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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 Stephanie Johnson , December 13th, 2017
Social Media Users 2018
 
Most of us get excited about a new year. We ponder what things we did well the year before and what we need to improve upon….in both our personal lives and in our business lives. I personally like a new year because it means a fresh start. I love the hunt for the best planner/calendar to keep me organized (no, I don’t rely completely on Siri) and finding the perfect one ignites a fire in me to stay on track.
 
As 2017 comes to a close, we are thinking progressively about what we will be doing in 2018. Which trends from 2017 will continue on to next year? Which ones were so cringe worthy we hope we never, ever see them again? In the social media world, 2017 brought us trends like the fight against fake news, live video streaming and selfie filters.
 
What will we see in 2018? Now is the time to plan for what will be trending in the coming year. So, without further ado…
 
Social Video
Facebook Video for 2018I use YouTube for practically everything… recipe ideas for dinner, conditioning and workout plans, how to change the filter in my furnace. In 2018, we will most likely see Facebook becoming a dominant competitor to YouTube. In 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Watch, a tv-like option within the Facebook application, to select creators. 2018 will open the doors of this new video feature to all users and will change the ways in which we watch videos.
 
Presumably, we will also see more video features on Facebook geared towards creators that will increase exposure. And there’s a chance 2018 will bring the launch of a dedicated Facebook video application.
 
Voice Search
“Siri, remind me on Monday at 6 p.m. to take Kendyl to basketball practice.” “Alexa, turn off the lights in the hallway bathroom.” 2018 might just be the year we become even lazier now that we have technology like Siri, Alexa and Google and all we have to do is give them commands with our voice and they will deliver what we need. I no longer have to write things on my calendar or get up to turn off the lights that one of my children left on. What does this mean for your business? Paid search and the goal of being in the top three organic spots in search results will have to be part of your overall marketing plan.
 
Live Streaming
Back in August, when we had the once in a lifetime experience of the total solar eclipse, I was able to see a completely different perspective of the event from my college roommate, who was live streaming as she and her family watched from Death Valley in California. We saw a rise in live video streaming in 2017, and 2018 will produce an even bigger jump in this trend. Large corporations and small businesses will be streaming live during sales and events to catch the attention of their followers. It’s free, it’s powerful and it needs to be part of your content marketing plan.
 
Chatboxes
I was recently placing an order online for a steering wheel for my son to use with his Xbox (don’t ask me why this makes a video game more fun, ask my son). I had a coupon code to get a discount but during the checkout process I kept getting an error. What did I do? I clicked on the button that said, “Want to chat?” and the “person” on the other end was able to easily solve the problem. There’s something about not having to pick up the phone when you have a question and being able to get an answer easily and efficiently. 2018 will see a large increase in the number of e-commerce and business-to-business use of Chatboxes. Why? Because it allows businesses to communicate with customers in the way they prefer to communicate.
 
Ephemeral Content
Ephemeral Social Content 2018I’ve had multiple conversations with my children regarding ephemeral content – content that goes away after the viewer sees it or after a maximum time period of 24 hours. These conversations are usually centered around the negative aspects of ephemeral content, but with the target of 2018 being the younger millennials and generation Z, we need to focus on why it is becoming so popular.
 
What are the advantages of ephemeral content? Content that is short-lived is considered more authentic – longer ads lose focus and tend to push customers to purchase. It also ignites a FOMO (fear of missing out) which results in quick decision making and impulse purchasing, which is an advantage when marketing your products.
 
As we say goodbye to another year and spend the next few weeks analyzing, crunching numbers and planning for what is to come, don’t overlook many of the things you may not think you are ready for yet.
 
To learn more about how we can help prepare you for the social trends of 2018, contact Jane Cirigiliano at 800-606-1610.
 
 
 
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
 
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