Thursday, April 24, 2014

Megan S. Ott Foundation: Using online tools to tell a powerful story

Telling a powerful story online

The Megan S. Ott Foundation has a powerful story behind its mission of providing immediate, custom assistance to families who are fighting breast cancer in the Indianapolis Metro community. To continue their great work, they need that story to be shared and donations to be raised. TBH Creative has been happy to help with in-kind web design and marketing services since 2010.

Our latest work with the Foundation has been focused on helping them communicate with prospective donors, volunteers and grant recipients in new and exciting ways. TBH Creative recently stepped in to update their website with a responsive design to make sure it is presented clearly and with a strong identity whether viewed on a desktop, tablet or mobile device.


We also took this opportunity to enhance the content with video storytelling that allows them to tell their story in a more compelling fashion. Video is a content tool that more and more companies are starting to use.  It is a great way to quickly and powerfully impact your viewers. It can make them want to read more information on your site. And, as in the case of the Megan S. Ott Foundation, video content can do a better job calling for action. "Creating one longer, storytelling video or a series of short, key point videos lets our clients really make an impact," notes Tatum Hindman. "Videos work hand-in-hand with good copy and strong calls to action to make a website work even better for many of our clients. We partner with an excellent video production company to help make the process seamless and easy for our clients." Because the stories are so compelling, we chose to go with a longer video format that shows strong emotions, and early site measurements show that it's working - more people are staying on the site longer than ever before.



The Foundation also requested a shorter Public Service Announcement video. We created a simple visual message to promote donations and raise awareness. The PSA was aired on WISH and WNDY 82 times over a period of 2 weeks. There was an increase in website unique and new visitors during that time period and continued increase in site traffic in the following month after the ad aired. Direct donations were collected from the TV viewership and the commercial raised awareness for the Foundation.


The Foundation will run the PSA again in October for breast cancer awareness month.

Online marketing efforts with the Megan S. Ott Foundation

The goals for the Foundation website are to tell Megan's story and convince people to donate their time or funds. Using website analytics we are closely monitoring how audiences are engaging with the website and making adjustments as needed. The results are a testament to how relatively small enhancements to a website can make a big difference.

Online donations are on the rise.
A common issue for the not-for-profit website is using strong calls to action and easy donation options. The Megan S. Ott Foundation seeks donations to aid their efforts supporting families who are fighting a day-by-day battle against breast cancer. The online donation form is easy to use, works well on any device and is fully integrated throughout the website.

Attracting more people and engaging more action.
The videos we helped the Foundation create add a compelling "ask" for donations. This new video outreach has quickly made an impact on their website statistics. They are attracting 47% more visitors than before. And those visitors are reading more pages of the site - with the addition of video content and the ability to easily read the website on any device, we've seen that visitors are staying on the site 34% longer than they were the year before.

Strong branding is a communication tool.
From the very beginning, TBH Creative has worked with the Megan S. Ott Foundation to create a strong brand identity that will last and clearly communicate the important, valuable work they do. TBH Creative established their logo, supporting collateral and website. Learn more about how TBH Creative helped them establish their brand in 2010.

Testimonial

The Megan S. Ott Foundation is fortunate to have found TBH Creative.  With the knowledge, guidance, and support from TBH Creative team we have been able to build our on-line presence. Not only do they host our website, but they give thought, detail, and input into our content and everything that goes into our website making sure we get the maximum exposure.  The team could not be easier to work with and they seem to always want to help in any way possible which is hard to find.  We are honored to work with TBH Creative and look forward to working with them for years to come.

Nicole Carnahan
Megan S. Ott Foundation


About Megan S. Ott Foundation

The Megan S. Ott Foundation is the legacy of Megan Snyder Ott. Megan envisioned an organization that would provide financial support and "sunshine" to families fighting the battle of breast cancer. Learn how you can help at www.megansottfoundation.org.

TBH Creative is web design company located in Carmel, Indiana. We help our clients tell their story with strategic websites, compelling content and robust web development. Learn more about our website design services.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Five signs it's time for a site redesign

Think of your website as the lobby of your office. How are things looking in there? A little dusty? Are the magazines all out of date? Is your receptionist cheerful and capable? If you've been ignoring your website content and design, it's just as bad as asking your customers to walk into a dingy, dirty lobby for a meeting. How do you know it's time for a website redesign? Here are five questions to ask yourself:

1. Is your website responsive? Is it easy to read and fully functional on tablets, mobile & desktop? If you don't know, now is the time to pull it up on a variety of devices and test it out. If your website doesn't work well across platforms, it's time for an upgrade.

 

2. Has it been more than three years since the last update? There's nothing worse than pulling up a website that is using obsolete technology or outdated design ideas. It screams "no one is paying attention" and that's certainly not an impression you want to give your clients and prospects. Even if you love your design, if it's been three years - it's time to freshen it up.

3. Is your message clear with strong calls to action? Have you looked at traffic reports lately to see what pages your users are reading and how much time they are spending on them? One of the strengths of a website is the ability to easily and cost effectively shift your message and call to action to address today's needs and focus. It can be all too easy to forget the big picture when you're adding a page of content here and there. Spend some time really reading your website. If it isn't directing people clearly, it's time for revisions.



4. Have you introduced new products or services? Have you shifted focus to a different revenue stream? Your website needs to keep up with your sales activity. A good benchmark here is to ask your sales staff how often they refer people to the website for more information. If they're not then it's time to step back and redesign the website to meet your goals and support your sales team.

5. Does it just feel old? Does it use Flash? Does it look like someone wearing bell bottom pants? Things change on the Internet quickly. What was trendy last year, is often old news today. Take a look at your competitor's websites, review industry websites and make some comparisons to your own. You want to make sure that your website portrays your company's image accurately but also in a way that feels up-to-date and well-maintained. If your site doesn't stand up to the competition, it's definitely time for a redesign.

Image credit: Derek Davalos, shared via CC by 2.0

Want to know more about current design trends? Check out our article outlining key web design trends for 2014

And one bonus question... are you embarrassed to tell people to go to your website? This happens more often than you might think. It's an all too common problem: invest time, money and energy in a website and then realize a few years later than no one is paying attention to it and it doesn't portray your company well at all. If you're not excited to have people look at your website then it's time for a redesign.

If this article has convinced you that it's time to upgrade your website, talk to TBH Creative. Whether you want to add a few new tools to make your website more useful or are looking at rebuilding from the ground up, we can help you strategically review your website's performance and make smart recommendations for a redesign. Our services range from application development to mobile solutions and from website design to analytic reporting. Learn more about what we do best and then contact us to do the best for you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Art to Remember: A case study for custom web design work

Helping a creative business distinguish itself with custom illustrations and website strategy

The challenge 

The Art to Remember team had worked with a number of other groups for design assistance when they came to TBH Creative with a multifaceted challenge: to take design elements that were started by another firm and use them as a springboard for a brochure website design, custom illustrations and a new logo.

TBH meets the challenge

Our team came together to create more than just personalized graphics. We developed a site structure, crafted audience personas, wrote content and created an initial SEO plan to take Art to Remember to the next level.
  • Audience Personas: One of the first steps of our website strategy service is to help our client better define their audience. We were able to help Art to Remember learn more about the issues that are of key importance to their audience as well as what their customers want and need from an education fundraiser. Learn more about the importance of Audience Personas
  • Key Differentiators: As with most companies, Art to Remember needed to make sure they stand out when compared to the competition. Our strategic planning process helped them clearly define the things that make them different in the market. We then used those unique points as the foundation for our content and brand identity work. 
  • Site Structure: As with many of our customers, Art to Remember had an existing website when they came to TBH Creative. However, this site no longer met their needs. It was outdated and didn’t properly communicate their services. We developed a completely new site structure and organization to best present their key differences and products.
  • Custom Graphic Work: Art to Remember brought a unique challenge for our design team. They had a logo that they liked but one that needed updating. They had worked with a number of other groups to design their logo with no success--never approving or implementing any of the presented options. Through our strategic design process, we were able to interpret their needs and successfully develop a new logo that retains their brand while bring them a fresh new look.
  • We then extended our design work to create truly custom illustrations that Art to Remember uses on their website and printed materials.  
Tatum Hindman notes, “This project was a really fun challenge for our design team. We loved the chance to do some personalized design work and create unique icons and illustrations for Art to Remember.”


  • Branding: Art to Remember wanted to make sure they were getting the best use from their new logo and illustrations. TBH Creative developed a brand guide for fonts, logo and color usage across all mediums. We also created related materials for them to use in ongoing sales and marketing efforts including a Powerpoint template and social media cover art and avatar. 

    The result 

    Our strategy sessions allowed us to do more than just update the Art to Remember site. They made sure we created a site that Art to Remember can use both today and tomorrow. New site organization, content strongly focused on features and benefits, and custom graphic illustrations have all come together to give Art to Remember a website with modern visual appeal and a presentation to stand out from competitors.

    What’s next

    As part of this project, TBH Creative drafted an initial Search Engine Optimization (SEO) review and plan. We used the findings of that research in our content development and plan to work together on future SEO enhancements as needs arise.

    Bill Boncosky, PresidentTBH was timely - they diligently managed their timeline and stuck to commitments. They were thoughtful and accepted feedback professionally and not defensively. They demonstrated their expertise in SEO considerations in creating the website.

    About Art to Remember

    Art to Remember supports schools and art education with creative and easy fundraising programs.
    Learn more about Art to Remember.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

    Smart website management

    You've launched your website, now what?

    A lot of work goes into launching a new or updated website. Oftentimes, teams are pulled together to plan site organization, develop content and review designs. Then once the site goes live, those team members go back to their regular responsibilities and the website is left to fend for itself.

    A website will never be successful if you launch it and ignore it.

    A successful website launch is just one step in an online marketing plan. That online marketing plan should consider the following activities
    • Ongoing reporting and monitoring of site traffic and other benchmarks
    • Email marketing
    • Social media
    • Search engine optimization
    • Special content features
    • Blog articles
    The successful online marketing plan then considers those activities in a strategic framework. Dave Amsler, Vice-President of Kermans Flooring, regularly meets with TBH Creative to evaluate both online marketing activities and the strategy around them. "Having someone constantly reviewing and staying up with the ever-changing technologies online has been important to our success. We especially appreciate the impact of social media management and fresh content with regular blogging." notes Amsler. Kermans and other websites know that an online marketing strategy should continually assess, measure and evaluate activities.


      Online marketing strategy should also include plans to regularly update your website content. Build on the basic idea of making sure all information is current and accurate and look for ways to keep your content fresh and interesting. Regularly updated content attracts your audience to turn to your website as a reliable resource. Beyond that, regularly updated content also tells search engines you’re serious about your business and a worthwhile resource to list high on search results. Learn more about making content the king of your website in our article on Proactive Website Maintenance.

      More about the value of content marketing

      Dendrite Park Content Marketing
      Courtesy of: Dendrite Park

      Content marketing doesn't mean you are using your online marketing channels to hard sell your prospective customers. Simply put, content marketing creates content on an ongoing basis that is interesting, attracting and engaging. This could mean regularly updating a news section of your home page and developing an email newsletter. It might include a plan that focuses your social media activity on a certain theme or topic. Content marketing is driven by that online marketing strategic plan and delivers useful information to your audience.

      Learn more about smart content management from the Content Marketing Institute.

       

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