Viewing entries tagged


Skimmers, Swimmers and Divers


The Three Types of Visitors to Websites

Are you looking for ways to make your business website more effective? Want to know how to make your content appeal to every visitor on your site?

It’s not impossible if you keep in mind the following:

  • Skimmers want to find the information they need and get out as quickly as possible.

  • Swimmers will go a little deeper and browse more of your site.

  • Divers want to take it all in and spend time exploring.

Many websites are bursting at the seams with valuable information and content.  Serving up this content in a way that’s informative and engaging (and not overwhelming) can be a major organizational and design challenge. 

As you plan the organization and design of your site, think of your site visitors in three categories: 

Skimmers, Swimmers and Divers

Each group is willing to go progressively deeper and spend more time on your site.  They each have different needs and wants when it comes to their online experience.  So how do you design your site to address all of them?

Start by understanding what each audience is looking for and think through opportunities to meet that need.



Glide along the surface – they want to get in , get the info they need and get out as soon as possible.  They are headline readers and use title to guide their journey through your site.

How to meet their needs:

  • Think about the info most visitors are looking for.  This might include hours, contact info, admission price, menu – the low hanging fruit of info.

  • Make headlines clear and concise and use different headlines and establish a clear hierarchy to make page structure easy to understand at-a-glance.

  • Include search functionality. If the skimmers can’t locate what they need at-a-glance, an easy search function can keep them from leaving your page.



Splash around – willing to get a little deeper.  They are interested but have a limited amount of time and energy they will devote to your site.  They are most likely looking for something specific but may stop and peruse if something catches their attention.

How to meet their needs:

  • Take a cue from magazine – the covers of which have the most dramatic or thought-provoking quotes from stories in bold colors and fonts to grab attention.  Translate this approach to your site and emphasize our most compelling content to make it irresistible.

  • Not everything can be on the home page, but don’t bury content under too many layers of navigation.  And use page metrics to help adjust content that is most sought.

  • Feature related and relevant information “in context” – include similar content when visitors are most likely to be interested in it.  For example, an info page about services could include testimonials or links to companion products.



Going deep to get the full story – they will consume most, if not all, content and come back looking for new additions.

How to meet their needs:

  • Make sure your information is organized in an intuitive manner.  Divers may become frustrated if they cant make a mental map of your site as they browse.

  • Make the content progress clearly so they can easily find a stopping point and remember for when they resume.

  • Enhance their experience with multimedia – videos, imagery, audio – to keep them interested.


Building the Foundation

Keep in mind the needs of each of these visitors for a site that can cater to all who visit your site and convert visitors to customers.

  • Skimmers are looking for speed, ease, clarity and brevity.

  • Swimmers are looking for options, simplicity, efficiency and possibility.

  • Divers are looking for details, background, interaction and connection.


Build Brand Awareness through Email


Build Brand Awareness through Email


Employing an effective email marketing strategy is an essential tool for building up brand awareness.

Many online businesses tend to view email marketing solely in terms of sales, but that’s a short-sided view of what email marketing can really do for you. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing mediums, offering brands the opportunity to reach loyal customers regularly and directly.

Consumers subscribing to an email list are telling you they want to hear from you so use this to your advantage!

When employed well, email marketing can:

  • Foster serious customer loyalty by creating direct links with consumers

  • Leverage ROI of any marketing campaign

  • Establish a brand as a reliable reference point for consumers

  • Decrease email list unsubscribe rates

In short, email marketing provides one of the most powerful tools for encouraging long-term habitual interactions with a brand.

You’ve been given a great opportunity – don’t squander it!

Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your email campaign:

Personality and Tone of Voice

Should a brand be serious or friendly? Scientific or colloquial?

The personality of a brand’s marketing communication should be

consistent with all points of contact with the consumer.

By keeping to a tone that is representative of its values a brand will instill confidence and reliability in the eyes of their customers.

Email Campaign Template

People love consistency – especially when scrolling through a full inbox. Building up recognition is the foundation of strong brand awareness and loyalty.

The easiest way to establish this is with an HTML email template that is in line with the company’s objectives.

It is important to consider the following:

  • Do the fonts, colors, call-to-action and layout match those of the business?

  • Is the logo being used correctly and is prominent?

  • Are contact details clear and easy to see?

  • Does the email message contain a personal signature or the company name?

Email marketing templates are an opportunity to reinforce brand recognition. Making an email instantly recognizable will encourage consumer confidence.

Make Sure That Your Email Campaign Converts

You spend all this time putting together your emails, make sure thy convert.

Put the most effort into your subject line as this will determine whether or not a consumer opens to explore more – you need to grab their attention and pique their interest

  • Use graphics as these tend to perform better than the text-only transactional emails

  • Include the company logo prominently as users are more likely to open messages from brands they recognize

  • Put a compelling image in the top area of the email to convey a brand’s message and engage consumer

  • Place at least one call-to-action so that the receiver knows exactly what to do

  • If possible, split test all email campaigns. A split test could include testing a different call-to-action, graphic or layout.


Match the link to the message

The email marketing sales funnel is not complete without ensuring that you are sending the consumer to the right place.

From the customer’s perspective there is nothing worse than being presented with a scintillating offer, eagerly clicking on the call-to-action in the hope of redeeming the offer, only to be directed to a landing page where it’s hard to find the offer or worse still one that doesn’t contain the offer at all.

Keep it simple. Give them what they want.

Avoid Continuous Sales Pitches

Email campaigns are a simple way to communicate that a brand is an authority in their niche, but a brand that is only interested in sales will find that their email drop off rate is high.

By offering solution-focused email content customers will not only remain engaged with the brand but will be eagerly awaiting the next email follow up.

The sales will come later.

Send Emails Regularly

Consistency is key – not just in brand and tone, but also in frequency. Build a calendar and stick to it. Keep track of the days and times of days that convert the highest and incorporate those metrics into your planning. Track everything!

Segment and Personalize

Any company not working on list segmentation and deeper personalization are missing out on a method for solidifying brand awareness. Segmenting an email list into highly targeted micro-segments allows for more customer targeted product marketing.

The benefits for brand awareness include minimizing the unopened email rates, decreasing email list subscriber drop off and fostering confidence in the customer that the brand really understands what each individual customer needs.


The key to developing brand awareness through email marketing lies with consistency, providing solution-focused content, personalization, and highly optimized campaigns.

A well thought out email campaign can run for many months and keep customers coming back for repeat visits and repeat conversions.

If you’re not employing your email marketing strategy to its full potential, it’s time to get to work on content and mailers and start thinking about how to keep those customers coming back.


15 Must-Have Features for E-commerce Sites


15 Must-Have Features for E-commerce Sites

All websites are unique in their own way. We’ve seen trends in e-commerce website design like animation, 360-degree product previews, advanced filtering, and dynamic product search. However, trends don’t guarantee conversion rates or robust user experiences. There are certain elements that every e-commerce site should have to stay relevant and competitive. Here is a list of 15 must-have features that attract online shoppers.

Ease of Use

This comes from the old K.I.S.S. adage about keeping it simple. Simplicity should be a goal in good design and you don’t have to sacrifice elegance to achieve it. As a matter of fact, studies show that 76% of consumers say the most important characteristic of a website is ease of use.

The objective is to help shoppers get to what they want, faster and without running into unnecessary complexity that can clog up the path to purchase.

Online sellers have minutes, if not seconds, to make a sale. Focus on the user experience by providing shopping categories, filters, and comparison capabilities. Consider easy-to-find customer reviews and FAQ information to help buyers make decisions more quickly.

E-commerce sites should be a competitive advantage instead of a troublesome experience.

High-Resolution Photos and Video

Gone are the days of posting one photo with a few bullet points and a price tag. Shoppers want to see multiple angles and people using the product in different environments. They want to be able to zoom in and get a feel for the product.

Technical considerations for images are crucial. Images that don’t load or take too long to load will see a consumer drop-off rate of 39%, according to Adobe.

Images sell, not text. E-commerce websites should display multiple photos per product. The photos need to be high-resolution and optimized for page load.

Mobile-Friendly Website

Google declared it, so it must be done. All websites are required to have a mobile-friendly version by 2017 or suffer the SEO consequences. If this isn’t reason enough, one in three online purchases is completed on a smartphone.

With a responsive website, content intuitively adapts to whatever device is accessing it to provide the most user-friendly experience. Shockingly, many sites still have not adopted a responsive or mobile version.

User-Generated Reviews

Shoppers read reviews. About 92% of them, in fact. The star rating on a product is the number one factor used by consumers.

You might think that having negative reviews is a sale killer. The opposite is actually true. Having negative reviews can often be a positive. It’s shown that products without negative reviews are seen as censored and, in turn, shoppers will assume the positive reviews are fake.

Depending on website functionality, e-commerce sites can use plugins from the most popular review platforms including Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook.

Forward-thinking e-commerce sites, like Paiwen paddleboards, are using reviews as user-generated content to drive social proof and build raving fans.

complete article


5 Big Trends and Tips for Social Media Marketing


5 Big Trends and Tips for Social Media Marketing

In the last five years, social networks have acquired about 1 billion new users. 

Over one third of the world’s population is now accessible via social media, and companies have gone from being skeptical about social media marketing to seriously investing in it.

In this social media dominated world, marketing is heavily reliant on technology, but that technology remains focused on people. This year’s trends will help marketers reach and engage their audience on a more personal level, over social media noise. Companies will be able to fine-target their niche communities, with increased support from software solutions.

Social Media Marketing Trends and Tips

The following is a list of trends and tips for social media marketers to leverage now.

1. Investment in Visual Marketing Will Increase

Most social networks have already launched their versions of live-streaming. Twitter has Periscope, Facebook’s Live, and other networks like Blab and DubSmash support live video sharing. Live-feeds are becoming the “in-thing”. Even the US Presidential election updates were broadcast live by BuzzFeed on Twitter.

You can use live video platforms to engage you audience will near-tangible experiences. If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy, now is the best time to get one.

With social feeds growing crowded and viewer attention spans growing shorter by year,  you’ll need powerful graphics to captivate your audience. In the last five years, the graphic design software market has expanded, giving marketers extensive options to choose from. You can put together graphics on a drag-and-drop editor to simplify your content creation process.

2. Personalization Will Become Priority

Today’s social media users are faced with ads and commercial content on multiple fronts. The receive information from multiple sources, and breaking through that barrier is becoming a tough task for brands and marketers. Personalization will help marketers slice through the chaos and reach only the people who matter.

Tracking consumers’ behaviors on social platforms and targeting them based on interests will become an essential part of marketing. Some social media marketing tools and apps are already incorporating features to support personalization and targeting. More technology solutions will appear in the time to come. You can target your high-potential market by posting content that only they can relate to, or by targeting them using data pulled from tools.

3. Brand Advocacy Will Grow Popular Among Marketers

Ad saturation is driving brands to look for alternative means to reach their target markets. Investment in advocate marketing has seen a steep increase (by about 191 percent) in the recent times. Micro-influencers could be the key to increasing your brand’s reach on social media, because they are more influential and credible than your brand can be.

Employees, customers and social fans are among the micro-influencers that brands are activating. There a quite a few great employee advocacy guides and case-studies that you can look at for inspiration in building your brand advocate outreach programs. You can use an advocacy platform to build and run your brand advocacy program.

4. Native Content Promotion Will Expand

In Joe Pulizzi’s words, native advertising is content marketing’s “gateway drug”. The modern audience is wise to commercial ploys, and traditional advertising alone may not be a great option for branding your company. Native ads help you create awareness without disrupting users’ activities. Content delivered in this manner can help you connect with your audience without being too pushy. According to a study, native ads are set to to grow to $21 billion by 2018.

Content discovery tools, content distribution platforms and content amplification tools are interesting means to having your content shared organically on social media. You could use one of these solutions to have your content positioned where it can earn you some traction.

5. Marketing Automation Will Go Mainstream

Companies with constrained marketing budgets may have not used marketing automation until now, but according to a study, 92 percent of these companies are losing revenue because of that decision. 2017 may see business of all types and sizes adopt marketing automation. 91 percent marketers are convinced that automation is an indispensable part of marketing.

Each social network is unique in terms of demographic and use-cases. This may force businesses to be present on more than one of them to keep consumers and prospects engaged. Managing social pages can be a time intensive task, without the assistance of a supporting social management tool. The idea is to use the tool to automate tasks that don’t require personal attention – like posting created content to multiple accounts and catching mentions of your brand. You can also curate content with a tool and take the final call on what to share. It all comes down to the extra-time that you can save to better invest elsewhere. Managing content on a central platform can also help you maintain consistency across different pages.


Social media marketing is set to evolve into a highly tech-focused and detail-oriented effort. To succeed  at reaching and engaging your target market, you need to explore and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies offered for social. The areas mentioned on this post are good places to keep tabs on.

credit: original article


5 Website Design Trends That Will Emerge In 2017


5 Website Design Trends That Will Emerge In 2017

As always, the fonts must match the product, the brand and the target audience, and be web responsive to be effective.For non-website designers, it is nearly impossible to stay on top of the technological advances and countless new design options emerging almost daily. But you know that your website must be user-friendly and engaging on any device.

As a business owner in the digital marketing space, I often become the translator for designers and coders. Here are five of the most important website design trends to help you engage visitors and achieve your website conversion goals in 2017:

1) Responsive Website Design

Responsive website design is a requirement in today’s mobile society. Users may not know what it takes to make a website design responsive, but they know that without it, they will be looking elsewhere for answers, products or a viewing experience. In short, a mobile responsive website is one that is designed so that it looks the same when viewed on any device. A great source to view some prime examples of responsive website designs can be found at; browse them and compare on different devices to see the unified effect.

2) Semi-Flat Design

Semi-flat design makes the elements appear as though they exist on a single surface. The widely-used design approach can bring clarity to the website for the viewer, while making transitions appear more unified. While it can be difficult to execute convincingly, when done correctly, semi-flat design makes it easier for website visitors to understand the cues and directions of the website. The result is a more intuitive navigation experience across the entire website.

Flat designs from a year or two ago had a lot of problems with their inability to draw users into the site and create a more immersive experience. This was because the images and characters were flat without any shading or differentiation, making it difficult for users to know where to click to navigate the websites. The discovery was chronicled in Windows 8 Usability Tests conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group.

Semi-flat designs overcome those challenges, and the use of the style in both Android’s and Apple’s software releases make it something that many mobile users are used to seeing.

3) Minimalism Paired With Micro-Interactions

It’s all about the mobile experience in 2017 and beyond. Micro-interactions are user enabled interactions that provide control, guidance or rewards, or just impart fun to the experience for the user. Minimalist design means web pages are uncluttered. By combining these semi-flat and minimalist design trends in 2017, websites can deliver great user experiences that take advantage of visitors’ short attention spans and need for instant gratification.

In the last two years, my firm began to discover that even though our clients’ websites had been optimized for mobile, we weren’t always seeing the bumps in conversions or longer visitor interactions that we expected. The biggest challenge was having too much content on the page. Best practice search engine optimization is in our blood, and having at least 200 words on each page tends to improve search engine results. But, in an era when people are looking for faster mobile interactions, users were getting frustrated navigating through too much content per page.

We adjusted by balancing snackable content on scrolling pages, and have seen great results.

4) Parallax Scrolling And Interactivity

Moving different parts of a website page at different speeds (parallax scrolling) is not new, but those who know how to use it innovatively reap the rewards of visitor engagement.

An example of using it innovatively would be applying it to interactive storytelling and interactive assessments. Each engages the user at a deeper level. We’ve all experienced websites with great parallax scrolling where the images and text are highly structured and fold on top of one another as we scroll down through or swipe across the page.

Parallax scrolling enables the user to have a one-touch scrolling experience that engages them, provides an interactive experience, and can tell a story through progressing content and images that they control. They can have the same experience on any device, which helps to enhance their experience as they learn about a brand, a product or a solution.

5) Stronger Use Of Typography

It seems we are always learning about effective fonts and using them in new ways with website design. One of the latest and most enduring trends is to blend fonts that work well together in a single page. This works with both different (but compatible) fonts as well as font sizes. As always, the fonts must match the product, th


How to: Animate pop-up information panels with CSS


How to: Animate pop-up information panels with CSS


Bang & Olufsen are a well-established global brand leader in some of the very best products for sound quality. They’re also just as well known for the innovative styling of their products, and are an established company when it comes to innovative product design. With such a strong design ethos, the company offers collections of products that mirror that of the fashion world.

This website alone simply shows off just their headphones and speakers in their Autumn and Winter Collection for 2016. The products here have been inspired by the nature of the Icelandic geography, with earthy colours and textures used throughout their range. With such an emphasis within the company towards quality and styling, the web design has to mirror that same aspiration that Bang & Olufsen are known for. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to achieve with some outstanding product photography and videos, but the page design also has to make that quality shine through.

Using a minimal colour palette to emulate the colour of the products, there are a range of flourishes and animations that enable the site to stand out as an excellent piece of design. The photography reacts to the user so that they can explore the natural landscapes, and animated popovers appear to give more information and round out the content of the site. more


differentiate your brand....


differentiate your brand....

Identify your identity.

Your branding is as different as your fingerprint.

Before people can engage with your company, there needs to be something tangible and real with which they can relate. We can take your list of adjectives, your mood board, your inspirations, and your brand visions and turn them into something tactile. Whether you are an entrepreneur bringing your new company’s vision to market or an international conglomerate penetrating a new country, we will add new dimension and meaning your product, service or brand by developing a full suite of marketing materials that are impactful. We will work with you to design logos and taglines, identify collateral needs and facilitate production that will make a statement.

Branding is everything... and we can ensure yours is on target so you can reach your target.

Learn more


web design hot tip


web design hot tip

The Proliferation of UI Patterns

One of the side effects of responsive design has meant that a lot of sites look similar. However, responsive design isn’t solely to blame. The rise of WordPress sites and the booming theme market also have a hand in it.

And some folks, such as Matthew Monbre, have copped to being guilty of following everyone else’s look with his company’s site.

But having a similar look isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’s because we’ve changed the way we consume the web, which has resulted in a lot of common UI design patterns. Design patterns have matured and as such, there’s little in the way of innovation when it comes to UI patterns.

In other words, a checkout will still be a checkout and should function as such. Same with a login model. There’s no real reason to reinvent the wheel. UI patterns must guide users through a smooth experience.

- The honos creative team



10 Perceptions Outdated Websites Create That Damage Credibility


10 Perceptions Outdated Websites Create That Damage Credibility

1. “They’re going out of business”

Where’s the latest blog? Press release? Social media status? Upcoming sale? New product release?

“No news is good news” is certainly not applicable here.

This silence gets people wondering if the company is dying a slow death (even if their books show skyrocketing profitability!)

2: “Their customer support will be terrible”

If customer support is imperative to an organization, don’t you think their website should make it easy to get that support?

“78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” (Source: American Express Survey, 2011)

Outdated websites come laced with wrong phone numbers, hidden email addresses, broken contact forms and confusing navigation — all red flags, especially to a prospective customer.

3. “The company must be OK with the status quo”

Consumer expectations are high, especially in retail. “Shoppers want to experience a brand online as they do within the store.”

A company OK with an outdated website feels like a company OK with just doing enough to get by. Technology companies in particular might be labeled “status quo” which cheapens their products/services.

4. “They just aren’t with it”

Though being “with it” is difficult to translate into practical meaning (and sounds like teenager speak), it’s still a gut reaction that damages credibility.

Being “with it” could mean a variety of things, but my guess it’s related to the website’s design — a factor with significant persuasion.

Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab found that almost half (46%) of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning credibility.

5. “They have technology incompetence”

We all live in the Digital Age, but using technology isn’t always easy.

A recent WSJ study found more than half (54%) of small to mid-sized businesses are concerned with “technology outpacing their ability to compete”.

Technology can’t be ignored. Especially on a website.

Outdated websites typically run old technologies (e.g. Flash, Frames, Hit Counters) and give the impression the company hasn’t left 1999. This creates the perception that the company faces similar technology incompetence — which impacts almost every single aspect of today’s business.

6. “They won’t keep my data safe and secure”

An outdated website tends to forget about the details, even the critical ones like keeping their SSL certificate renewed (which allows the URL to securely shift to https://).

Negligence with security (like an expired SSL certificate) leads to skepticism when giving up sensitive information such as name, email address, phone number and — especially — debit/credit card information.

7. “They must not be proud of their company”

When you interact with an updated and lively website, you can almost feel it. The company’s executives (especially if there’s thought leadership) and their employees feel proud to be part of things.

The website is an extension of their organization.

Outdated websites don’t represent organizations well because they send an apathetic message — which might not be an accurate measure of pride within the organization.

8. “There’s no buzz”

Most people like to buy from companies that are exciting and have a “buzz” to them. I’m sure you’ve heard of Apple?

This buzz is especially important in the B2C (Business to Consumer) sector where emotion has a dramatic role in marketing. Existing and prospective customers want to — sometimes unknowingly — be part of something buzzworthy.

This brand excitement is hard to see and hear without an updated website.

9. “They’re not good enough for my money.”

This perception feels a bit harsh, but I’m getting the impression that consumers just don’t care anymore. An organization with an outdated website is simply, bad business.

This study found that 35% of consumer walked away from a small business because of its poor website. Let me repeat. Over 1/3 of them WALKED AWAY.

The old fashioned business approach can only go so far without a solid website

10. “I could never work for a company like this”

An outdated website will impact a company’s ability to attract, recruit and retain talent. I know this perception exists because I’ve seen it first hand with my clients

One client’s leadership was galvanized because a hot recruit verbally trashed their outdated website, and another (Stanford Careers) made it clear that it was the #1 reason for hiring ProtoFuse.

An amazing work culture and competitive pay may, in fact, be a reality for a recruit, but this perception stops the conversation from even starting.


original article