family-owned business in San Antonio dedicated to creating green beauty and skin care products. Waleska, the creator of Gourmet Body Treats, was having a hard time finding products for her own skin issues, and when nothing else worked she decided to create her own! All of the products are handmade, 100% natural and 100% vegan.

    We collaborated with Gourmet Body Treats to create a marketing driven plan to showcase their natural products. The end result is a custom ecommerce website with a clean and inviting design, clear marketing messages, fluid navigation, and search engine optimized content. Dynamic titles, descriptions and keywords to the website help Gourmet Body Treats gain additional exposure. To support their growing online client base, Parscale implemented a Foxycart ecommerce solution for a smoother checkout experience for both the customer and the client. Other special custom features include hand-drawn navigational and product icons, illustrated by our own Michelle Sanchez.

    The goal was to create a website that would boast the beautiful organic products that Gourmet Body Treats is known for. To begin an all-natural regimen of your own, check out Gourmet Body Treatʼs website atwww.gourmetbodytreats.com. To view more of Parscale Media’s work, including other ecommerce websites, go to www.parscale.com.

    Parscale Media is hiring a Production Artist.

    Here are the attributes we are looking for:

    • Must be highly organized, detail oriented and able to work efficiently on multiple projects to meet tight deadlines
    • Able to implement quick revisions to meet Client's, Art Director's or Senior Designer's requests
    • Must have advanced knowledge of Photoshop. Knowledge of Illustrator and InDesign a bonus
    • Should be familiar with image compression, file correction and optimization techniques
    • Knowledge in XHTML and CSS is a plus
    • Must be experienced with Mac & PC
    • Must be able to type properly and at least 40+ WPM
    • Graphic design skills are a plus
    • Will consider full or part-time
    • Compensation based on experience

    If your qualifications meet these requirements, please submit a cover letter, resume and portfolio to [email protected].

    Parscale Media is committed to providing outstanding web design and web marketing strategies by establishing lasting client relationships through communication, creativity, knowledge and cutting edge technology. 

    Hits is the latest add-on from up and coming DevDemon. If detailed tracking is relevant to your website (and let’s face it, it better be) your life has just been simplified. It addresses the challenges of tracking within entries and the forums. On an individual product page, a graph shows unique visitors in real time.

    Hits allows the flexibility of viewing the numbers from the control panel, and detail on the product page. It provides numbers for days, weeks, months, and year. And, for all you “Top 10” people out there, it can also be customized to show lists of counts. This is a must have. An add-on so wicked, I bet The Count himself would buy Hits. See for yourself at www.devdemon.com.

    DevDemon is a San Antonio based subsidiary of Parscale Media www.parscale.com.

    San Antonio based DevDemon, made its entry into the market of modules, plug-ins, and extensions for web development by launching 6 new products in February. All of the products are designed specifically to integrate with ExpressionEngine content management system.

    Four of the current products are free to download: Tagger Lite, Pagenumber, EE Code Disabler, and Just Save. While the other two, Channel Images and Channel Files, are very affordably priced.

    The products were created to enable developers to move through certain functions more quickly and in a more organized manner in ExpressionEngine. The release of several more products is planned within the next few months.

    This subsidiary of Parscale Media (http://www.parscale.com) anticipates being highly competitive in this space, to ultimately assist developers in providing the best possible websites.

    DevDemon products can be found at www.devdemon.com

    I love the Olympics. Winter or Summer games, I am one of those people that watch the entire opening and closing ceremonies, and catch as many of the events as possible. It’s the event that highlights not only great athletes, but stories of heart, determination, and skill. Where the newcomers and the not so new are all on a level playing field. It’s a place where teammates are normally competitors or vice versa. It brings out a special competitive spirit no matter what.

    There is just something about sitting down and watching some random sport (not the “C” word) and seeing these people so completely focused on the task at hand. Inevitably there is someone that stands out to me and I’m an instant fan. So far it’s been a Japanese girl who gave up her citizenship to skate for Russia, and a Norwegian skier that came back in 18 months after snapping his neck in a crash to win Gold. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the underdog.

    As a growing competitor in the world of design, we decided to enter the ADDYs for the first time and thought we would get our feet wet with 3 entries. Although Parscale Media is primarily focused on web design, we excel in other “disciplines” including branding. I was very pleased to find out we were chosen as a winner in the logo division. Saturday night the 2010 San Antonio ADDY Awards event was held, so we decided to attend and find out what our rightful place on the podium would be. Our category was in the last group of awards presented. And then, out of nowhere, Parscale Media, delegation of 5, in a field of 53, took home the Gold.

    An Olympian: one who surpasses all others in scope and effect; majestic in manner, superior to mundane affairs.

    How about that.

    An interview with Brad Parscale, owner of Parscale Media, and Michael Hahn, owner of HCC Development, is currently featured in the Showcase section of the ExpressionEngine website. EE is the CMS (content management system) of choice at Parscale Media, due to its scalability and flexibility in development and empowering clients to manage their own websites.

    Leslie Camacho, the President of EllisLab, creators of EE, was gracious enough to grant me a mini interview on the expanse of their product and how they chose Parscale’s work.

    To give you an idea of how big a deal this is, Leslie shared that there are over 110,000 registered members at ExpressionEngine. What does this mean? It means there’s a lot of freakin’ people developing websites using their product and Parscale Media is pret-ty darn good at it.

    So how exactly did they choose a Parscale site to be showcased? According to Leslie, “We've wanted to showcase a well-done commerce focused site for a while. We had a lot of options to consider but when we saw the extent of Dury's Gun Shop we knew that was the one to go with. When you start thinking through the complexities of putting a Gun Shop online you begin to get an inkling of the task involved and its great seeing how EE was up to the challenge.”

    This speaks to the capability of the product but as for its effectiveness he says, “I think that really shows through in what can be accomplished with EE in the hands of a pro and Dury's Gun Shop is an excellent example of that.”

    For the third time in five months Parscale Media has been nationally recognized for various aspects of web development within the industry, twice for www.durysguns.com. The Dury’s website also won the first annual FoxEE “Best Site” competition, held by HCC Development in December.

    Not too shabby for a very humbled web marketing firm from San Antonio.

    Please see more of our work and visit our friends at:

    www.parscale.com/portfolio

    www.expressionengine.com

    www.durysguns.com

    www.hccdevelopment.com

    As people increasingly utilize Google to assist them in finding their next purchase, there is no better time than now to reach these individuals. This type of marketing was dubbed "Inbound Marketing", which means the consumer already knows what they need, and are in search of it specifically. The goal is to make sure you are in front of their eyes when they search for your product or service.

    A great example of this is our client Steak House Steak Knives. Parscale Media created a website for them that sells a niche product, engraved steak knives, which is a perfect gift. The owner and I came up with a game plan to attack SEO and SEM collectively. After both campaigns were completed, the outcome was extremely beneficial to say the least. Not only was the website in the #1 position but it was in the #1, #2 and #3. This allows Steak House Steak Knives to have the best chance of reaching the individuals searching for "engraved steak knives". This type of web marketing gives Steak House Steak Knives an extreme advantage over their competion and allows them to convert more online sales. I have attached an image with the results below.


    If you too would like to "Dominate Your Market" contact me to discuss a strategy that fits your needs.

  • • •
  • Lee McNiel is an online web marketing specialist and is a certified Google Adwords Professional. With several years of web marketing and development experience he is a regional leader in helping businesses grow on the Internet. With a degree in marketing and a complete understanding of Search Engine technology he is a vital resource for Parscale Media customers.

    Contact:
    Lee McNiel, Web Marketing Specialist
    Parscale Media
    Email Lee
    210-348-9522

    San Antonio-based Parscale Media won the first annual FoxEE “Best Site” contest, held by HCC Development in Chicago, IL. The winning website, www.durysguns.com, was selected by the HCC management team out of dozens of other entries. The website was chosen for its use of technology, user interface, ExpressionEngine integration, design, and ratings.

    Parscale Media specializes in website development using ExpressionEngine, one of the most advanced and user friendly content management systems available. HCC Development are the creators of the most robust and popular ecommerce module for ExpressionEngine, FoxEE. Combining the capability and technologies of both, Parscale Media has produced some of the most successful shopping websites currently on the internet.

    The winning website for San Antonio-based Dury’s Guns has experienced not only significant revenue increases, but is also consistently found in the number 1 spot, out of millions, on most gun related searches. This is due to optimized coding, providing constant relevant content, and overall functionality of the site.

    Parscale Media is a San Antonio-based web marketing firm specializing in custom web design, web marketing, branding and printing. www.parscale.com

    See more of Parscale's featured ecommerce sites at Foxycart http://www.foxycart.com/seo-ecommerce-inspiration.html#featured_191

    and HCC Development

    Judge Karen Crouch is seeking a 5th term as judge for Bexar County Court at Law # 8. She has set a precedent for what she does and wasn’t going to settle for just anyone to create her first website. Parscale Media was pleased to have been bestowed the opportunity.

    She seems to be on the forefront of most everything she does, and her campaigning efforts are no exception. She and campaign manager, husband Gerald Flores, have done an outstanding job in her previous races, but they decided to take this one to a different level, the online one.

    They told us they wanted something different, something to really grab people’s attention, something to motivate them to get involved. This was music to Parscale Media ears. There are three main components to the project: the website, social media marketing, and email marketing.

    The website is beautifully designed with very straightforward calls-to-action. The navigation leads the visitor directly to Get Acquainted, Get Informed, Get Involved. These messages are repeated throughout the site. There is an event gallery that displays photos of the many functions and events that surround Judge Crouch. There are options galore on the Get Involved page, which is presented in a one-of-a-kind AJAX form. You will also find multiple places to donate, and a place to sign up for all the latest updates.

    Another aspect of this campaign is social media marketing. Parscale Media created and is managing accounts for the Crouch campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Within one day of setting up the Facebook profile, over 300 people became friends. (Skeptics of social media please take note.)

    The last piece to complete the process was incorporating email marketing. The first email campaign was sent in conjunction to the launch of the website. The same design elements of the website were used to create a custom template for the email. It reiterated the messages found on the website as well as links to the social media outlets. The email was sent at 10 am and by 11am 200 people had opened it and clicked a link. (Who says email is done?)

    This is the epitome of a well thought out, well designed, and well executed web marketing project. Judge Crouch and her team knew they wanted something “different and kinda edgy”. Parscale Media was able to take their ideas, visualize them, and share the message with thousands of people within seconds. I rest my case.

    Parscale Media is a San Antonio-based web marketing firm specializing in custom website design, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and branding. Please visit the Judge Karen Crouch site atwww.judgekarencrouch.com and Parscale Media at www.parscale.com .

    Parscale Media is proud to launch a new website for Tour de Gruene, an annual cycling event in Gruene, TX, since 1984. Will Rotzler is the founder and director of the event, which surrounds Wurstfest, and consists of three events – recreational tours, single time trials, and two person time trials.

    Mission Pharmacal is a sponsor and integral part of this partnership. Rotzler commented, “Mission's research in web design has paid off with our event’s largest pre-registration to date. I believe this surge in growth is largely in part to the professional looking and functioning Tour de Gruene website created by Parscale Media.”

    The new site is a complete redesign. It is a fresh custom design that is functional and easily navigated. The home page features a transitioning banner ad, displaying photos and information on each of the events. You will also find video clips, an expansive photo gallery, time trial results, and how to get involved.

    It is a privilege for Parscale Media to participate in a community event that supports organizations such as the New Braunfels Chapter of the American Red Cross and Sally Kingsbury Knock Out Sarcoma Research Foundation, this year’s beneficiaries of proceeds.

    Check out some of the very avid followers Tour de Gruene has gained in 25 years, including a certain guy who’s quite fond of the color yellow. www.tourdegruene.com . To see other examples of how Parscale Media has made a difference, visit our portfolio at www.parscale.com.