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Published by Chris Hlubb , June 10th, 2019
 
When I received the very first IPad, it was amazing to see this technological wonder.  While I couldn’t do a lot of my day-to-day things on it (i.e., programming, using spreadsheets, etc.), it made for an enjoyable form of entertainment that was so much easier to use than lugging my laptop into bed with me.  The biggest attraction was the vast number of apps.  There were so many things that an app could do for you that as time went by the phrase “there’s an app for that” was literally the truth.  

I am of the opinion that when these first came about, they were built for a couple of main reasons: 1) it gave users fun games to play and 2) in the case of a business, it was an outlet to give users what essentially amounted to a “mobile” version of their website, or at least an app that highlighted something that they sold or wanted to push to the public.  People loved apps and it was fun to compare with your friends which apps you had downloaded, or at the very least discover something new.  But fast forward to today – are apps still really relevant?

Begin a programmer for over a decade now, I’ve seen firsthand some of the changes with how various advancements in coding has affected your website and devices.  One of the biggest ones that really began to take shape a few years back was responsive layouts, as more and more users began to start using their mobile devices as their primary way of accessing data.

Nowadays with sites being much more in tune to being “mobile friendly” I don’t know if I see the necessity for having an app, especially just to say that your company has an app.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to advocate against apps, but I do want to caution you to really think before jumping into the app market.  There are a lot of apps out there, so don’t just add another one to the pile.  There are definitely positive things an app has the ability to do that mobile sites can’t – like working in at least some capacity when there isn’t an internet connection.  Just make sure you think about how your app could work specifically for your customer base.  If your company has a very specific thing that you want your app to focus on that would be of use to a customer (or that allows you to present your information in a unique way), then it’s probably worth investing the time.  However, if you come to conclusion that it will basically be the same thing as what your website already does (or basically a rehash of the mobile version) then maybe it’s not worth investing in.  Just some food for thought.
 
 
 
 
 
Published by Stacey Pottmeyer , April 17th, 2019
 
Many clients have the desire to be at the top of page one in search engine results for specific keywords. While we strive to make this happen for our clients, there is no magic wand or any secret line with Google we can call to make this request. The fact is this strategy can take some time to accomplish and this old approach to SEO might be missing a major opportunity to reach the target audience who is searching in a whole new way. 

“Long-tail keywords” is not a new phrase to marketers and is a better approach to SEO, but in 2019 we are expanding that idea to become the answer to the user’s questions. With the rise of devices such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, users are utilizing voice search to seek the answers to their questions. By 2020, it is predicted that 50% of all search will be voice search. If users are asking more and more questions, than we need our clients to be the answers. 

So, what is a marketer to do?  

#1 Comprehensive Keyword Research 
If the queries are changing, so does our research. Google not only tries to match the user’s search with the best information on the web, they also try to decipher the user’s intent. As marketers, our keyword research must get to the heart of what our user’s are seeking. What questions are they asking? What specific words are they using to describe the item or service they are seeking? Below is a keyword ‘SEO’ with a ton of questions being asked about SEO. If we were creating a website or blog about SEO, this would be a good place to start with content creation. 
 
 
#2 Create and Optimize Content 
Your content needs to be the answer to their question or problem. Specifically, copy should answer those questions from your keyword research as best as possible. Adding relevant images and videos to pages increases your chances. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Wikipedia is often part of Google Answer Box Results. Their content answers questions. FAQ pages often can rank well in search because they help to answer specific questions. 

#3 Improve User Experience
Now that we have the correct users to our site and we are providing them the best information possible, let’s gain that user as a customer, a sale, a lead, or a repeat visitor that we can later remarket to. Your website should be easy to navigate and visually pleasing. Content should be organized in a simple manner. Calls-to-action should be clearly found and identified on each page, making the next step an easy one for the user to take. 

#4 Schema Markup
Schema markup is microdata that can be added to your html to clearly define content to search engines. Marked up content helps Google and other search engines find products, articles, reviews, etc. on your website based on markup to the code. 
 
#5 Optimize for Mobile
Optimizing for mobile is so 2010, but with 50% of all searches being mobile and the rise of voice search on mobile devices, there is no better time to make sure your site is mobile friendly. Some tasks to keep in mind are: 
  • Make sure your site has a responsive mobile design. 
  • Improve page speed
  • Compress images
  • Bigger buttons for mobile devices 
Bonus #6 Local SEO
If your business is relevant to local searches, then it is important to show up on sites like Yelp, Apple Maps, Google Business Listing, and Bing. 

If you need help getting your site SEO-ready, give OffWhite a call and talk to Stacey Pottmeyer. Or just ask Siri to call us for you. 
 
 
 
 
 
Published by Stephanie Johnson , April 2nd, 2019
 
I’m at my best when I’m part of a team. Teamwork is built into my character and my work ethic. Whether I’m at home, in the gym or in the office, being part of a team is where I thrive.
 
My team at home consists of my husband and two children. My husband is a professional firefighter and sometimes I feel like my team is short one player when he’s on the job. But his job is what helps our team stay healthy and happy and complete. 

Sports have always been a big part of my life. I played multiple sports through high school and even played basketball for a couple of years while attending Marietta College. When my sports years were over, I missed that team connection. So I fixed that by becoming a coach. I’ve been a coach on and off for almost 20 years from youth to high school ages. When I’m in that gym with my players – my team – I feel a sense of satisfaction that I have a hard time putting into words. My role as their coach, their team leader, is to steer them in the right direction, not only in sports, but in their lives. 

In the office, my team is a group of people who are happy to walk the sidewalk from our spots in the parking lot, up the steps to our historic building, and through the dark grey French doors that wait for us each work day morning. The experience of working at OffWhite is like no job I’ve ever had. 

Do we “meet” every day as a team? Nope, we don’t. We each go to our spaces, do what we have to do, maybe chat and laugh a little along the way. We take pride in our work and we take pride in how we do it together. We have the freedom to do what we do best and the freedom to create outside of the box. 

But the greatest thing about being part of the team at OffWhite, is knowing that my team at home and my team at the gym don’t go away when I walk through those French doors. When I tell people what I do and how I do it, they are amazed. Most people never get to experience the kind of atmosphere and working environment like the one at OffWhite. We don’t have to panic if we have a sick kid at home or if we need to take a minute and do something personal during the day. It’s one reason why the team we have works so well together. 

When prospective and current clients meet with OffWhite, they get face time with all or most of us. We each bring something different to the table, even if we are at that table at different times. We are all a piece of what makes OffWhite successful. We are a team. 
 
 
 
 
 
Published by Stephanie Johnson , March 6th, 2019
 
The world of social media is always changing. Always. As someone who chooses social media as part of their profession, I often find the changes somewhat frustrating. New ways to write, new ways to post, new platforms to learn. And there are some days, to be honest, that I feel like my brain just might be at capacity. But I find a little extra space I might have been storing up for future use and I fill it with the knowledge needed to keep our clients connected.

When I meet with current or prospective clients, one question I always get asked is, “How do we know where we should be?” The answer is quite simple. Discover where your audience is and stay there. When new platforms pop up or the latest and greatest app starts getting some speed, it’s ok to check it out. You should. But just because it’s something new and different doesn’t mean it’s the best place to spend time or money.

There are many social platforms available for business purposes – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr – I really could go on, but I won’t. Could you have a presence on all of these platforms and more? Sure, you could. But do you have the manpower to monitor all of them, make sure you’re posting regularly, answer customer questions and review analytics? Because those are all of the tasks involved in a successful social media marketing presence. 

Here’s the answer: pick the best and be the best at it. Is your audience spending their time on Facebook? Or is it Instagram? Or is it Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? If so, do all three. Just do them well. You can’t neglect one for the other. Once you choose where you’re going to be, you need to make sure you do all of the tasks required to stay relevant. If that means you need to be on ten platforms, be on ten platforms. Just make sure you have the bandwidth to do all ten and do them well. 

Staying relevant means having a plan. A plan that includes regular postings on all social platforms you choose to be on. Am I saying you need to post every day, multiple times a day? Absolutely not. But posting on a regular basis is a must. Monitoring your posts – comments, questions, likes – is also necessary if you’re going to be on social media. Set up notifications so you are alerted when someone is engaged on your post. And at the end of every month, check out your social analytics. See what posts did better than others, what time of day worked the best and what day of the week. Adjustments can easily be made to your plan…that’s the great thing about social media. 

I meet with clients on a monthly basis. We talk about what topics we want to focus on for the next month and how we want to illustrate our messages. I write those messages a month in advance, messages that are centered around the entire marketing plan. I use a social scheduling platform to make it simple to post to multiple platforms at once. Social media isn’t hard, but it does take time. It’s no longer a secondary marketing tool…it’s quickly becoming the front door to your business. 

In the words of Nike, “Just Do It” but in the words of OffWhite, “Do It Well”. 
 
 
 
 
 
Published by Chris Hlubb , February 12th, 2019
 
For those of you who didn't know me before my time here at OffWhite, I was known as the guy from the Fitness Center at the local YMCA. Even to this day, more people recognize me for my time there than my time here. Maybe it's because I worked with such a wonderful, knowledgeable staff that really made the Fitness Center a welcoming environment. It's definitely one of those times I'll always look back on in my life with a smile.

The reason I was thinking about this on a random Tuesday is that I recently saw an article that was shared on LinkedIn, and you can read it here: https://www.linkedin.com/comm/feed/news/4616588. It links to a BBC article entitled "How to exercise during the workday (and why it's important)."

We've all been told the benefits of exercise including having a better mood/positive outlook, reduction in disease, and better sleep among many other things. But sometimes I think it gets lost on people that exercise has a very significant benefit to how productive you are at work.  And I'm not talking in terms of physical labor. According to the article, a 2013 study showed that regardless of age, people experience "immediate benefits" for cognition following "a single bout of moderate exercise", such as 15 minutes of moderately intense cycling on a stationary bike.

On a personal note, I can vouch for this. Virtually every Monday through Friday on my lunch hour, I've ventured over to the Y to get a workout in. I cannot tell you how many times I've been working on a problem at work, only to walk away from it for a bit, and then have an "Ah ha!" moment in the middle of my workout for something to try when I got back to the office. And funny enough, more often than not my thought worked! On the other side of this, how many of you have been at work looking at the clock realizing you still have a couple of hours left to go in the day and find that you're groggy? A mid-day workout can also help you get some of your energy back. I have had days in which I stayed in the office from 8 to 5 without taking a break. And those are very long days, even if I'm busy. When that happens, I'm absolutely burned out when it's time to go home. It makes a huge difference to me when I don't get to leave the office for some physical activity.

Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking at this point – I need my lunch break for various things and/or I don't have time because of my work or I only have a small window for my lunch break. There are also some of you out there that just utterly don't want to do anything physical during the day and/or want to get all hot and sweaty to come back to the office. I understand that sometimes life gets in the way, but I've heard all of the excuses. If you truly want to make any kind of difference in your life, you'll make it a point to make it part of your daily routine. And you don't need to be in the gym for hours on end. Take small steps, like going for a 10 – 15 minute walk around the block, or even around the office.  You don't even have to do this on your lunch break. Find a few minutes each hour, or block off of five or ten minutes in the morning to just move, especially if you have a desk job. You'll find that as you do this over and over, it will become part of your daily routine. As I learned when I was a trainer at the Y, it takes 3 weeks to develop a habit, so stick with it! A healthier you, and a healthier work environment is just around the corner.  
 
And hey, if your office doesn't offer the benefit of a longer lunch hour so you can partake in a healthier routine, suggest it to your boss. I'm sure if you can pitch it as healthier employees making for a more efficient work environment, that would be music to everyone's ears.
 
 
 
 
 
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
 
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