How Facebooks Rebrand will Change the Way You Work

When the largest social media platform to date does a rebranding, it’s going to have a lasting effect on a lot of things, and your business isn’t excluded. Meta, previously known as Facebook, is going to be the beginning of an all-new way we use our virtual devices for work and social. For this discussion, we’ll be focusing on how businesses could be affected as the company aims to make work easier from a virtual standpoint.

Working in the Future

When watching the keynote, CEO Mark Zuckerberg starts discussing working in Meta around the 26-minute mark. Within it, he discusses how users can feel as if they’re in the office right at home. They can have meetings, collaborations, and much more from the comfort of their home OR office. Work within the metaverse, in theory, will give every employee a physical space to share, which for hybrid or long-distance employees, could benefit and even positively impact the quality of work they do. What’s even more beneficial, is that the metaverse would be accessible from anywhere, not just your home or office.

And, we’re not going to lie, it looks pretty cool. 

Similar to what Apple released with their new OS updates, focus modes will be available, and workers will even have the ability to present presentations in their “office” right at their fingertips. But what’s made people even more excited, is the integration of progressive 2D web apps into the metaverse. This means right before your eyes, you’ll be able to access programs like Dropbox and Slack for an even smoother workflow, and even more Meta apps like Facebook and Instagram. 

The idea for this whole shift is to give everyone the opportunity and tools to do the best job possible. This is good timing considering hybrid positions have become more popular after lockdowns, which effectively gave everyone in the world evidence that you don’t have to be in the office to work.

Some Issues

The idea of this Metaverse holds so many possibilities but seems to be starting out on a more exclusive accessibility level, which is contradictory to what even the CEO says himself. To access this world Zuckerburg is aiming to create, employers and employees alike need the hardware. Yet again another large cost for companies to take the brunt of if they’re willing to spend it, to begin with. For Augmented Reality interactions, people are expected to chip out $300 for a pair of Raybans with a camera and speaker. Meanwhile, the Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014, is between $300-$400 depending on the storage space, and that’s with Quest 2, which is also needed for this Metaverse goal. 

Now more than likely, that’s going to be a burden on the business, and how many are willing to spend that much for each employee, or even some? Even so, are there additional costs to getting applications within Quest? We know there is for the gaming side of things, but what about those super handy 2D progressive apps mentioned above?

Obviously, the main major issue with this, and with Zuckerberg’s own words, is that it doesn’t seem as inclusive of a platform as he’s wanting it to be, just because that hardware itself isn’t something people buy without budgeting for, but maybe they’ll fix that problem at some point. 

Either way, the Metaverse has the potential to improve work-life and work quality, but only for those who can access the hardware and equipment to begin work in the metaverse. 

Advantages of Video Marketing

Have you ever thought about how long we look at screens every day? Even just our phones, computers, and smartwatches? Would it surprise you if I said that even before the lockdowns, Americans spend the equivalent of 44 years looking at these devices?

So, then it’s no surprise that games, streaming, social media, and more have kept us entertained and tuned in, but for marketers, this is one of the more influential and useful channels.

The use of video marketing in your strategy doesn’t only elevate your business to the next level but also has become essential to a brand if they want to succeed. Just this year alone, 93% of industry individuals said yes to it being an important part of their strategy. Moreover, 87% had a positive ROI from their videos.

Best Practices

A few things to keep in mind when gearing up to create this type of content. The most important thing is to make sure you have a defined goal set. When you understand what you want to do, and how you want to say it, customers have an easier time understanding. Besides that, remember to offer value in the video and show it fast since you have 8 seconds on average to convince people to continue watching. Lastly, make sure the video works on multiple devices. It needs to be available for mobile, desktop, tablet, etc., to make sure you’re reaching your maximum potential audience.

Two more additional tips: make sure the message isn’t too scripted to where it’s noticeable by the viewer and, if possible, to include user-generated content into your video promotions. This not only helps you have a unique content mix but also shows consumers you are seeing what they are posting, and are actively engaging with them.

Where to Watch

When looking for platforms for video marketing, we turn over to social media. As written previously, Tiktok reigns supreme when it comes to being the most downloaded app. The runner-ups include Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube for the ones with heavy potential for video marketing. Nearly 100 million hours of videos alone are engaged with on Facebook every day, compared to over 1 billion on Youtube, which gives an idea of just how powerful these platforms can be.

 Payable is an Option

All of these platforms have the option to pay for ads on the users’ feeds, including video, so let’s talk a little bit about your options:

  • Facebook’s advertising platform is for both Facebook and Instagram in multiple forms while providing tools to build brand awareness, understand what goal is the right goal for you, and provide creative inspiration. Also provided are video guidelines for both Facebook and Instagram. These have information such as file type, caption options, character limits, and can even get a side-by-side comparison with how it’s going to look for consumers!
  • Snapchat lets you create video ads from photos, carousel posts, story ads, augmented reality experiences, and even branded filters. When giving marketers multiple avenues to explore, advertisements have the creative freedom to mold into the shape the strategy needs to reach audiences and return positive results. This might be a particularly advantageous platform considering they added 13 million more users last quarter!
  • Youtube offers an assortment of different ad placements, such as video discover ads that show up at the top of search results. Another is TrueView in-stream ads, which are the ones that show up before a selected video plays and is skippable. The Non-skippable in-stream ads are the ones that pop up in the middle of whatever the user is watching. Additionally, there are bumpets, that are small 6-second videos users can’t skip. Suffice to say, here in particular you have and options for videos.

Content for Platforms

Videos for marketing attempts can contain whatever creative aspect your business wants to have: music, voice-overs, graphics, b-roll, etc. Content-wise, you have options of being on location, in-studio, animated, and whatnot. As long as the content is a match to the strategy and brand, you can be as creative and strategic as you want. 

The best thing about multiple platforms is that you have the choice of which channel best benefits you and your strategy, and if more than one fits, you can either repurpose the same video or do different versions with the same content, making each unique for the users and followers on those platforms.

Anyone can do it

From large corporations to small mom-and-pop shops, video marketing is advantageous for all business sizes and all industries! Video offers a huge playground for marketers to experiment with, and James Ross will help with each idea you have. With 30+ years of experience, we’ve worked on commercials, social campaigns, brand anthems, and more! Contact us here, or email us at hello@jamesrossadvertising.com and get started on your video marketing today!!

Branding Trends to look for in 2022

Branding Matters

Branding is all about connecting. As we know, connecting and design aesthetics have become a major eye-catcher thanks to social media platforms. However, it’s never been just social media that matters as companies have been, and are continuing to, add more emphasis to their online presence. To accomplish this, companies are relying on their branding because of its ability to boost reputation and recognition through a unique story that stands out amongst their competitors. Even the best well-known brands today would not be as successful without good branding. 


To learn and understand just how much branding matters, read a previous post here!

2022 Branding Trends

The past year and a half exposed our reliance on virtual connections, making businesses and customers realize the importance of an online presence. This meant most people and companies had to quickly adapt from face-to-face to behind-the-screen interactions, creating an expansion in the online market with new trends constantly popping up every year. A couple of trends carried over like minimalism, neutral colors, and natural designs, but a whole new level of creative trends will be seen in 2022.

Here are 5 trends to keep an eye on:

1. Brand Activism 

This trend isn’t just a trend anymore, considering more and more customers today demand some sort of stance on today’s issues. Here, your company should convey what it stands for socially and/or environmentally, and even give benefits or donate to charities, non-profits, and other platforms. Being active for social issues is a crucial factor many are expecting from companies considering generation Z is the most motivated in giving back to communities and being environmentally conscious. If your company is aiming to target this younger generation with your products and services, you will need to include this somewhere in your strategic planning.


Lush does a great example of brand activism with their products that aim to better the environment

via Lush

2. Brand Inclusivity

Today, inclusiveness within a brand is just as important as activism. People want to see companies include and promote diversity across the map in their campaigns for the long run. Customers are searching for businesses that are including this component within their marketing strategy, and are pushing away from businesses that don’t. Inclusivity is not exclusive to only different sized models but can be applied to race, gender, sexuality, and more, but also different products and price points as well.

Gap is a great example of including many different body types and ethnicities in their marketing campaigns:

via Gap
Via Gap

3. Nostalgia

There’s no secret the 1990’s and the early 2000’s fashion has made a comeback today, but it has also started to integrate its way into the online business world. The use of nostalgia in branding has been used by multiple different types of companies, and through the use of it, people are brought back to their memories. Creating a connection to people’s feelings and reminding them of their childhood joys isn’t just a trend that will carry over but is a way for your brand to connect on an emotional level with your consumers as well!

4. Authenticity

As technology and the internet continue to grow, the utilization of authenticity integrated within a company has become important. It brings a sense of originality and trustworthiness, something that every company needs to build a loyal consumer basis. So much so, that in a 2019 study, 90% of consumers stated authenticity was important when choosing brands to support, that being up 3% from 2018.

One aspect of this is for brands to use UGC, or User-Generated Content, on their social media pages. As stated by the same study as above, 58% of global consumers see it as the most authentic form of content. It’s recommended to move away from the content that takes all day to make, and instead listen and show off your consumers on your platform to make them feel important.

 5. Consumer Interaction is key

Interactive marketing is where your brand’s advertising and website become a bit more dynamic and, obviously by the name, interactive with your customers. This tool helps businesses engage with consumers in a new and more memorable way. The best thing about this tool is that any business – no matter the size – can benefit from it. It’s all about inviting responses, driven by the customer, and creating a two-way dialogue between company and consumer. In doing so, it opens up the ability for the customer to grow alongside the brand. The benefits of being interactive include honest feedback from customers and insight on what audiences want, as well as help with product decisions, expansions, manufacturing, and marketing.

How Branding Agencies Can Help

Making changes to your company website can feel like an overwhelming task when you don’t know where to start. However, the right branding agency can make the branding process easier with help from professionals. With 30+ years of experience, James Ross Advertising can provide you with a unique branding strategy filled with all the services a modern brand might need. Our team of creators, designers, writers, directors, and strategists will give you renewed confidence in 2022. Contact us here to get started on your well-deserved branding experience!

Your Success is Customers Experience – How Experiential Marketing can Elevate your Brand

Businesses should want to get to know their customers through face-to-face interactions and give them a sense of acceptance, importance, and belonging. These interactions solidify customer loyalty and overall increase sales, revenue, and brand awareness, and what better way to do this than by adding Experiential Marketing to your strategy!

While the name might imply something out of place for a marketing strategy, but it has other names like “event marketing”, or “special events”. It’s a way to create an interactive and innovative environment to engage directly with your loyal customers while positively benefitting your company.

What are the benefits?

We already know promotional events for businesses have their benefits, but what experiential marketing does is keep your company at the forefront of the consumers’ minds. You want the consumer to “experience” the brand  (hence the name!) and convert them to faithful, loyal customers, all while never forgetting that interaction. And this is a major task considering we interact with thousands of companies and products on a daily basis.

The best part? Experiential marketing is for both Business-to-Business AND Business-to-Consumer with no business being too big or too small to have an experiential marketing effort added into their strategy!

What can Experiential Marketing look like today?

An experiential marketing strategy includes adding events such as activities at trade shows, retreats, kiosks, pop-up stores, and more into your promoting efforts. Creating a branded environment for interactions is extremely beneficial to any company in any industry, but as we know things have changed in the past few years as most events since 2020 are going either fully online or a hybrid of in-person/online. 


To show an in-person experience is, Epic Games had a location for their game Fortnite at the 2018 E3 convention. In the massive space, they included virtual interactions with characters, life-size in-game scenery, like a 38-foot battle bus, which gave fans and customers an immersive and unforgettable experience that they could connect to. Fans having the ability to be inside of the game is what experiential marketing is about; the experience of the product

E-3 convention of Epic Game's Fortnite in 2018. Fake green grass, decorated booths, the battle bus, and more from inside the game's universe
via https://freddiegeorges.com/work/fortnite-e3-2018/

Pandemic Aftermath

As for the virtual shift in experiential marketing, where it became planning and holding events in a virtual environment rather than a physical one, it’s become somewhat of a norm. For instance, Tomorrowland Around the World is Belgium’s electronic dance music festival and went virtual this past July, and took advantage of the new platform to deliver “never-before-seen musical experience[s]” for their loyal viewers, which you can catch a glimpse of on their youtube channel here.

But, not being restricted to a single location and instead being able to be viewed anywhere online is one of the major advantages virtual events have to offer. People who never had the chance to attend beforehand now have the ability to experience new things. Musicians, museums, conventions, networking events, and more are all reaching a newer, international audience.

Will it work for you?

Every industry in some way can benefit from experiential marketing, whether it’s tourism/travel, sports, fine arts, food and beverage, and everything in between. In an out-of-the-box way, you can get people to have an experience with the brand and end the day with your company in their head.


At James Ross, we have 30+ years on the job working on brand development, including innovative experiential marketing strategy formation and implementation! Contact us here, or reach out any time at hello@jamesrossadvertising.com and get started on an unforgettable experience for your customers!

Evolving E-commerce with Tiktok

By now advertising on social media is as common as ever. We’re bombarded with advertisements as we scroll through our feeds, so much so, that Forbes reported that we see between 4k-10k each day! Now, Tiktok reigns as the number 1 most downloaded app, knocking off Facebook-owned apps, and the first to reach 380+ million first-time installs. With that said, let’s talk about the advertising benefits of the platform.


This is the new wild west for marketers. The app, back in May according to Bloomberg, started pushing e-commerce through the platform. TikTok’s Chinese-only cousin, Douyin, amassed up to $26 billion through e-commerce in its first year, so it made sense for Tiktok to expand this section of their app, and not just for competition but also revenue. They did just that, with their recent partnership with Shopify.

How it works

Firstly, this is for Shopify merchants with a Tiktok For Business account, which you can find here in the Shopify app store. With a free download, you can install 1-click pixel installations for performance tracking, promote products with campaigns, target a massive audience, and more! You can run campaigns while setting a budget, and all ad spend is billed to the TikTok ad account.

  • Your consumers can find the Shop page for your brand on your profile. Below is a screenshot we’ve taken from one of the major brands that are testing this option. From your profile page, users have a small shopping bag option to tap on.
Kylie Cosmetics Tiktok Profile
  • From within the Tiktok app, consumers can scroll through available products. If they select one they’d like to purchase, they can tap the “Checkout on Website” button on the product page, and be taken straight to your website through Tiktok, where they can checkout!

Ecommerce in videos

The platform did something that’s not that different from IG Shoppable Post. In your business account’s TikTok videos, you can add a shoppable tag for the product, which then takes you to the product page on the platform. While you can post videos on Instagram feeds and reels, Tiktok got the product up and in front of the consumer first, and allows businesses to link it right there, with no additional effort to the consumer. They’ve perfected seamless shopping with virtually no interference on social media. 

Kylie Cosmetics Tiktok Product Tag

Select availability

The Shopping pilot, for right now, is only available to Shopify merchants within the US and UK. However, over the next few months, they’ll be rolling out to other countries and regions. If you’re a Shopify merchant, you can request early access to the pilot via Shopify’s TikTok channel.

Additional Services

Just as with any other platform, Tiktok offers ad services as well. Instead of basic ads though, the app has a few different options for what type of ads you want to do for your company. The most noticeable ones though are what they call “Brand Takeovers” and the In-feed ads. 

Brand Takeovers

Right when you open the app up, for an entire day, you’ll see the same advertisement a few times as your first video. This can give your brand major exposure but will come at a hefty price for the day, depending on if it’s a holiday or not. 

In-feed ads

In-feed ads are the basic format for ads on the platform. They’re the auto-playing videos people will swipe through on their “For you” page (also known as FYP). These are the small ads, aiming for engagements, such as likes, comments, or follows. Users can even “stitch” with your ad, which is like reposting a video on their account if the ad entices users to engage that way.  

At James Ross, we have 30+ years of experience in following through with creative solutions for clients. We’ve worked on multiple social media platforms with organic and paid advertising, so make sure to contact or email us here to get started about your e-commerce strategy, on more than just Tiktok!

Two New Reasons Email Marketing Is Critical for 2021

Whether business or personal, 99% of email users click into their inbox every day.  Email has always been a strong tool, but this year it’s more important than ever. Why?

  1. Less targeting in digital media. Apple has been rolling out IOS 15 which gives users privacy options that ultimately reduce the number of targeting options for your company’s customer acquisition and retention campaigns.  For the details, here is a great article from Forbes. If targeting is more difficult or unavailable, then ROAS (return on ad spend) drops. Instead of having ROAS of 5, your campaigns may drop to 2 or lower. 
  2. Higher digital marketing costs. Digital ad spend, according to eMarketer, is estimated to grow at least 18% this year. To ensure your marketing budget can meet your sales goals, you will need to find less expensive, but effective approaches. 

These two reasons mean it’s critical to be smart email marketers. The following tactics can help your team this year.

Capture as many Emails as possible, as early as possible

Consider an offer on your home page, such as a discount in return for an email address. You’ll capture far more emails this way, instead of waiting until checkout. You can also capture emails by offering downloadable content, contest entries, exclusive offers, and more.

Improve your Email effectiveness

The first step is A/B testing. That’s the process of taking your current best email (A) and testing a new version (B) with a segment of your customers. It’s important to test only one thing at a time in each segment, such as a new subject line, new offer, design, or other content. Don’t test all those things at once in the same segment, but if your file is large enough, you can run several segment tests at once. Savvy companies run A/B tests all the time, and seek new ideas from numerous people inside the company, not just the email team.

Ensure you use Email for Retargeting

Retargeting emails go to visitors who abandoned browsing your website or left a cart instead of checking out. A retargeting email the next day reminds consumers they were interested in your company. You can test sending a richer offer to a segment of the cart abandonment group, to see if some return and buy.

Be aware though, it’s possible to overdo retargeting, so have a weekly cap for the number of retargeting emails.

Good Email improves SEO 

Smart marketers have a strategy for which site content and keywords they want to rank highly for in SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Interesting topics in email, that feature these keywords, can result in click-throughs to your site, with the hope of visitors sharing your article or content. This sharing and traffic will alert Google of your audiences’ engagement, which can improve your rankings. 

Make sure your Email design is “Responsive” for Mobile

Responsive is the term for the design that works well on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone. If your email design is not optimized for mobile viewing you could be frustrating customers and losing sales. As mentioned earlier in this article, 99% of users open their emails every day. It’s also a mobile world with 59% of Millennials and 67% of Gen Z using their phones to check their inbox.

Measure your performance

How are you doing this year compared to last? Email performance statistics vary significantly by industry, such as government emails having a stronger open rate than gaming emails. Here you can see what the click-through rate is by Industry, as well as open-rate, bounces, and unsubscribe rates. Plus each of your email campaigns can vary as well, by day of the week, time of day, topic and subject line. So it’s vital to monitor your email performances over time as well as compare them to your specific industry.

What’s your next step to Email excellence?

Consider sending an email to the team at James Ross Advertising today. We have 30+ years of experience not only in design and copy, but also skilled at the technology for email platforms, testing, segmenting, and analytics. Make sure you reach out to get started with us on improving your business.

Is Your Brand in the Right Relationship?

Sometimes you must take a hard look at your organization’s brand. What do your customers, prospects, business partners, and employees say and feel about your brand? Is the relationship rocky? Does your brand still fulfill its promise?  This article will cover some reasons your brand may not have a great relationship with stakeholders, and some of the best fixes.

Professional or Dated Image?

One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is not having a professional logo and brand guidelines, or periodically updating them.  Digital advances, such as the growth of mobile and apps, meaning you may need a tech update so your logo, fonts, and colors display properly.  Or you may need to change fonts and colors so your organization looks current.  Believe it or not, some fonts are associated with a certain decade. Is your logo stuck in the ’90s?  The best approach is to engage a professional advertising agency to help with a new or updated logo, brand guidelines, and brand positioning. Prospective customers and partners are evaluating your organization based on your brand image.  You may not be attracting the right prospects. Or you may not have good sales conversion if your “image” is not consistent with your product or offer.

Happy or Disappointing User Experience?

Customers, prospects, partners, and employees expect a smooth, flawless experience whether they interact with your organization’s site, call center, stores, or sales professionals.  They are judging you against the excellent experiences of an Apple or Amazon.  Every organization needs to periodically evaluate UI/UX.  UI is the user interface and refers to the aesthetic elements by which a user interacts with the product.  UX refers to the experience one has with a product or service. You may be creating a sour relationship with customers and prospects if your site does not load quickly or if the purchase experience is difficult and error-prone.  Many customers are just looking for a new supplier relationship to replace one that is too much effort.  Your employees are also affected by challenges in this area.  A customer complaint due to a bad or broken process will hurt employee morale and retention.

The fix is to map your current processes and find ways to improve. Many advertising agencies offer UI/UX services. Or you may engage UI/UX specialists.  Results can be very quick and can include sales and satisfaction increases.

Also, brainstorm about what else you can do to improve your relationship with customers. Gather suggestions from your employees on how to go the extra mile to convert a prospect. It might be tangible things like free samples, interesting in-store displays, or extra loyalty points. Or it might be intangible, such as the simple act of an employee saying a warm hello to customers as they walk through the door. 

Employee Embrace or Not?

A recent article in Forbes, explains how everyone in an organization builds or breaks the brand promise.  How do you ensure your brand is perceived positively by stakeholders? It is very important to have a clear brand image and to communicate it to everyone, especially employees. Your organization should hold monthly meetings that include a branding component and your team leaders should stress the importance of the brand and proper usage.

Consistent or Clunky?

Consistency is key to brand recall.  When we think of great brands, companies like Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola pop into our heads. Their brand marks are recognizable. You see the Nike swoosh and you know it’s Nike. Or you see clean packaging and the apple graphic, and you know it’s Apple. 

One way these companies have elevated brand image is the consistent usage of brand marks, logos, and strong guidelines that cover almost all impressions and interactions.  When you see advertisements, packaging, websites, and in-store designs, everything coordinates and communicates the same thing. Think about the last time you entered an Apple store and saw clean, futuristic styling. Every display and table is designed for clear communication and ease of use. 

Finally, First Impressions Really Matter

We all wish it wasn’t so…but someone forms an impression in seconds about your brand, team, or organization. Whether he or she encounters an employee or your eCommerce website, prospects will quickly decide whether it’s worth the time to develop a relationship.  The first impression may be how store employees act or how easy it is to make a purchase from your website. These first steps drive what potential customers think about your brand. The key recommendation here is to take special care to identify the most common first interaction and ensure it’s perfect.

The Right Agency Relationship Can Help

At James Ross, we’ve spent more than 30 years working on brand image and development in a range of industries from apparel to health to non-profits. It’s important to engage professionals who will learn about your organization. James Ross Advertising’s team of strategists, designers, writers, and directors will help develop or support your vision for your brand.  The right agency relationship can help your brand appeal to the right prospects, and begin a long, profitable customer relationship.  We invite you to give us a call or email us here to get started on your brand development journey.

How to Counter the Drastic Increases in Digital Marketing Costs

The major digital media players are charging more for ads, which even AdAge said in an April 2021 article. Plus your organization’s ads now appear in a more cluttered environment. The creative and messaging must be more powerful and targeted in order to get the same results as in the past. This article provides strategies to help you counter the price increases and keep your customer acquisition and retention programs performing.

The key steps in the strategy:

  1. Compare performance in customer acquisition channels and “rebalance”
  2. Improve customer retention channels and cross-sell with new approaches
  3. Evaluate your creative and segment more

These steps may seem daunting, but there are some quick insights and wins. Let’s break it down and share those steps.

Customer Acquisition Performance

Most organizations spend the majority of the marketing budget to gain new customers. The channels used to acquire new customers vary depending on your target audience, product, or service. Customer acquisition channels include social media, paid media, influencer marketing, search engine optimization, and more. The big difference in channels is that some are explicitly paid for, such as pay-per-click or paid social. Other channels require investment in content, such as organic social, or time spent improving search engine optimization. It’s time to carefully consider the resources committed to each type of customer acquisition and most likely rebalance.

  1. CUT – Carefully analyze the CPA (cost per acquisition) from paid media and paid social channels. Cut programs that are not performing.
  2. INVEST – Spend more time and funds on organic, including SEO and organic social.  Search engine optimization can drive more customers to your site, and keep doing so for months after you’ve made the investment.

Improve Customer Retention

Once you’ve gotten the first purchase, the next step is keeping customers, also known as Customer Retention. One statistic on retention says it costs 10 times as much to acquire a customer vs retaining one. (can you find a link?) In addition, it’s important to not only get repeat purchases in the same category but to cross-sell and introduce customers to new products and services.

The most common customer retention channels include email, social and now SMS (text). If you aren’t using SMS by inviting customers to sign up when they visit your site for both SMS and email, you may be missing one of the biggest trends in marketing right now.  Also, take a look at your email. Are you segmenting? Providing relevant offers to individuals, or just discounting?  You may need to change to a different email system that supports more segmentation.  Costs are dropping for email platforms and capabilities are increasing. Struggling with content for your email? Consider a newsletter or an industry news summary if you don’t have enough content of your own. 

To help you analyze your retention marketing performance, create a content calendar and note the metrics such as opens (emails), clickthroughs, and other forms of engagement.  Examine what content worked best.  The simple process of creating and maintaining the calendar will uncover where improvements can be made.

Evaluate the Creative and Segments

Once you have the metrics from your acquisition and retention campaigns, it’s time to really examine the creative from both.  Is your creative unique and “on brand” for your product or service? Or is your creative too similar to competitors? Is it using the same stock photography again and again?  Are you showing images to the right segments? Are you showing cat owners pictures of dogs? 

One way to improve creative is to do A/B testing. This is the process of splitting the list or audience to compare the performance of existing creative (A – control) to new creative (B – test).  The tests can be created for acquisition and retention marketing programs.

Ready to Redesign Your Programs to Counter Rising Costs?

With 30+ years of experience, James Ross has helped many clients adapt to the changing world of digital marketing. We help clients in all industries leverage digital to acquire and retain clients cost-effectively. Read our latest blog here, and contact us to get started on delivering strong ROI in a challenging environment!

Facebook Paid Ads…3 Keys to Better Performance

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform on the planet with more than 2.8 billion monthly users, Most marketers think of Facebook as a way to build awareness or just to target consumers. However, Facebook is highly measurable and can perform well for b2b marketers too.  The key to good performance for both b2c and b2b marketers is to effectively use Facebook’s tools and technology.  In this blog, we’ll highlight three key techniques.

  1. Frequency – Tag your site with Facebook pixels and target those same visitors when they come to Facebook.
  2. Segmentation – Use Facebook Audiences to find “lookalikes” for your customer base.
  3. Optimization – Identify relevant metrics for your organization. Watch each campaign’s metrics.  Cut the poor-performing programs and invest in strong campaigns.

You don’t need a massive budget to get started and Facebook advertising tools are easy to use. So let’s dive a little deeper into these three key steps to managing a Facebook paid program.

Increase the Frequency That Your Current Prospects See Your Message

When you are tagging your website with Google Analytics, including a Facebook pixel.  Wow, that sounds really complex, but it’s fairly easy for anyone with mid-level tech skills.  With the pixel, you’ll be able to “retarget” (show your ad on Facebook) to those who have visited your site.  People who visited your site are the most likely to take action.  It’s possible to run different campaigns based on different pages seen by visitors. You can refine even further by including or excluding people from certain campaigns based on connections to your pages, apps, or events, such as webinars.

By showing your message more frequently to a prospect you increase your chances of achieving your goals, whether that is gathering a lead or purchase.  In addition, by creating highly relevant ad creative that relates to the pages they viewed or events they attended, conversion can increase.

Use Audience Segmentation to Find New Prospects

With Facebook audiences, you have the ability to create and define audience sets, to target new people similar to your existing customers and clients. Again, you can include and exclude parameters such as locations, age, behaviors, interests, and gender. One of the easiest audiences to create is a “lookalike” in which Facebook shows the ad to customers that match your customers’ and clients’ interests.  This simple audience selection can perform especially well for b2b prospecting.

Optimizing the Budget

There are many ways to track success, such as:

Here you can look more in-depth at Facebook’s recommended metrics for conversions. Regardless of which metrics you choose, you will eventually create a “return on advertising spend” or ROAS.  It’s important to look at your individual campaigns and see which ones are working so you can optimize your budget and keep the winners while dropping those campaigns that are not performing.  For example, your campaigns to prospects that visited your site, maybe performing better than lookalike audiences.  So you may want to increase the frequency of messages to that group.  You can easily set budget limits so you control your campaigns at all times in order to determine optimum spending.

How Agencies Can Improve Facebook Performance

A strong advertising agency understands your business and can help you navigate the science and art that are required to be successful with a paid program on Facebook.  They will help you refine your frequency, segmentation, and optimization.  Plus they can help develop engaging creativity such as video, gifs, photos, and more.  Agencies also can help you manage the balance of paid Facebook versus organic (unpaid) Facebook programs.
Facebook’s powerful reach can give your brand a boost in visibility.  If you are thinking about leveraging this powerful medium, James Ross Advertising is ready to help you. Contact us here today and let’s get started.

Why you need to invest in a custom website

The day-to-day business activities are tiresome and exhausting. While your list of never-ending tasks isn’t getting any smaller, your website design should be a top priority. Custom website design can be an invaluable tool for success in your business if it has these three elements:

  1. Tells your story
  2. Leads to a fast and simple customer action
  3. Provides a unique value to make the user experience easier or more enjoyable

Telling your Story

No matter if users find you through a Google search, a paid ad, or organic content, what they see should tell the story of who your business is. Therefore, your website needs to match the story you have on your ads and social media feeds. For example, if your ads showcase a luxurious branding message, but your website is outdated with an old or misleading message, this will lead to high bounce rates and low conversions.

Investing in custom website design means implementing a cohesive message throughout your site that is undeniable to your customers and proves to them why they should buy from you and not their competitors.

Customer Actions Matters

Customer action is another way to say conversion. It’s anything you want your customers to do, whether that be purchasing a product from you, signing up for your newsletter, scheduling a consultation, etc. The bottom line is, it’s your job to ensure that your website leads to a fast and simple customer action by implementing call-to-action buttons (CTAs) strategically throughout your website is a great way to get your customers to convert.

But what makes a good CTA button? When it comes to leading your customers to action, making those messages as personal as possible has led to 202% more conversions than typical, non-personalized call-to-action buttons. 
Besides personalization, here are some things to keep in mind about CTA buttons according to SEJ:

  1. Focus on Benefits
  2. Write User-Focused Copy
  3. Address and Overcome user objections
  4. Use the soft sell

The User Experience

User experience or UX, at its core, is about how users interact with a product, and that overlaps with the digital world. According to Xd Adobe, here are some things they usually evaluate their experiences on:

  1. Value
  2. Function
  3. Usability
  4. General Impression

We at James Ross Advertising believe there is a little more to it. When it comes to custom website design, especially for eCommerce websites, it’s not just about creating a unique value for your customers, but also giving you a competitive edge through a smooth transition from screen shopping to checking out.

As an example of how exactly we do that, let’s discuss a client in the Yacht brokerage industry. Initially, there was a need for a website redesign, and they were given a fresh face. Yet, something was missing on the UX side. How do users find the exact product they’re looking for? Thus, we created a little tool we call the Yacht Shopper. A first of its kind, it allowed our clients’ customers to define what they were shopping for, and narrow down to the exact product they wanted, based on price, engine type, length, and more for their own custom dashboard for shopping ease.

Web Design matters and you don’t get it from template designs. Going custom gives you the freedom to be unique and creative in your approach to how you want people to see your business. Contact us here, and let’s discuss how we can expand your business with a custom website.

Four Ways to Prepare for Google SEO Changes

If your site appears on the first page of Google Search Engine (SERP) results, your organization will reap the benefits of more impressions and site traffic. However, Google regularly changes how it determines which sites appear first. So it is important your company is on top of the newest criteria as well as the core principles of SEO (search engine optimization).

Let’s start with the changes. Google is releasing the Page Experience Update, which rewards sites that offer a good experience with higher rankings. We’ll review metrics that will be more important now and then revisit core elements of good SEO.

What’s more important now:

  1. The loading speed of the most important element on your page, such as the main image.
  2. First input delay. How long does it take for a user to get a response after clicking a button or taking action?
  3. Page element shifting. If your site loads slowly a person may click to perform an action and due to a shift of visuals or page elements, the click goes to an ad or an unintended button. This would negatively affect your SEO.
  4. Mobile-first is required. Your site must work well on all mobile devices.

For a more technical description, you can check out the Search Engine Journal article about Google’s Page Experience Update

You May Need an Agency That Specializes in SEO

An advertising agency specializing in SEO can combine knowledge of your business with the core principles of SEO to deliver a higher ranking.  What are some of the new and old SEO skills that top agencies offer?

  • Technical SEO, such as load speed, site architecture, page tags (descriptions).
  • SEO Content, such as keywords that describe your products and pages. This also includes keywords for optimizing content such as blogs.
  • Competitive analysis. What are competitors doing and what are opportunities for your company?
  • Customer experience. Find and fix broken links and issues that may affect customer experience and have a negative effect on SEO

Picking the Right Agency

Selecting the right marketing partner for SEO should be a thoughtful process. Start by checking the agency website. Not only should it be functional and load quickly, but it should also inspire you with creative design. Look for an extensive portfolio showing the work the agency has completed for clients, showcasing desktop and mobile experiences. Then set up an exploratory call to learn more about the agency’s experience in your category. If you are facing SEO challenges or opportunities, you can reach us here at James Ross Advertising.

How important is a mobile-first approach?

We live in a world that has moved beyond the confinement of a PC. With the evolution of mobile devices and their access to the internet on or off wifi, marketers need to prioritize their websites and anything online that they use in association with their brand. Pew Research cited that as of February 8th, 2021, 85% of Americans owned a smartphone. That makes your mobile-first website that much more important. Now there are two formats a business can use:

  • Mobile-friendly website 
  • Mobile app

Let’s talk about some background information first though.

The More the Merrier

According to Broadband Search, the average seconds spent on mobile in 2020 was 642, while desktop is 1,006. In their article, they strictly state this could be due to efficiency on a mobile device. We are in a generation that expects results immediately with these devices; a generation of social media and Amazon. 

Pew Research states that Americans in the age range of 18-29 are more dependent on mobile devices than any other age group, and that’s not counting those below 18 that have also grown with the technology.

Business Savvy

The world of business changed when LinkedIn was introduced in 2003 on desktop, but the mobile device revolutionized the ability to network. Mobile apps and websites ultimately changed not just how we shop or socialize, but how we hire, interview, and scope new potential employees. 

Mobile apps themselves have made it easy to check out your industry’s latest information, keep in contact with employees, shareholders, board members, and company partners. They’ve made work more efficient in every field.

Mobile-First Websites

We stated before that 85% of the US has a smartphone, but also 57% of traffic back in 2017 was from digital devices and not a desktop. Now come to the present, Sciatica reported that in the first quarter of 2021, 47.07% of web traffic in the US originated from mobile devices. Businesses should have, at the minimum, a smartphone-friendly website. 

Mobile apps

According to buildfire, 88% of the time on mobile is spent on applications or apps. Big retailers such as Starbucks, Nordstroms, Ikea, and more all have their own mobile apps on top of mobile websites to enhance customer experience. Consumers can browse products, make purchases, and check inventories. Apps are also projected to make over $900 billion in revenue in the next 2 years. Want to know a bit more about apps? Check out a previous post here!

Consumers are spending a lot of time on the small computer in their hand rather than the one on their desk. And marketers should adapt if they haven’t already. If you haven’t, give James Ross a call or email and we can get your mobile website up and running for you and your customers!

Some Ways Branding Can Drive More Revenue

Branding is everything a company does to present itself to its target audience. Organizations that don’t constantly evaluate their brand may miss thousands of dollars in revenue and savings. A well-managed brand delivers emotional, financial, technical, and legal benefits to the organization. Here’s why:

  1. Emotional – Memorable photographs and images, consistent messaging, and a strong logo all help customers recall and prefer your brand.
  2. Financial – If customers prefer your brand, they often pay more than similar products, resulting in increased sales and margin.
  3. Technical – When customers search for your brand name online, your site will rank higher than if they search for a generic description.  When your site appears high in organic SEO rankings, you save money instead of spending as much on paid media to drive traffic to your site.
  4. Legal – Having a strong brand name and properly marketing it can protect you from improper use by competitors or counterfeiters. Google, Amazon, and online marketplaces allow you to register your brand and you may be able to take action against those trying to trade on your good name.

If you are not actively managing and tracking results against these four things, then you need a branding agency.

Get Started with a Brand Agency

While it sounds as painful as a tax audit, a branding audit is the opposite. This process will actually uncover new sources of revenue for you. Start by hiring an agency with branding expertise. As an independent 3rd party, a branding agency can look at all the places your brand appears: website, online searches, catalogs, social, paid media, and more. Then the agency will prepare a succinct report which will include recommendations on everything from technical fixes (e.g. broken links on a website, fuzzy logo art) to visual improvements (e.g. logo design, colors, font, and photography). Acting on audit recommendations can deliver immediate benefits.

Invest in Brand and Creative Research

Asking customers why they buy and what they plan to buy is another way to uncover revenue opportunities and risks. Occasionally a company’s brand is no longer perceived in a good light and customers might consider competitors. Here are some of the types of research an agency can help you with:

  • Competitive differentiation
    • How is your organization and brand perceived? Too expensive? Out of touch? How loyal are your customers? Or will they quickly switch?
    • Does your product or brand stand out from the crowd of competitors? Are you highlighting the differences that make your products and brand unique? 
  • Emotional impact and creative research
    • In a recent Forbes article, creative testing is described as something that gives you more details on your audience and what works for them.
    • If you know customer likes/dislikes, your can improve your organizations’ customer acquisition and retention.

Why Is a Branding Agency Different Than Other Agencies?

Not every advertising or media agency can deliver great branding advice. Some agencies are focused on media and analytics, while others specialize in website technology. A great branding agency understands how to create emotional impact and all the ways to leverage it. They have special skill sets in graphics for logos, fonts for digital or print needs, and most importantly,  the messaging that resonates and is authentic.

At James Ross Advertising, we have developed strong branding for new companies and refreshed established brands. Contact us here, and let’s start discovering how you can enhance your brand’s emotional, financial, technical, and legal impact.

How Print Can Drive Digital Marketing Success

In a digital world, why do print ads, catalogs, and direct mail still perform? And why should you consider adding print to your media mix?

Digital advertising alone can deliver only so many customers cost-efficiently.  When it comes to brand building, customer retention, and even customer acquisition in specific product niches, print ads can deliver results. According to a recent article about a global advertising survey, “ad spend on print is forecasted to reach 2207.6 million people in 2021.” This year will be the biggest print ad revenue in US history.  

According to Small Business Trends, direct mail marketing can be more effective than email marketing. Look at the following stats from Small Business Trends:

  • Receivers open 80-90% of direct mail but only 20-30% of ad emails get opened.
  • Direct mail marketing can be more effective than email marketing to reach millennials

So what are some of the ways you can leverage print to complement your digital program?

The Key is Empathy

Print ads, mailers, and catalogs typically have more “space” than web pages or emails. That’s more space to create an empathic and visually appealing ad, with total control of size, color, message, and more. All marketing materials, digital or non-digital, must always appeal to the target audience. The varied sizes and formats such as newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and direct mail let you choose the right sized “space” to showcase products, inspirational messages, and copy to better explain features. 

Consumers Trust Print Over Digital

Would you be surprised if I told you more people trusted print ads over digital? A study by Marketinsherpa found that among survey respondents:  82% trusted print ads, 76% trusted mailed catalogs, while only 39% of people trusted digital. 

Pop-up ads haven’t helped the reputation of digital marketing, and there’s the warning of “don’t believe everything you see on the internet”, right?  Most print publications have a recognized point-of-view and often decades of trust because of their editorial quality.

If selling your product requires developing a strong reputation, then advertising in a reputable print publication will really help you.  Plus you can partner with the publication through sponsorships to take advantage of their online audiences.  A link from a trusted publication can also help Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by adding to your website’s domain authority.

Better Targeting…Beyond the Instagram Feed

When people pay for a magazine, they are committed to that content and industry.  They may spend an hour reading the publication and are highly likely to buy in the category. Print is a very targeted media buy in most cases. Contrast that with an Instagram exposure, where the follower may not have purchased in the category.  Also, an Instagram story is only available just for a day. Posts are mostly seen once a day, and even so just for a few seconds. We absolutely believe in social and digital advertising, it’s all about the mix.

How Print Complements Digital

Print campaigns should always include strong calls to action to visit a digital property such as a site or app.  Visits generated from this medium can be tracked with unique offer codes, special landing pages, and more. Even without special landing pages, print marketing can increase “direct load” which is when a visitor types in your site’s URL instead of coming from a Google search.  By tracking all your metrics carefully, you should determine the impact of print and how it can be an important driver of digital marketing success.  


Having a well-rounded campaign and smart media mix will help you gain and retain customers. It is all about complementary media and creativity. Need more information about Digital agencies? We’ve got you covered here! If you’re ready to enhance your print and digital, James Ross Advertising is waiting for you!

Listen to the Changes Coming with Voice Commerce

You can ask Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to look for products, add to cart, create a wishlist, make product notes, and purchase. Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana also offer a range of voice-activated services. With voice assistants estimated to reach  8.2  billion devices by 2024, how can you sell using this rapidly growing technology?

We’ll cover three of the best ways to answer this trend.

  1. Use product descriptions optimized for voice commerce
  2. Keep building your brand so people ask for it
  3. Test everything

Product Descriptions: Categorize and Tag for Voice Searches

Look at your product descriptions and think about how someone would “ask” for the product instead of “search” for it.  With traditional online search, just a few words may be typed in, such as “black workout shorts.” Voice search may be more conversational and detailed, such as, “where can I buy black workout shorts for yoga, size 8?” On your eCommerce site, it’s important to properly categorize and tag your product pages, to include all relevant terms that might be spoken, such as “workout, yoga, black, size 8” and “women’s”.  Why did I add women’s? If the device hears a woman’s voice it will search for women’s wear first. This seems like a lot of work, but as you add new items or update your site, develop this as a best practice.

Building Your Brand Reduces the Competition

In traditional search, numerous competitors’ products will pop up if your brand name is searched.  Your own site may be far down the list after paid ads.  With voice search, it is more likely that customers will see at least two or three results only for your brand.  Amazon’s virtual assistant will favor Amazon brands for searches. But you still will fare better if your brand name is requested.  

So keep investing in your brand, including SEO, social, email, and the traditional marketing disciplines, such as direct mail.

Test Everything

It’s surprisingly easy to test if your site is optimized for voice. Just say, “Hey Siri” and ask for what you are looking for.  Make sure your tests relate to your top products.  Run a report on top products (SKUs) and then test them all by doing an online search and then comparing it to a voice search.  Don’t forget to get rid of your cookies.  Keep track of the results and revisit this every month.  Focus on fixing your top products to learn what works and doesn’t. Then roll out to the rest of your product line.

If your product is a consultative service or a solution, instead of a physical product, this advice still holds. You may also need to test searches related to cities.  For example, if someone searches for “fishing charters in Pompano Beach” you may wish to make sure your Fort Lauderdale based-fishing business includes Pompano Beach in the website tags.

Remember it’s just the beginning…

Let’s return to the fact that there will be an estimated 8 billion digital assistants in three years. With technical advancements, including AI, the relevance of results will only get better.  It won’t just be eCommerce and picking songs.  Usage will expand to health, wellness, restaurants, and many more categories.
A related category, smart homes, that can control temperature, security, and more will also be a growing area for voice activation.  As affluent customers manage their homes by voice they will expect to shop the same way. A recent survey from IOT News reported that by 2024, smart homes in the US and Europe will number 179 million. This year alone, 35.6% of houses fit the category, but in three years, the number will increase to 53%.

How Do You Prepare?

Voice Commerce may be just a whisper now, but it’s growing fast.  The team at James Ross is tracking this trend and actively working on solutions for clients.  Sign up for our newsletter here to keep updated. Or if you’d like to discuss your Voice Commerce opportunities, contact us to get started!

Will Your Packaging Design Drive More Purchases & Satisfaction?

Every company should “up their game” in packaging whether the product is sold at retail, online, or both. You’ve always needed to stand out on the shelf in physical stores through design, content, and durability. But many marketers forget the impact of packaging for items purchased online. That’s because the product is often displayed online without its box or wrap. The experience of opening up a package at home is the critical time to convey the brand message. In either situation, thoughtfully designed packaging can drive more purchases and satisfaction, according to a study posted in Psychology & Marketing.

We have previously written about sustainable packaging which you can read here. But in this post, we’re going to cover branding and durability – important factors for both physical stores and eCommerce to drive purchase and satisfaction.

What to consider when creating packaging:

Create a checklist, starting with durability and shipping considerations. A dented box or damaged produce hurts your product perception and brand image. Then we’ll cover how to deliver the right branding and messaging.

1. Supply chain – How will the product be shipped and stored? Will there be an outer shipping container or will the box be placed individually in a shipping box by the retailer or Amazon?  Make sure you have all those specifications, such as size and weight. Do you need barcodes, product numbers, or marketings in a specific space? Does it need to be waterproof?

2. Branding – The next step is to determine how packaging works with your organization’s brand standards. Many company standards don’t address packaging. So you may need to create a special set of brand guidelines for packaging. And don’t forget that color matters. If the outer packaging is corrugated cardboard, how does the brand color look on light brown cardboard? The packaging design should reinforce the brand with colors, logo, typography, and materials. 

3. Emotion – Now it gets fun. What are the emotions you want to create when someone sees the package for the first time? Even within a brand, there may be several different target audiences. Who is buying this specific product? What demographics are you targeting? It’s also always important to consider accessibility for many products. Test with your target audience to ensure you are conveying the right message.

4. On-shelf – Finally, when you have a design, how will it look in-store? Products on the shelf have a FMOT (first moment of truth) where you only have a few seconds to convince someone to take it home. In this case, the packaging design needs to stand out from everything else around it. You may want to take a mockup of your package into several stores and see how it looks next to competitors. Or take photos on your phone and use photo editing to put your product “in the store.”

Delivering Satisfaction

Creating a satisfying experience with packaging is more complex than most other marketing activities. It’s like a lock that will only open if all the numbers align (1) supply chain (2) brand standards (3) emotional impact (4) on-shelf impact. 

Don’t leave this strategy to the end of your product development or marketing workstream. James Ross Advertising in Fort Lauderdale has helped many clients develop innovative and impactful packaging and we are here to help. Take a look at some of our designs for bands such as Filthy Foods, and Flomentum! Contact us here.

Via James Ross Advertising

Shoppable Posts in 2021

We’re all glued to our phones, scrolling through social media, checking out the latest Instagram posts. It’s no secret capitalizing on social media has an enormous impact on businesses, and with Instagram’s new shoppable post feature, this is all the more true. They have made it easy for customers to shop for their favorite brands, all from one app. Shoppable posts have endless benefits for brands, influencers, and consumers as well, and here’s how your business can capitalize on this feature.

For Brands

If you’re a brand in 2021, you better have a killer social media presence. Not only for brand awareness but for sales! Your followers can now buy your products directly on Instagram. Your brand can list their products in the “IG Shop,” and users can then check it out in the shop or navigate your brand’s website to finish their transaction. For brands, this means each post has a much higher chance of leading to a sale.

screenshot of Gillz Instagram profile with arrow pointing to "view shop" button

Once an item has been added to a user’s cart, Instagram will even send them reminders to finish their purchase. This helps with conversion rates and creates a seamless shopping experience. Users can also save items to their wishlist for purchases at a later date. As a brand, you can also tag products in your in-feed posts. They’re marked with a shopping bag logo in the top right-hand corner of the post. When the tag is clicked on, it takes the user directly to the product featured in the post.

screenshot of Instagram shop with Gillz apparel/ Arrow and text highlighting shop and wishlist features,
screenshot of a shoppable instagram feed. Arrows highlighting shoppale post iconsin upper right hadn corner of each post
In-feed Instagram post with arrow highlighting product tag

The Downside

There are some downsides for brands. Instagram charges a transaction fee of 5% per shipment or $0.40 per order. All customer communications and data are kept by Instagram. Brands do not have access to it. Instagram is a business, after all. The app has created a way for brands, influencers, and Instagram to make a buck off your scrolling habits. 

Influencers

We’ve preached before about the value of influencers in a previous blog post, and we all know social media influencers can be very powerful. Influencers can now create shoppable posts themselves. When an influencer makes an in-feed post, they can tag the brand featured. When users click on the “paid partnership” disclaimer, they will be taken to said brand’s Instagram page. The brand will even be able to see the metrics and insights from the influencer’s post.

Collaborating with influencers produces content for the brand and increases the likelihood of a post showing up on the discovery page. Influencers can now even tag brands in stories, posts, and reels. Making this user-generated content valuable to businesses and sometimes reposted to their social media accounts. 

White screen with text and product lays for apparel. Screenshot highlighting "in this video" feature for shapable posts on instagram.

Need some help?

When curating your social media strategy, make sure your brand uses social media to the fullest extent. Features like shoppable posts are a great way to engage your customers in a familiar space on a platform they already use.

Read more about shoppable posts via this step-by-step guide to shoppable posts, or contact us here at James Ross if you’re looking for a social media marketing agency to help elevate your online presence and incorporate this absolutely required tool into your business’s social media strategy.

Voice Commerce: A New Frontier

“Hey, Google!” “Hey, Alexa!” Whether you have one or not, you’ve probably heard someone using one of these virtual assistants. From asking Alexa for the weather forecast to adding things to a virtual grocery list to buying more coffee pods as soon as you see that your stock is low, this new frontier of buying products has been coined Voice Commerce. It is the hands-free way for customers to order from your business with simple sentences starting along the lines of “Hey Alexa….”

The question now is how to optimize your business for voice commerce. Keep reading and we’ve got you covered. 

If you want to check out current trends in Ecommerce in general, check out a blog we previously wrote here.

Where to start

This may be common sense in 2021, but you must have a fully functioning eCommerce website. Without a website that Google’s AI can crawl, read and analyze, it will not be able to gather data about your business and suggest it to voice commerce users.

Understanding where to look

According to Shopify, currently, Amazon Alexa users can only shop from Amazon, while Google Home users have some more options like Ulta, Walmart, Target, and Walgreens. So you might be thinking: What does this have to do with me and my business? Voice technology is proving itself to be a growing technology, not just a fad. Thus, it’s likely these virtual assistants will be opening their doors to smaller eCommerce businesses as well.


Another thing to look out for is the demographics of voice commerce users. In a 2019 article, it’s been cited that more men use smart speaker shopping. This is an important indicator as to which part of your audience you will be catering to when optimizing your business for voice commerce.

SEO

While SEO is well known in digital marketing, voice commerce works a bit differently. In a Google search, you might type something like “work boots,” and you get a result page with recommendations of stores offering said item. With voice searches, someone will say something more like, “Hey Alexa…where can I buy work boots near me?” Very different.

While AI is always evolving to better understand how we speak, we as business owners need to do our part with keywords and phrases. 


Optimizing your SEO for voice commands is one of the most important things you can do. Sellbrite.com suggests that for voice commerce optimization, use long-tail keywords. If you don’t know what those are, they’re keywords that are a bit longer, more specific, and mostly focus on niches. An example of this is something like “how to advertise your website.” Using these longer keywords can hit more phrases in the way people speak to their voice assistant.

The future of shopping

While voice commerce might not be something your business can get its hands on just yet, staying ahead of the competition is something a good entrepreneur always considers. Optimizing your business for voice commerce will help you stay on top of the game, and optimize your business for SEO in general- you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Contact us here at James Ross Advertising so we can help you stay ahead of the game!

The SEO piece you might be missing

Defining SEO

One of the very basics of digital marketing in today’s age is SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of making your content easily discoverable for users looking up topics on search engines. Hubspot reported that 75% of searchers do not look past the first page of search engine results. This is where SEO comes into play; if your online presence is not search engine optimized, showing up on the first page of Google, or any search engine result page is highly unlikely. Being that 53.3% of website traffic is through Organic searches, SEO is one of the most important aspects of your digital marketing strategy for your business.

That missing piece

While most have heard of basic SEO, what about Technical SEO?

You might have only heard about it if you’re a website developer or programer. So, for those of us who don’t speak computer, what is it?

It is defined as the procedure(s) that a website meets technical requirements for today’s search engines with the objective of improving organic rankings on the SERP, or search engine results page. For a primitive explanation, it gives search engines an easier time to find, crawl, render, and index all the pages you have on your website so you can get to page 1 results.
Now that we’ve got you thinking about redesigning your website, don’t we? No worries, we might be able to help you out here.

But, as usual, there’s more.

You’ll have to check things like no duplicated content, slow loading speeds, etc. Here are a few things to look at when checking your Technical SEO:

HTTPS

It’s been around since 2014, and if you haven’t already been using this, you should be. It’s the secure version of it’s predecessor HTTP, which holds a connection and verifies the website’s legitimacy.

Fixing Broken Links

Users don’t like it when they get a “page not found” error, and neither does Google. It makes it difficult for your page to be crawled if there are broken links that just stop it in its tracks. Your best bet is to remove, or change, the links. You’re able to find a list of these when performing a site audit report, rather than going in and clicking every single one you have.

Mobile Friendly

This might be obvious in 2021, but Google has prioritized this since they switched to mobile-first indexing for all sites in 2019. Your organic visibility on the SERP will absolutely be diminished if you don’t have a mobile version of your website. If you’re not sure if your website fits the term “Mobile Friendly”, Google provides a tool to measure how well your site works via mobile, and you can also read more about it here.

Things to consider…

There is much more to Technical SEO than these steps, but those are just a few fundamental practices to implement. Things like site organization, URL format, and more all affect the ways google can crawl the website, and it should be something you’re thinking about to help with your SERP results. 


Here at James Ross Advertising we can help create a website that Google, and your customers will love. Reach out to us today and let’s chat about what we can do for you!

Why a Good Website Matters

There are more than 1.83 billion websites on the internet, and in a world of 5G and fiber optics, consumers feel they shouldn’t have to wait for websites to load. If it happens, they could take their clicks, shares, and money elsewhere. Here, we’ll talk about some numbers, and a few important things to help you retain your visitors.

Importance of a good website

There’s nothing more important in the age of the world wide web than a company website. With 4.7+ billion internet users, eCommerce sales are expected to be about $5 trillion in 2021. According to Sweor, you have about .05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website. That’s 50 milliseconds for users to determine if they like it and stay, or bounce back to the search page. So, suffice to say it, but a visually functioning and attractive website design matters.

The facts

Hubspot reports that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the layout/content is unattractive, or if images won’t/take too long to load. Sweor also reports that 47% of users expect a maximum 2 second loading time for the average website. 

With the mass amount of information floating out in the world, and the acceleration of technology, users have high expectations about company websites and if you fail to meet those expectations, they’ll head back to the search results to find one that works for them.

Some must have Back End Features

CMS Tool

Short for a Content Management System, this helps with organization of all the content on your website. Things such as seasonal posts can be taken down, stored, and modified to reuse the next year. A good example of this would be WordPress.

Content Descriptions

Don’t overlook things like meta descriptions and titles! These helps improve your SEO, with the adding of certain words helps your website appear more frequently in certain searches. Particularly the meta titles. As these define what the page is that the user is about to click on, they’re a slight bit more important when it comes to rankings.

HTML 5

Hypertext Markup Language is the code that describes webpages. HTML5, released in 2014, gives you the ability to do most everything without those pesky plugins. According to techradar.com, you’re able to have animation to videos and everything in between, on your website. All the big browsers such as Chrome and Safari all support this code. For a good comparison of HTML and HTML 5, check out here.

Mobile optimization

Sweor reports that 85% of adults think the mobile version of a company website should be as good if not better than desktop, and socPub reports 57% of users won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile website. It’s not enough nowadays to just focus on desktop design. Be sure to test your website on mobile and tablet platforms to make sure the layout and load speed are optimized.
For more information on mobile optimization, check out our previous blog here

Create one now

eCommerce websites are quickly outnumbering brick and mortar stores. Companies can access consumers from all over the world, and henceforth have to compete for attention spans from all over the world. Consider it a pivotal part of your digital marketing plan. Without a good website design, people won’t remember or connect with your company. They’ll click right out of there, and that’s not what you want. Make sure to make your website intriguing, creative, and in tune with your brand identity.


Reach out to us today for all of your digital marketing and website needs!

10 E-Commerce Trends for 2021

2020 threw us a curveball. To stay relevant in this ever-changing marketplace, retailers need to adapt to the latest eCommerce trends. Just as COVID-19 changed the way many people shop, it has also driven innovation in the eCommerce industry.

According to Shopify, eCommerce sales are at an all-time high after the pandemic accelerated years of growth in just weeks. Also, it’s estimated that the eCommerce industry saw ten years of growth in the span of 3 months due to pandemic-related changes in customer lifestyle and needs.

The pandemic exposed the extensive capabilities of online retailers, and as a result, customer expectations are higher. Now that consumers have experienced the ease and immediacy of eCommerce, they will expect nothing less. While we can’t predict precisely what the post-pandemic world will look like, there are some emerging trends in eCommerce to look out for. 

Here are 10 e-commerce trends to keep an eye on in 2021:

1. AR & AI

Augmented Reality

AR gives customers a chance to interact with a product from the comfort of their homes. With the power of Augmented reality, brands like Ikea allows customers to see what furniture will look like in their homes before purchasing. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in AR online and in-store, according to Gartner, Inc.

hand holding a phone in their living room while using augmented reality to view a red chair in their home prior to purchase
Photo Credits to Inter Ikea Systems via Architectmagazine.com

Artificial Intelligence

AI tunes into customer preferences to offer a customized shopping experience. Using an influx of data, shops can cater the shopping experience to each customer’s preferences and tastes. Personalized experiences add a “human” touch to an otherwise completely digital experience.

2. Shoppable Posts

Many online retailers have opted to create shoppable posts for social media. Apps like Instagram make it easy for customers to shop a store’s products by simply scrolling through their Instagram feed. Brands can tag products in posts for a smooth shopping experience.

Instagram screenshot of a platter with 4 glasses of lemonade and sprigs of fresh herbs
Photo credits to JRA

In addition, Instagram has even added an Instagram shop, where users can shop a curated selection of products from the brand’s profile. Users can also add items to their cart and checkout all within the Instagram app. Furthermore, when brands hire influencers, they too can tag a brand’s products in their posts. This allows the influencer’s followers to shop directly from their post rather than the brand itself.

Instagram screenshot of Instagram shop feature with all white screen and pictures of products
Photo credits to JRA

3. Sustainability

In addition to improving the virtual experience, sustainability and environmentally conscious business practices are essential to many consumers. More people are beginning to care about the environmental impact of the products they consume. Whether it’s recyclable packaging or production that uses less water, customers want to know that companies care about their footprint. According to Nostos.com, “32% of consumers would pay more for a product from a brand that they believe is committed to sustainability,” and “75% of environmentally-conscious consumers want brands to reduce the amount of packaging they use”. Consumers want to buy from brands with transparency and sustainability in mind.

sustainable supplement packaging with 2 sizes if green bottles and recyclable containers
Photo credits to Trailer & Eater

4. Payment Options

Flexible payment options have become a norm in eCommerce website design.  Services like Afterpay, Later, Klarna, and Affrim allow customers to get the item now and pay in installments. In a culture that thrives on experience, these services enable customers to enjoy products now and pay later.  Other payment options include Apple Pay & Google Pay which allow customers to save a virtual version of their payment card to their phones and use it during the checkout process. This additional feature allows for a seamless checkout process for on-the-go shoppers. Applications like Venmo and CashApp give consumers easy ways to send and receive money from their friends and family. These apps have become increasingly popular, and some have integrated them as payment options in their eCommerce website designs. 

screenshot of online shopping cart with pink proceed to cart button and multiple payment options
Photo Credits to JRA via freepeople.com

5. Subscription Services

The subscription and auto-ship services bring products to consumers’ front doors regularly without the hassle of constant ordering.  Some subscription boxes and services offer a culmination of curated products, such as themed boxes from Bespoke or a unique collection of products from Ipsy.

screenshot  of subscription packages on a white background.
Photo Credits to JRA via bespoke.com

Autoship features allow customers to check out once and receive a constant stream of products. Items are then shipped monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually depending on the product or customer preference. Intuitive features for subscription services like community chat rooms or even text reminders on your order are becoming increasingly popular in eCommerce website design. Probiotic brand, Olipop, sends subscribers a text at the beginning of the month where customers can pause, modify, or cancel their monthly subscription via text. In a world of uncertainty, many customers flock to the ease and convenience of subscription-based products.

screenshot from website with green text and picture of a text message conversation on a. phone
Photo Credit to via olipop.com

6. Chatbots

People want answers now. Many brands have integrated a pop up-chatbot feature in their eCommerce website designs. After giving the bot a clever name, this bot can answer customer questions in real-time.

screenshot of the chatbot ecommerce trends witha  white background and pop up of a chatbot waiting to assist cusotmers
Photo Credit to JRA via asystem.com

7. New E-commerce Products

COVID-19 opened up an entirely new market for eCommerce within grocery stores. Grocery providers have found innovative ways to reach their customers, as people began to buy things online that they’ve never bought before.

Major grocery chains have created contactless delivery, curbside pickup, and new apps to create a seamless shopping experience. Consumer packaged goods brands now have to create an easy shopping experience both in-store and online. Some consumers use third-party services like Instacart and Shipt to deliver packages to their doorsteps. Others can buy their groceries via the grocery store’s website or app and pick up their items later in the store.

8. Automated Shipping

With an influx of online orders, many retailers turned to automated shipping to keep up with high demand. Third-party logistics companies like Shipmonk work with eCommerce brands to simplify and quicken the logistics process. Some brands use software that syncs inventory with warehouse computers, while others use robotics that can pick, pack, and ship products as soon as the customer clicks “Place My Order.”

man and woman interacting with robotic arm that sorts a yellow object into a box

9. Fast and Easy Mobile Sites

In an age of immediacy,  people want things fast and easy. To keep up with the ever-changing market, company websites need to be easy to navigate with a clear menu, legible font, and quick load time. Google released a report that over 53% of mobile users will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.  Check out our previous blog post to learn more about how to optimize your mobile site.

10. Innovative Packaging

When the cardboard boxes start piling up at your doorstep, it’s nice to receive something different. Many brands have begun using innovative packaging to enhance user experience. From shipping boxes personalized with your name to signature color poly-mailers, companies have innovative ways to brand every aspect of the user experience.

hand holding a brown recycle package with a motivational phrase  in front of a white background
Photo Credit to Pinterest
brown cardboard box on a wooden table with branded tissues paper packaging inside
Photo Credit to Fit Small Business
bright red box on a purple surface surrounded by postcards and small bags
Photo Credit to Pinterest

Challenges faced in 2020 means innovation in 2021. We were forced to adapt, and most companies changed for the better. It will be challenging to know what will happen to eCommerce after the next major world event, but we do know that eCommerce can adapt and meet the needs of customers, no matter the circumstances.

Contact us here at James Ross Advertising to help ensure your business is staying up-to-date on the latest eCommerce innovations.

The Power of the Influencer

If you’re on any social media platform, you’ve more than likely heard the term “influencer”
mentioned, but you may not be sure what it means. And what does an influencer have to do
with social media marketing? Quite a bit as it turns out.

So, what is “Influencer Advertising”?

Basically, it’s a person that has accumulated a large social media following by posting content
that appeals to a specific audience, area of interest, or topic. Some have a great deal of
knowledge in their field, and some are just purely entertainers; nonetheless, they have a
powerful influence on their followers. Forming strong bonds with their followers, social
influencers typically have thousands (even millions) of followers who listen to their
recommendations on anything from what shave cream to use to the fashion designers and lipstick they
wear. The emotional bond between influencer and follower is more that of friend or peer; therefore, their opinion is highly regarded.


In short, influencers have the power to influence the buying habits of their followers and are
seen as mitigating the growing tendency of customers to ignore more traditional forms of marketing.


Keep in mind, influencers are not limited to the B2C arena; there are countless B2B influencers
as well.

What does it mean to marketers and brands?

Influencer Advertising is simply another form of social media marketing. Brands enroll the help
of influencers that have a strong following, large audience, and credibility to discuss, feature or
endorse products in their social media posts. As a peer-to-peer form of communication, it can
be pretty persuasive.


Frequently influencers can be seen as trendsetters or early adopters, significantly enhancing
their ability to influence followers

Brands reach a large audience base by using the influencer’s reputation and followers to
increase sales and brand awareness. Working with an influencer can have a significant effect
on a brand’s public perception. What’s impressive is that this type of advertising can wear
multiple hats.


It can take the form of an endorsement or sponsored post, a review by the influencer, or a
collaboration with the influencer. You could partner with an influencer to offer a discount or
affiliate code (use “Codexxx” for 10% off) or like competitions/giveaways where brands team up
with influencers to give away their products to the influencer’s followers. This is done via the
influencer creating a post about the giveaway, mentioning the brand sponsoring it, and providing
guidelines such as: “Like this post, follow me and @saidbrand, tag three of your friends in the
comments, share/ share to story.” The key here is engagement, as all of the participants in this
giveaway drive awareness to the brand and influencer—a win-win situation.

Nothing is free- the cost

Most influencers are paid before the campaign starts. Some smaller, less known, micro-
influencers may accept free products or services from you. There is no established fee
structure, and costs will vary based on your budget and the perceived value of the influencer.
Influencers with large followings can fetch as much as six-figure fees.

Due diligence before choosing an Influencer

The key is to find an influencer with followers that most aligns with your brand’s core customers.
If your customer is young women age 25-35, you’ll look for an influencer that holds sway over
that demographic.


Secondly, be sure the influencer is compatible with your brand’s beliefs and values.
Matching your influencer with your brand’s purpose and goals is critical. Poor compatibility can
send the wrong message to consumers.


Look for one that personifies your brand, feels authentic and has a good rapport with followers.
Choose an influencer that is established and has been around for a while. Check their
reputation in depth by going back and researching their past posts. Google them to get more
backstory. The last thing you want is to find out is that they’ve said something controversial in
the past that could damage your brand’s reputation.

So, what’s the verdict?

According to MediaKix, influencer marketing on Instagram is a billion dollar market in the US alone and poised to become a $5-10 billion market globally in a few years. So, it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future

In summary, influencer marketing could be a home run for your brand, or just a small complement to your marketing efforts. It’s a personal choice as to how it fits into your brand’s strategy and budget. But consider – if you’re not doing it, is your competitor?

Is this the strategy for you?


At James Ross Advertising Agency, we can help you create, tailor, and optimize an influencer campaign to meet your brand’s goals. Reach us here to help you with all of your social media marketing needs!

Unboxing an Experience

For most of us, unboxing is opening a package and just that. We don’t think about the subconscious effects the product packaging has on us. 

As an entrepreneur, and especially one in e-commerce, packaging design is a crucial part of the buyer’s experience. It’s not just opening a package. It is an experience. They’re unboxing your brand’s identity and why they’re going to want to shop with you again. Here we’ll touch on a few unboxing secrets, how to give the best user experience once the package reaches the customer’s hands, and give a few examples of companies that are doing it right.

1. Tell a story

Think of your packaging as the home run, the last hoorah, and your final attempt to make a good impression. You want to leverage this phase of the buying process with your packaging design to ensure your customers know who you are and why they should shop with you again. A simple poly mailer or cardboard box isn’t going to cut it anymore. Here’s an example of a brand that tells a great brand story with each package:

Wild

Photo Credits to Wild
Photo Credits to Della Driscoll

Wild is a deodorant brand that prides itself in being sustainable, aluminum, and cruelty-free. Their message is clear from their packaging design: good for your skin and good for the environment. How is Wild doing this? 

  • Simple statement of brand mission: “single-use plastic, aluminum, and cruelty-free” 
  • Brief and clear directions
  • Includes social media handle and hashtag to encourage sharing
  • Functional yet sustainable product packaging that uses brand colors

2. Be responsible

It’s not enough to just put it in a pretty box; your product packaging must be sustainable. There’s no question; your consumer values sustainibilty and people will criticize brands that fail to be responsible for their environmental impacts. Here’s an example of a brand that gets its message across and uses sustainable packaging:

Pods and Parcel

Photo Credits to Pods and Parcel

This e-commerce company based in Australia sells high-quality Nespresso compatible coffee pods that pride themselves on being sustainable. Their brand story is as simple and effective as their packaging. Most importantly, it is sustainable, as noted on their box and inner packaging for each pod container; it is biodegradable and compostable.

3. The Importance of Integrity

It should go without saying that your product should show up to the customer’s house in one piece. No flaws, incorrect products in order, damaged packaging, etc. This is because 83% of people simply won’t go through the trouble of returning a product, especially if your returns process is complex. You’re then left with an unhappy customer who won’t repurchase and might even share their experience with friends and or social media. So how can you avoid this? Investing in a good customer and fulfillment service can be a game-changer in improving the quality of your shopping experience in terms of ensuring the careful and correct packaging of orders. In addition, investing in packaging for not only the shipping process but the product itself is important. An example of a company that does a great job of this is:

Seed

Seed is a premium probiotic company that sells its pills in a glass jar container and, not to mention, the shipping packaging is completely biodegradable. The icing on the cake? Their refills come in biodegradable packaging that the customer then uses to restock their glass jars. Clearly, we give an A+ to Seed. Their product packaging has integrity, provides an exciting unboxing experience, and aligns with their branding message.

Are you ready to take your product packaging to the next level? Contact us here at James Ross Advertising, and we’ll make sure your packaging design and messaging keep your customers coming back for more.

Read more about sustainable packaging alternatives here.

What Does 5G Mean for Website Design?

Soon after the release of the new iPhones with 5G, the talk of the tech town is all about the fifth-generation technology. The excitement surrounds the high-speed and high-capacity connectivity network that delivers reduced latency, and improved connections.

 So, in other words, it’s crazy fast. 

However, 5G is still in its infancy and is only accessible at high-density event centers. The good news is specialists predict that by 2025 5G will be available in 1.4 billion devices worldwide. Not only is 5G set to have an impact on mobile web browsing, but these changes in mobile connectivity will also have a deep and lasting impact on the way we design and develop our websites. It’s in the web design realm that we explore the capabilities of this new network. But before diving into the changes that 5G will bring to the table, let’s understand a little more about the technology. 

Why is 5G a step forward?

As online entertainment streaming services increase, existing spectrum bands (4G LTE, 4G, etc.) are getting more and more jammed. People are struggling to get the connectivity that they need. 

5G was created to handle the expanding volume of data in this modern environment. It promises a quicker transfer of information, faster download speeds, more steady connections, and wider coverage. Compared to 4G, 5G can deliver speeds 10 to 20 times faster. This allows users to load big pages, files, images, videos, etc. in a fraction of a second.

But it isn’t all just about speed. 

One of the most significant benefits of this new technology is that it can offer substantially reduced latency. That means the total time it takes for your device to communicate with the internet will be a lot less. This is especially important for content-rich websites that would otherwise require either an extremely fast connection or lots of time to load.

So, as you can see, 5G is a big step forward. But what does this mean for you and your business?

How can your business benefit from 5G?

The key lies in the lower latency we talked about earlier. 

Loading speeds have been a big part of the user experience and SEO of a website. We are restricted to designing and developing sites with pages that load quickly, given an average network speed. A network like 5G allows us to significantly increase the amount of content on a website without any effect on its load performance. And we are not talking about just heavy images either. UX and web designers can now experiment with 4K videos, virtual and augmented reality, and hyper-realistic 3D content. 

This can be a game-changer for your business.

Beautiful, content-rich websites can, and most likely will, attract more consumers and build a better, more attractive brand experience. 

We are very excited about this new technology and are already finding ways to apply this to our partners in the future so they can level-up their brand and business. 

Things to consider…

Sadly, 5G won’t be available for a big part of the world population for years to come. Currently, many countries are only now starting to experience 3G.  Still, in terms of innovation, the network arrival is something to celebrate. 

Progressive Web Apps: Why You Should Invest

Nowadays, everything can get done through a phone. People invest less money on laptops and desktops and instead funneling that money into the devices they can carry in their pockets. During the second half of 2020, mobile users accounted for more than half of the web traffic worldwide. This number only tends to rise. In fact, it is projected that by the year 2025, 72% of people will use only mobile devices for accessing the internet. 

For you, if you own a business, this means that your website must be easily accessible to these mobile users, which means a decreased loading time, seamless user experience.

That’s when Progressive Web Apps come into play. 

What is a PWA?

A PWA (Progressive Web App) is a substitute for a regular native app (the ones that you can find in the AppStore or Google Play) and a fraction of the price. The main goal of Progressive Web Applications is to offer a user mobile experience similar to the native app, with key native features like:

• Push notifications

• Accessing the app offline

• Installing the app on the mobile home screen

How PWAs affect your business?

In order to compete in the market, businesses have now, more than ever, the need to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. That is because, in order to generate profit, you need to be in the same spaces as your customers. On top of that, you must provide a seamless user experience in those spaces in order to engage your customers through your sales funnel.

“68% of businesses that build mobile-first websites reported increased sales.”

Econsultancy

Because more than 50% of web traffic comes from mobile devices, a company that deploys the use of a PWA will always be able to reach more customers. Here’s how:

They work seamlessly on any mobile device. Independent of operating system or version since they do not rely on an app store. 

Content is more easily manageable. Sending out updates to users is a lot easier through a PWA than through a native app – it can be done with the click of a button. 

App is searchable. Contrary to native apps, Google can index PWAs’ content, and therefore, contribute to Search Engine Optimization. This is a big plus since SEO has become more and more crucial for businesses and more competitive subsequently. 

It is cost-effective. PWAs cost a fraction of the price compared to native apps. That is because they take less time to develop and they only need to be built once – compared to native apps that require development for every platform they will be run on.

Fortune 500 companies such as Facebook, Google, Uber, Twitter, and many others have seen this trend coming long ago and started implementing PWAs since then. Twitter is one of the biggest PWA success stories. They needed an app that worked on every device, loaded quickly, and gave their users the experience they were used to. Here are the results Twitter had with the release of Twitter Lite (their PWA):

Things to consider

If you want to increase your sales, generate more web traffic, reach more customers, and create brand advocates, PWAs are a great way to do so. They are the future of web development and can bring big results to your business for a lot less money than a native app. 

Is it time to invest in a website redesign?

Website technology is constantly evolving, and it will keep evolving for the foreseeable future. However, keeping up with these latest trends is just not realistic, and sometimes, it could result in a massive loss of cash. But figuring out what’s amiss with your site can be a difficult task, especially when you don’t even know where to start. 

The good news is, you’re not alone. 

This is a modern-day problem that every company eventually encounters. A study published by a multimillion-dollar tech-firm, Bazaarvoice, showed that 82% of users consult the internet on purchases they are about to make both online and in-store. Even if your company sells services or products strictly in a brick and mortar store, you need to have a good website, or else you risk losing potential customers.

So how do you know it’s time for an upgrade? Well, when your 5-year-old desktop takes 10 minutes to start-up, while the fan is going haywire, obviously, it’s time to upgrade it. But how do you address a problem that’s not so obvious, like your website’s performance?

It is difficult to tell when your website needs a new face because it’s not always down to the technology, but how it all aligns with where your brand is today. In this post, we’ll be talking about the former and what you can do to figure out if the technology driving your website needs a little improvement. 

Responsiveness 

A website’s responsiveness is its ability to scale and “respond” to different screen sizes and devices. Pixel screen size, resolution, web-browser compatibility, operating systems, and the user’s device are all factors that affect your website’s responsiveness. 

70% of the total digital media time in the US is spent on smartphones (Comscore, 2019), and more than 80% of shoppers used a mobile phone inside of a physical store to either look up product reviews, compare prices, or find alternative store locations (AdWeek). That’s a big part of your clientele that will look you up on a mobile device and, ideally, you want every experience your customers have with your company to be a good one. 

Next time you’re on your computer, check the responsiveness of your website by resizing the window of your browser and ask yourself: 

Does the look and feel of the site remain consistent?

Does the site still convey the same message?

Are there any functionalities that break? Are there any that are unnecessary?

Is the text legible and in the right place?

There are many more things to check when testing for this. But if there are any obvious issues, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. 

Optimization

No one likes a slow website. But don’t take our word for it. Take Google’s. 

According to them, any given page on your site should load in less than 2 seconds. Any longer, and the risk of losing your customer increases by 50% every second after that. 

The tricky thing about site speed is that Google doesn’t have a straightforward definition for it. But to sum it up, your website should not only be fast, but it should also feel fast. 

Did the navigation start properly?

How long until the user sees something? How long until they can interact?

Can the user interact if the page is not finished loading?

Do the interactions feel smooth and natural? Or do they feel buggy and clunky?

Google takes all of this and much more into account to determine how well your website performs, and luckily, they have free tools to test your site. 

Click here to run a Google Audit on your website.

User Experience

So you’ve checked your site’s responsiveness and page speed, and they’re both pretty good. The next thing to check, and arguably most important, is the User Experience of your website. 

We understand that User Experience, or UX, can be a bit complicated to articulate. To put it simply, it’s how a user feels when they navigate through your site. The result of every single element and aspect of your site. Anything from performance and security, to flow and accessibility, to branding and design.

So why should you invest money in a good UX for your site? Because bad UX may be costing you more. 

Research shows that companies lose $62 billion every year due to poor UX, and 91% of frustrated users just leave, and 13% of them tell 15 more people about their bad experience. 

Not only are you losing the customer that’s already on your site, but also the ones that haven’t even visited yet. 

Did you know?

Jeff Bezos invested 100X more into customer experience than advertising during the first year of Amazon. 

Finding the root cause of a faulty UX can sometimes mean extensive market research, A/B testing, user testing, etc. But a very easy and free way to test your site’s UX is to go through and navigate your site and ask yourself:

How easily can users access my products or services? Can it be even easier?

How many steps do they have to go through to get where I want them to? What may stop them?

Is the call-to-action clear and visible? Does it make sense?

Is the purpose of my product or service clear? Can it be even more clear?

Ask your friends, family members, employees, or even your own customers, if possible, to take a look. They can provide insight that may be crucial in leveling up your company. 

Things to consider…

There are plenty of other factors that come into this equation, like the website’s visual appeal, security, accessibility. Well-maintained websites tend to have a longer life-span than a site that goes through a long time without maintenance. Nonetheless, sometimes, you just need an upgrade. 

5 Eco-Friendly Packaging Alternatives

It’s no secret that the world is changing faster than it ever has. The acceleration in production and light-speed dissemination of information has raised a need for sustainable options in a world that doesn’t have the structure to sustain our fast-paced life. 

Whether you like it or not, your business is part of society and may need to adjust to societal needs. During the Great Pandemic, online shopping has nearly doubled and raised a demand for packaging needs. So, is it worth it to your business to streamline its packaging needs and strategy with eco-friendly and sustainable practices?

Our answer is yes. 

A Harvard Business Review shows that “In more than 90% of the CPG categories, sustainability-marketed products grew faster than their conventional counterparts.” This preference comes from the consumer preference of choosing brands that align with their support to the environment. Therefore, when using eco-friendly packaging, your business might favor itself by positioning it as a sustainable company. 

Nonetheless, there is a perception that this type of packaging will be more costly than conventional packaging. But that is not always the case. Recycled packaging tends to be lighter and might outweigh on savings during shipping. Also, eco-friendly packaging has become more and more popular over the years, which has made it more affordable. Moreover, the more businesses that demand recyclable supplies will encourage the manufacturer to produce more and subsequently bring down the costs of those products.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. How can you make the transition?

Reusable bags to go to market.

These bags can save more than 60% of water, energy, and diesel compared to traditional bag manufacturing processes. Plus, they can be reusable (as on its name) and can be used by consumers as tote bags.

Go a step further: You can find many of these reusable bags on the market selling for bulk. However, not all options come from sustainable manufactures before choosing your bags, opt for 100% cotton, recyclable cotton, or hemp fiber.

Paper bottles to fill ’em up.

Refillable, these bottles help not only the world but also your business. Increase consumer loyalty by transitioning to refillable bottles. They are made of a sturdy, waterproof card box paper on the outside, and the inside is where the refillable part resides; a thin plastic film involves your liquid product. They also can be shipped nested, taking less space, and less expensive to ship.

Go a step further: Paper bottles usually include a plastic pump that might make your package not-so-eco-friendly. A smart solution for this is making the dispenser a simple twist-off cap – also paper-made.

Plantable packaging. Yes, plantable.

If plant-based wasn’t enough, now we have plantable material. Exactly what it sounds like, they can be soaked, buried, and grow into a beautiful tree.

Go a step further: This plantable packaging comes in different seeds. Make them available in a variety of plants for a highly immersive experience.

Behold, the simple potato.

PaperFoam company invented their namesake material — it’s an original, natural, lightweight foam obtained from potato starch. It delivers an industrial look with the benefits of organic packaging. It looks like a matte plastic, but it breaks down, and it is easily compostable. The potato starch is mixed with cellulose fiber, water, and a proprietary premix. It can be injection molded, giving designers the freedom to make any number of custom product forms and inserts.

Go a step further: This packaging has limited availability in the U.S. other alternatives for this custom product might be Bagasse, PLA Bioplastic, or Mycelium Foam.

Vegetable ink for your inking needs.

Most customers who already opt for eco-friendly packages are unaware of traditional ink’s toxicity. This is an excellent chance for your brand to make them aware of this issue.

Go a step further: There is still some debate on the circular economy world about how sustainable this ink can be. One that has been an A+ is the algae ink.

In the end, these are just a few of the possibilities to convert your packaging needs into sustainable custom products. Let your customers know that you are pushing the boundaries and always being one step ahead of the game in terms of technology and sustainability.

How and Why You Should Build Brand Value

You may have the best product in the market, but industries are saturated with similar products that perform similar activities. The chance you have to highlight your brand in the midst of every other one is by adding value to it. Of course, your logo, website, and social media should be up-to-date, but these are factors that can easily be changed with time. What should be sticky about your brand is what it stands for, and your target market should care about it. If it is not clear what exactly that is – since this is not an easy task – here are some tips from us:

  1. Take a look inside.

Which colors did you use for your brand? What typography did you choose to represent it? How is the personality of your employees? What problems do you seek to solve with every customer/client? 

These are some of the questions you might want to answer to understand what your brand represents. The color blue, for example, tends to be associated with technology, security, and transparency. Red, on the other hand, tends to be associated with passion, excitement, or anger. With colors and style, your brand might already be telling a story that you do not know about. 

  1. Be unique.

There are way too many outdoor clothing brands that have set their mission and advertising capital to make people “go outdoors,” “get adventurous,” and “go places.” So, what could differentiate you among them? Your story. Go back to the beginning of your brand, what motivated you to found it? What problems were you trying to solve? These are what will make your brand unique. Telling that to consumers is a chance to start a conversation and allow people to connect with. 

  1. Find meaning, don’t create it.

Empty or vague statements won’t help you and might do the opposite. Your value proposition needs to be real, clearly defined, and, most importantly, actionable. Advertising has, for years and years, tried to create meaning, fortunately – or, unfortunately, – consumers are no longer tricked by it. Whatever your company chooses to fight for, it must be something that your target market cares about. 

brand value

Take a look at the marketplace; companies that are striving do offer a unique perspective on what they are selling. An example of this is Nike. Even though their products are at the top of the active apparel market, that’s not the only thing they are selling. Their mission statement is, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. *If you have a body, you are an athlete.” And this is how they act on their mission:

  1. Consistent

If you look back in 1982, when Nike released its first television commercial, their message is the same as today in 2020. They were and still are talking about innovation and how people should test their limits. This consistency in their message not only guides their advertising strategy but also what products they are putting in the market and who is the consumer that is going to identify with the brand. They have a clear and consistent vision of who their customers are because they have clearly defined who they are as a brand.

  1.  Actionable

The brand also puts effort into making people come together. 5, 10, or 21k, Nike organizes runs and workout classes all over the world. This builds a community around the brand, bringing people together, and reinforcing their brand value. 

  1. Achievable

The brand sponsors many of the top athletes in the world. And they also sell you the idea that you will be wearing the same clothes as those athletes – making you feel like one. They want to inspire. It’s in their core value and mission. 

Find your niche, know your target market, explore your brand. Quality is not the only thing that sells a product. Now more than ever, consumers demand that brands stand up for causes that they relate with. If your brand can do that, consumers will become your brand’s advocates, and you will be left with very little work.