Website Launch: Premier Bride

The homepage of premierbride.com.

Anyone who’s planned a wedding before knows the process can be overwhelming. With so many vendors to choose from it can be hard to know where to begin and where’s the best place to find them. If you’re in the same boat or know someone who’s getting married, direct them to Premier Bride, one of our latest websites! Bringing couples and wedding vendors together is what Premier Bride does best. 

Premier Bride is an award-winning publishing and marketing venue that helps couples plan their wedding locally. They are a company that operates with both the engaged couple and wedding service providers in mind. They offer real time wedding information, helpful tips, photo galleries, and quality wedding services. 

We started working with Premier Bride at the beginning of this year. The main goal with this website was capturing couples who are planning their wedding. Premier Bride wanted engaged couples to use their site throughout the whole process of them planning their big day. One of the problems with their old site is users would get stuck in circles when they were trying to find vendors. The navigation wasn’t clean, and as a result, it left users confused. Additionally, Premier Bride wanted to make sure vendors knew couples are using their site as an active source. 

Premier Bride’s Old Site

Here’s what Premier Bride’s old site looked like.

The homepage on Premier Bride's last website.

Premier Bride’s old homepage.

The drop down menu that would appear when you would look for your wedding location on the old site.

Here’s the drop down menu that would appear when you would look for your wedding location on the old site.

The old homepage for Premier Bride Boston.

The former page for Premier Bride Boston. You would look for vendors in your area by utilizing the left sidebar. 

Premier Bride’s New Navigation

The homepage of premierbride.com.

Premier Bride’s new homepage. 

We wanted to keep the homepage simple since Premier Bride is a multi-site website. There is a site for each Premier Bride location under one WordPress installation. Users go to the location that most applies to them. 

The homepage for Premier Bride’s Boston site.

The mega menu for Premier Bride's new website.

We decided to keep the navigation simple too. Local Wedding Vendors and Advice  Planning is the only place where users get a drop down menu. Users can also use the search bar to find vendors that best match their wedding vision.

The wedding ceremonies and chapel page of Premier Bride.

The Boston Ceremony Sites & Chapels web page. Users scroll down to view all the venues in the Boston area. Users also have the ability to enter their zip code or filter A-Z.

A New Aesthetic 

Phil Condon, the developer for this project, explains “we had to develop one market theme that all of the sites share. Because WordPress (the content management platform we used to build the site) can pull dynamic content, it makes each site unique. Each site uses a database that pulls the content onto the pages.” 

“Premier Bride wanted a traditional wedding feel with a modern design. They wanted a design that would make them stand out from other wedding planners,” described designer, Jose Gonzalez. To capture this, Jose decided to let the photos of couples getting married and the cursive font in the heading tags do much of the story telling.

“I think it’s cool each site has the same bones, but they can all be tweaked to be their own unique site. Every site offers a new user experience,” said Lauren Termini, one of the project managers.  

Optimizing For Search Engines

Every site at Sperling Interactive is optimized for search engines. Our search engine marketing director, Ray St. Amand, stated the key for this multi-site was including locations in the meta titles. A meta title is the name of a web page. The title is displayed in the browser and visitors and search engines read it. A mistake to avoid when creating a meta title is any keywords that are too vague. Adding the city or region into the meta titles for each Premier Bride site was important as it helps couples planning their weddings in that location find Premier Bride. 

The catering page on Premier Bride's website.

Boston Catering-Beverage is the meta title for this page. 

To show Premier Bride’s effectiveness to wedding service providers, Ray put UTM codes on the vendors’ links. A UTM code is code added to the end of a URL that tracks the performance of a campaign. Through a UTM code, a vendor can see who came to their site via Premier Bride. 

After building the websites for several event venues like the Hawthorne Hotel, Danversport Yacht Club, and Publick House Historic Inn it was fun creating the website for the ultimate wedding planner. It was a large project for sure, but one we were up for the challenge of!   

To learn about other websites we launched this year, check out here and here.

Marketing Tips For Home Service Businesses

A modern kitchen.

We’ve done blog posts before where we gave away our top marketing tips for some of the main industries we serve- schools and travel and tourism. Today we wanted to write a blog post for another industry we do a lot of work with- home service businesses- and how companies in that industry can better market themselves. 

Get Your Home Service Business Featured In A Magazine 

We may live in a digital world, but print is not dead. Many homeowners get inspiration for their homes in home magazines be it the publication’s website or a hard copy of their latest issue.

There are a ton of home and garden magazines out there, and while it can be tempting to go with the national, household name magazine, there are also popular online magazines, regional magazines, and blogs that may be interested in displaying your work and whom can help build traction for your home service business. 

When it comes to pitching, we advise doing one pitch at a time. You want to wow the editor with a customized pitch. The worst thing for editors are pitches that feel automated and impersonal. You should deliver your pitch via email as most editors don’t like cold calls. Make the pitch short and to the point. Another thing you’ll want to attach to your pitch is high resolution photos of the project. 

To increase your visibility to the publication’s editor, keep your website up to date with fresh content. You want to make your home service business look like it’s in business and popular.   

Have A Pinterest Account 

Speaking of places homeowners like to get inspiration, Pinterest is another fantastic outlet for home services businesses, particularly interior designers, architects, and construction companies. Use your Pinterest account to showcase your own projects as well as outside projects that your business could either replicate or your target audience would be into. When it comes to content on your website, don’t forget pins. A pin is any image or video that someone chooses to save to Pinterest. We advise all of the photos on your blog posts should have pins. 

Blog

Just like print isn’t dead, neither is blogging. Blogging prevents your website from looking stale and it impacts SEO. Every blog post you write is a chance to rank for certain keywords that are relevant to your home service business. You will want to put your keywords in the post’s title tag, meta description, heading tags, and the content. 

Location Focused Keywords

An important thing to note is that most home service businesses tend to service a particular area. If that’s the case for your home service business, you might want to have the region or town/ cities you service in your keywords. 

Create Content Around Design Trends 

Talking about design trends on social media and in your blog posts is an excellent way to show your up-to-date and know all the trends. This is a great idea for architects, interior designers, and remodelers/contractors.

Instagram

Instagram is the most visual social media platform and is a must for home service businesses. Like home magazines and Pinterest, home owners love getting inspiration from this source. You can post photos of projects as well as create mood boards.

360° Virtual Tours

As we blogged about earlier this year, VR experiences are on the rise. Nothing will wow prospectives more than the ability to feel like they have stepped inside foot one of your projects.

Give A Sneak Peak At Projects In The Works

Utilize social media to give followers a sneak peak of projects in the works. People will like being along for the ride, and it’ll give you a chance to show prospects your creative process. 

Invest In Job Signs

This traditional marketing outlet never goes out of style. If you’re a home service business whose work appear on the outside of a house,  a sign outside is a great way to get people who pass by and are impressed with your work the chance to contact you. 

Do A Newsletter

An alternate way to get people to know about your home service business and work is newsletters. You can use newsletters to spotlight projects, share blog posts, and feature testimonials. 

At Sperling Interactive, we have worked with an array of home service businesses. We’d be happy to consult with you over the marketing strategy for your home service business at (978) 304-1730.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

You have probably heard the term ‘inbound marketing’ before. It has become quite the buzzword, and right now it is the future of marketing. 

How Inbound Marketing Differs From Outbound Marketing 

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting prospects to your business’s products or services through content that educates and delights. Inbound marketing is an online marketing strategy that entails your website, blog, social media, email marketing efforts, etc. 

Outbound marketing is often viewed as traditional marketing. Tactics for outbound marketing include telemarketing, radio/TV, trade shows, seminars, emails to purchased lists etc. 

Why Outbound Marketing Is Becoming Less Effective 

Outbound marketing is called outbound because it is all about pushing your message out there in the hopes of it resonating. Over time, this strategy has become less effective. As this article from Hubspot states, because people are becoming more and more inundated with outbound marketing efforts, they are starting to utilize ways to block them out like caller ID, spam filtering, and Sirius satellite radio. 

Outbound has a low ROI because it targets everyone and anyone. Inbound targets the right type of traffic to your brand. You attract these people by knowing and understanding your ideal buyers. 

Why Inbound Marketing Is The Future

As we noted above, inbound marketing requires the Internet, and as a society we are using the Internet now more than ever before. An estimated 1.92 billion people are expected to purchase something online in 2019

The Internet provides buyers with instant information gratification. They can learn just about anything there is to know about a brand from their pricing and reviews to their turnaround on delivery and staff in just a few clicks. 

Another reason why inbound marketing is the future is customer buyer behavior is changing. Brand trust has never been more important. Due to the Internet, consumers have more options than ever before and they can also compare those options. 

Due to the political climate, people also caring more about authenticity and integrity from brands.  As this article from Crowdspring states, millennials in particular have a deep distrust of traditional advertising. A study found that only 1% of the millennials polled would trust a brand because of their advertising. This generation alone is one reason why outbound marketing is becoming less popular. 

The Different Types Of Inbound Marketing 

There is no single inbound marketing tactic that works well on its own. While we rely on SEO to draw visitors from an organic search, SEO doesn’t work if there’s no content on a site. Without social media promotion, blogs don’t reach interested people. 

Inbound marketing is about targeting verses advertising to the masses. In inbound marketing, the mission is to represent customers and be found verses representing a company and finding customers. It’s 1:1 targeting verses mass advertising. 

Although it varies greatly from business to business, these days buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they before they engage with a vendor’s sales rep. In inbound-marketing, efforts build upon themselves over time. 

To wrap things up here’s why inbound marketing works: 

  • It Increases Brand Awareness 
  • Puts Customers In the Driver’s Seat
  • Is Fact-Based Over Intuitive-Based 
  • Improves SEO


At its core, inbound marketing is curating a strategic content strategy tailored for each stage of the buyer’s journey. By doing so, you are providing valuable content towards each specific user. 

At Sperling Interactive we offer search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media, blogging, and email marketing. We work hard to implement inbound marketing for each of these services for each of our clients.  To speak with us, call (978) 304-1730. 

How To Create An Effective Facebook Business Page

Scrabble tiles on a table that spell out 'Facebook.'

Facebook may not be the youngest social media platform out there, but it is still the king with 2.41 billion monthly active users. Despite the controversies the company dealt with last year, it is clear with that stat Facebook is not going anywhere soon.

Facebook isn’t just a place for you to see what is going on with your friends and family; it is an invaluable tool for brands to interact with their audience, and we still find there are a lot of small businesses out there that don’t have a business Facebook business page. For those who haven’t set one up yet, today we’ll be exploring how to create an effective Facebook business page.

Create A Business Page, Not A Profile

While a Facebook business page looks like a regular profile, it is different. For one, it has business tools like Facebook advertising and analytics/insights. 

Another reason why your business shouldn’t have a regular profile is people can’t ‘like’ you. They have to ‘friend’ you.

Thirdly, it’s a policy on Facebook’s terms of services that you can’t use a personal account to represent something other than a person. If you’ve been posting content for your business under a profile, here’s how to convert to business Facebook page. Here’s how to convert your profile to a page.

Claim Your Page’s URL

Upon creating your page, Facebook will assign a long number to your page’s URL. To make your page easier to share and find, be sure to customize the URL with your organization’s name. Here’s how to change your Facebook page URL.

Have A Captivating Cover Photo

Facebook lets you upload a unique cover photo for your business page. The desktop dimensions for a cover photo is 820 pixels wide by 312 pixels tall and the dimensions, for a mobile device it’s 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall. A cover photo can be an image, graphic, or a video. Regardless of what you choose, your cover photo should be branded and represent your business. Even though your cover photo is bigger than your profile picture, don’t upload a cover photo that has too much text or clutter.

Choose An Appropriate Profile Picture

Your profile picture is one of the most important aspects of your Facebook business page so choose your image appropriately. It’s your thumbnail image after all. Most businesses opt for their logo, which we would also recommend. If you’re a solopreneur or consultant, you may want to go with a professional head shot since you’re  the face of their business. The minimum dimensions for a Facebook profile picture is 180 pixels x 180 pixels.

Optimize Your About Section

Your About section is the one first places people go to learn more about your business. Do a thorough job with the About section page. You want people to feel like they know what your business is about and who it’s for. Take your time filling out your description ( you have 155 characters maximum), categories, contact information, location, hours, and pricing.

Add Milestones

The milestones feature allows you to highlight some of your biggest business accomplishment like awards won, product released, and other major events. Be sure to add your milestones to your about section.

Earn The Very Responsive Badge

If you respond quickly to messages, Facebook can reward you with a badge that reads ‘responds very quickly to messages’ below your cover photo. You earn that badge if your response rate is 90% or if you have responded to messages within 15 minutes over the last seven days. If you’re not responsive with messages, don’t worry, nothing will appear.

Post At YOUR Optimal Times

As we noted above, Facebook business pages come with some handy business tools like analytics/insights. Be sure to look at your insights every week to not only get insights into what content to post, but to learn when is the most optimal time to post for your audience. 

Have Facebook Friends Like The Page

The best place to get your first fans is by inviting your friends and family on Facebook to like your page. They’re already fans of you as an individual so they’re bound to want to engage with your business.

Promote Your Facebook Page On Your Website & Email Signature

To acquire even more fans, we recommend promoting your Facebook business page on your website and email signature.

Always Use Images In Posts

Images make a big difference in an overcrowded social media feed. Visuals attracts followers, engage followers, and makes your post all that more memorable.

Boost Posts That Get The Most Engagement

To make the most of your content that gets the most engagement, boost those posts. Boosting ensures a post will appear in front of a larger audience that isn’t following you but it bound to like your content due to their demographics and/or interests.

If you don’t have a Facebook business page and would like help making one that delights, contact us today at (978) 304-1730. At Sperling Interactive, we’re experts at social media strategy.

Non-Keyword Related Things That Hurt SEO

A graphic of a smartphone and laptop with with analytics on their screens.

For many non-search engine marketing professionals, they’re often told keywords are the most important component of SEO. But over recent years, having a website that offers a positive user experience has been proven to be more important than relevant keywords. There are many things that impact positive user experience and below are twelve things that hurt SEO.

The Site Isn’t ADA Compliant

ADA stands for The Americans with Disabilities Act. The act was established in 1990 and it prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including the Internet. 

For a website to be ADA compliant, people with disabilities must be able to read and understand the content on the site. This means a transcript for audio-only media and closed captions on videos. Website ADA compliance also includes page contrast, the placing of descriptive text behind images, and organizing the site in a way that is easy for screen readers to access the content in a logical way. A site that isn’t ADA compliant hurts SEO because the site isn’t accessible to everyone.

If you want to learn more about ADA compliance, be sure to check out the seminar we are presenting in October at the Enterprise Center.

There’s No Blog Or Blog Posts

A blog is another thing that provides sites with a positive user experience and by not having one can it can hurt SEO. 

Blogs provide  positive user experience because they help build brand trust. Regular blog posts give sites fresh content, and by not utilizing one, it can give users the impression your site hasn’t been updated in a long time. 

Another way blogs improve SEO is you’re able to rank for long-tail keywords. Longer, more specific keywords are good for businesses that are small and have big name brands as competitors. Half of all searches are for terms that are four words or longer.

Thirdly, a quality blog gives sites more reasons to link back to your site.

No Social Media Posts

Just like with blogging, by not being active with social media you are hurting your SEO. An active and engaged social media presence sends search engines the signal you have good authority. Additionally, social sharing drives traffic to your website and social media profiles rank in search engines.

Slow Page Speed

With positive user experience in mind, slow page speed greatly hurts SEO. In today’s instant gratification world, people are impatient and want information fast. A slow page speed also means search engines can’t crawl as many pages.

Technical Errors

Technical errors like broken links and missing pages hurt SEO. You don’t want people coming to your site only to find the thing they need is broken.  You can use Google Search Console to see if there are any technical issues with your site.

No SSL Certificate  

Naturally, Google prefers sending users to trusted sites. Standing for secure sockets layer, an SSL certificate creates higher consumer confidence and encrypts form data. You can tell your site has an SSL certificate by looking up at your address box and seeing if you have ‘https’ in your URL. Last year, Google started labeling HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Spam Comments

Spam comments are something every blog deals with, and unfortunately it can hurt SEO. Spam comments hurt SEO because Google considers where your site links to as a strong indication of what kind of site you are. The comments discredit you and impact your site’s authority. Be sure to always monitor your comments so you can avoid looking spammy. And remember, it’s your site and you can decide whether those comments appear. 

Poor Spelling & Grammar

You know how you can tell you’ve received a spam email by its poor spelling and grammar alone, well search engines are also wary of sites with these mistakes. According to Search Engine Land, sites with higher ranked pages tend to have less spelling mistakes and grammatical errors than lower ranked sites.

Too Many Page Links

Pages with too many links are not user-friendly. When you have too many links, you give Google the impression your content isn’t valuable and you’re trying to stir users to somewhere else. Always make sure your links are relevant and are not going to distract users from the content on the original page.

Duplicate Content

Google loves original content and sees duplicate content as a shortcut. When updating your site or adding new pages, double check that a significant amount of content is not anywhere else on your site. If you have some duplicate content on your website because it is useful for users, put ‘no index’ or ‘no follow’ on those pages so that they don’t hurt your SEO.

At Sperling Interactive, all of our work is aimed at creating positive user experiences. Whether we built your website or not, we can optimize your site for search engines and provide positive user experiences. To learn more about the work we do, give us a call at (978) 304-1730.

How To Optimize Your Landing Page

I spoke to a colleague recently that works for a corporate company as a loan originator. They mentioned having a landing page through their company and were looking for ways to better optimize their page, both from a conversion perspective and an SEO perspective. In today’s blog post, we’ll be breaking down what a landing page is, what  landing page optimization is, and how to optimize your landing page for both conversions and SEO.

What Is A Landing Page?

Sometimes referred to as a capture page, destination page, or a static page, a landing page is a standalone page web users are brought to after clicking on a search result, online ad, or the link in an eblast, newsletter, or social media post. Landing pages educate, encourage, and attract. Lead generation is the most common goal of a landing page.

Below are screenshots of landing pages we’ve created.

The landing page for Destination Salem's free travel guides.

The Cape Cod landing page for SunPower by BlueSel.

 

The contact section from BlueSel's landing page.

 

A landing page for the nonprofit, Bridgewell.

 

The section of Bridgwell's landing page that describes their services.

 

The 'Request More Information' section from Bridgewell's landing page.

 

The landing page for Be Better Now.

 

The testimonial and special offer from the Be Better Now landing page.  

What Is Landing Page Optimization? 

Landing page optimization is the process of enhancing or improving each element on your landing page to increase conversions and improve SEO. The biggest reason why landing pages fail is they don’t meet their audience’s needs. Unintuitive design, non-descriptive or misleading headlines, unrecognizable calls-to-action are all contributing factors. 

To work effectively, landing pages need to be curated for a specific audience and have a clear call-to-action. In today’s digital world, landing pages are often the first exchange people have with a business. They most often offer users something in return for their contact information, and we highly recommend businesses apply that to theirs to offer value. These offers are usually ebooks, subscription to the organization’s newsletter, or a free trial of a product.

If a landing page is meant to be read or convert, a good bounce rate is 60%-80%. If your goal is to drive traffic or have the user visit multiple web pages, a healthy bounce rate would be between 30%-60%.

Optimized landing pages can improve the overall ranking of the website they are on and can give more insights to Google on what your organization is about.

How To Optimize Landing Pages For Conversions 

Use Your Data

As we said before, the biggest reason why landing pages flop is they fail to meet their target audience’s needs. Design your landing pages based on the information you already have about your audience. Be sure to use the information you have of your audience from your website. It’s important to note that you make the most improvements to your landing pages by pushing them live and then making tweaks as insights and data come in about your audience.

Limit the Number of Calls-To-Actions 

You don’t want to overwhelm web users. Stick with one call-to-action and keep your text limited. People only read 20% of the content on a webpage so long sentences and paragraphs don’t work well. Just have the bare necessities.

Have Consistency

You need to make sure the messaging, design, and tone matches the search result, ad, social media post, or newsletter that brings visitors to the landing page. You want your page to match the expectations the visitor had based on their previous interaction.

Write A Catchy Headline

The amount of time it takes you to create a landing page is the amount of time it  should take you to think about the headline. Your headline is just as important, if not more important, than your landing page itself. Because no one’s going to click to your page if there’s no incentive to leave the page they are on. 

Keep The Most Important Information Above The Fold

The term ‘above the fold’ comes from the newspaper world. Digital folds are the points at which the user must scroll to gain more information.

Put In Testimonials

Testimonials help build trust. They are proof people love your business and they can also let visitors determine if they are the right fit to work with you.

How To Optimize Landing Pages For SEO

Have A Custom URL

A custom URL containing certain keywords can make the page more alluring for search engines. Make sure the main keyword for your page is in your URL.

Determine Relevant Keywords

Keywords are the words that you want search engines to rank your page for. You can do a Google search or use Search Console to determine the best keyword for your landing page.

Strategically Place Your Keywords

Once you determine your keywords, you’re going to want to place them strategically on your landing page. The areas you should consider are title tags, meta description, and your copy.

Have A Fast Page

Page speed has never been more important. We see fast page speed as one of the six pillars that makes up SEO. People will X out of your landing page fast if the page load is slow.

Don’t Do Once & Forget


SEO requires ongoing work. Check out this blog post we published back in May to learn why. As such, you want to make sure you use Google Analytics and Google Search Console once a month to see how your landing page is performing and how it can be better optimized. These two tools can inform you what people are searching for to find your landing page, how long users stay on the page, and if there are any technical issues with the page that need fixing.

At Sperling Interactive, we are masters at crafting optimized landing pages for conversions and SEO. We’d be happy to perform an audit of your landing page and give you feedback on how to improve it. We can also create a landing page for you and run a campaign around it. Give us a call at (978) 304-1730 to learn more about us and how we can serve you.

Website Launch: Topsfield Fair

We are so lucky! A couple of months ago, we blogged about redesigning the website for our existing client, Pest-End Exterminators, and today we are happy to announce that we have redesigned another website for an existing client, the Topsfield Fair

Known as America’s Oldest County Fair, the Topsfield Fair is an annual fair that takes place in Topsfield, Massachusetts. It’s a ten day extravaganza that ends on Columbus Day. Started in 1820 by the Essex County Agricultural Society, the Topsfield Fair was once a one-day cattle show. Today, the fair draws 450,000 to 500,000 visitors each year and has carnival rides and food, farm animals, live entertainment, and of course the Great Pumpkin Weigh Off!

Their Old Site

We designed their previous website back in 2014. Below are some screenshots from the former site.

The homepage of the Topsfield Fair's last site.

Another screenshot of the Topsfield Fair's old site.

The facility section of the old Topsfield Fair site.

The admissions section of the Topsfield Fair site.

Given their old site was made five years ago, it was time for a new one. The Topsfield Fair wanted a refresh as well as increased user experience and usability with their new site.  Ultimately, they wanted to make it easier for people to find what they were looking for without having to scour the site or Internet for answers.

The Creative Process

According to designer, Brady Hall, the challenge with this project was serving the site’s multiple audiences. “We hypothesized the target audience is parents, grandparents, nannies, and babysitters. Essentially, parents or guardians from the ages of 25 to 70. But ultimately, I wanted to design the site as if the kid is there, looking over the parent or guardian’s shoulder as they plan their trip to the fair. So as much as I had to make the site informative and user-friendly, I also needed to make sure the site had a fun look for kids and adults alike.” 

To help him, Hall looked at the websites of other state and county fairs. Then he looked at giant fairs and festivals like Six Flags and Hershey Park to see how they displayed information. “I really took a lot from their usage of hierarchy in font weights, color coordinations with specific pages, and the flow of the pages,” Hall explained. He incorporated a mega-menu to make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. 

When a user hovers over the mega menu, the various pages turn yellow, Topsfield’s other brand color. “The yellow is such a classic color of the fair-but it is an accent color and should be used as such-to highlight parts,” Hall informed. The use of yellow certainly helps users with seeing where they are on the site.

The new homepage for the Topsfield Fair site.

Another screenshot of the new Topsfield Fair homepage.

The new navigation for the Topsfield Fair site.

The education section of the Topsfield Fair site.

The Great Pumpkin Weigh-In section of the new Topsfield Fair site.

While our agency has become known for web design and development, photography is what grew our business. Founder/director Mike Sperling photographed events when he started Sperling Interactive in 2008 and one of his earliest events was the Topsfield Fair. With the new website, we incorporated photography from recent years. 

Our project manager/photographer, Lauren Termini, stated “the fair itself is highly visual – with lights, sounds, animals, food – so we were able to get really creative with the new site. With their new online presence, I am looking forward to photographing this year’s fair with their new site in mind.” 

Not only is the site playful and informative, it’s easy for the Topsfield Fair to use. Developer Mark LeBlanc shared, “the organization of the content management is easy enough for people to make edits. So the client can edit on their own.”  We developed the website in WordPress. Not only is WordPress easy to build websites with and edit content through, you can design customizable sites through it. 

If you haven’t been to the Topsfield Fair before, you don’t want to miss this upcoming season. Click here to purchase your ticket!

 

Interview With Our Project Manager, Lauren Termini

This year we hired our second project manager. Her name is Lauren Termini. You may been greeted by her either at our front door or over the phone. Lauren procures, plans, and executes website projects and advertising collateral. Not only that, she also photographs all our clients’ photographic needs from events and meetings to head shots. Lauren is hard-working, organized, and super friendly. We are so glad Lauren joined us in January and are excited for her to tell you more about herself today.

A head shot of Sperling Interactive's account manager/photographer, Lauren Termini.

Where are you from?

I always find this to be a tricky question because I have lived in many different places throughout my life. I was born in Las Vegas, and before my family settled in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania in 1997, I lived in San Antonio, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Avondale, Pennsylvania. Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania is located in the northeastern part of the state just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

What is being a project manager like?

Being a project manager is fun, challenging, and full of variety. I really enjoy that every day is different, and I think my favorite part is immersing myself in, and learning about different industries in order to help each one of our unique clients.

What has been your favorite Sperling project to date?

Lauren: The Topsfield Fair’s new website. While overwhelming, the site has been really fun to recreate. The fair itself is highly visual – with lights, sounds, animals, food – so we were able to get really creative with the new site. With their new online presence, I am looking forward to photographing this year’s fair with their new site in mind.

Where did you fall in love with photography?

I cannot remember exactly where I fell in love with photography, but it was around sophomore year of high school when I enrolled in the Intro to Photography class as an art elective. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an artist, and after taking all three photography classes my high school had to offer, it was an easy decision to apply early action to RIT’s Photographic Illustration program, specifically majoring in Photojournalism with a minor in Journalism.

What are your favorite things to shoot?

Wow, tough question. I love to travel, so I would have to say that photographing while I am traveling is the best, because it’s all new and exciting. As I have gotten older I have become more confident in photographing people, and I feel I do a great job at making people feel comfortable. While fun, people are a challenge!

How do you manage to run a successful photography business alongside a project management role?

Coffee, at least seven hours of sleep a night, and when I have a day with nothing on the calendar, I make sure to take full advantage of it. I rarely think about work and emails on those days as otherwise I’d burn out!

What do you like to do for fun?

Travel is near the top of the list, but I also enjoy running, eating/trying new restaurants (I am a huge foodie), visiting breweries, reading and I recently have started archery.

What is something no one knows about you?

I can walk on my hands and I used to be a competitive gymnast. Not many people in my adult-life know that about me because I ended my career when I was 17, but I still very much view myself as a gymnast, and probably always will.

We have done two other employee spotlights this summer. Be sure to check out our interview with our COO, Rachel Grubb, and our lead web developer, Phil Condon.

How to Have Brand Consistency

Work space with laptop, coffee, smartphone, and phone. The laptop is open to a graphic that reads 'brand.'

The more consistent you are with every aspect of your brand- messaging, style, colors, fonts, offerings, etc.- the more likely you are to build and maintain brand trust because consistency makes you look professional, authentic, and dependable. You don’t want your brand to be to your audience’s interpretation. You want everyone in your target market to have a clear idea of you, and not only that, be excited about your offerings! In today’s blog post, we will be covering four ways to have brand consistency.

Have A Brand Guide 

Every major brand has a brand guide and so should small and midsize businesses. A brand guide is a guide that dictates how branding elements should be used internally and externally to maintain brand consistency. Sections you want to include in your brand guide are voice and tone, brand colors and fonts, media formatting, and photography and graphic styles.  You want every time your brand is on display- be it your website, business cards, email signatures, letterheads, brochures, social media, blog, or signage- to be in sync.

Create Brand Consistency With Content Marketing  

Studies show that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates approximately three times as many leads. With statistics like that, it’s impossible to ignore content marketing as a marketing strategy. Not only that, content marketing is a chance to have brand consistency because you’re able to educate your audience and discuss your brand values. 

If you’re new to content marketing, here are some questions to ask yourself that can help you generate content:


Who is my audience?
What is my audience’s pain points?
How can I help my audience? 

Don’t Forget Your Brand Personality 

Your business is a living, breathing thing, and as such, it has a personality like any living being does. Be sure your brand personality comes alive in your logo and messaging.

Even though every marketing outlet has a different personality, as this article from ClearVoice states, “your messaging on LinkedIn may be less casual or more professional, but it shouldn’t sound like it’s coming from a different brand altogether. Think about it this way: There is the ‘at work’ you and the ‘at home or with friends’ you. Your personality is the same, but your mannerisms adjust to the context.”

Don’t Try Everything

In our last blog post, Marketing to Different Generations, we mentioned how every generation (Baby Boomers, Gen Xs, Millennials, Gen Zs) are all a bit different, and as such, how they are marketed to should be different. Don’t feel pressure to try every marketing outlet. We’ve all got marketing budgets. It’s important to pour your marketing efforts and energy into the outlets that make the most sense for your brand.

If your primary audience is baby boomers, don’t feel guilty if you’re not on the Instagram train. That platform draws younger audiences, and as such, would not make the most sense for your brand. If you’re feeling stuck on where to put your marketing dollars, ask yourself: does it make sense for my brand to hang out here? Remember what we said above brands being living, breathing things. Think of marketing outlets as places your brand hangs out. 

Have A Brand Experience 

Brand consistency isn’t just the marketing department’s responsibility. These days branding is also the customer’s experience. Or should we say the ‘brand experience.’ Every department in your company from upper management and marketing to sales, HR, and customer service should know and understand your brand’s values and mission. They should make sure their performance reflects what your brand is about. This integrated  branding approach can ensure you’re providing a positive and authentic experience to customers. 

At Sperling Interactive, we work hard to make sure our clients have brand consistency. From the content on their website, the layouts in their print collaterals, to their graphics on and offline, everything should be consistent. Call us at (978) 304-1730 to learn about the brand guides we create for businesses and nonprofits. 

 

How to Market to Different Generations

Graphic of four different age generations; baby boomers, gen x, gen z, millennials

As the world of marketing continues to expand, the ability to market to distinct niches is increasing. While everyone is unique and has their own preferences, research has shown that generational groups have a lot in common. This helps with marketing. By focusing on the different generations, a lot can be taken away for marketing. Having certain generations as target markets can save money and time by knowing the kind of people who will be receptive to particular ways of marketing. 

Target marketing is beneficial for learning about which specific customers the marketing should be aiming for. By choosing people with a shared factor, such as by location, gender, or interests, marketing can be more effective by focusing efforts only on those demographics. When thinking about the marketing, two important questions businesses should ask are “Who are the current customers like?” and “Who would you like your customers to be like?”. If there is any difference between the two answers, target marketing can help to get them more aligned together.

Different age groups can be a great place to start. The four main generations are Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964),  Generation X (born between 1965-1981), Millennials (born between 1981-1995), and Generation Z born (between 1996-present). Each generation is examined to see how they compare with particular marketing styles.

Baby Boomers

Of the generations, this group is the oldest in age and can be the least technology savvy. They can be found reading print more than any other generation. Thus, marketing in newspapers and magazines can best be applied to this age group. They also can be big fans of guides, catalogs, and books. Major pieces of technology, such as the internet and smartphones, were developed later in their lives. This explains why it took longer for Baby Boomers to overcome the learning curve and to implement gadgets into their everyday lives.

Still, Baby Boomers are emerging online and their online presence is on the rise. Many have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends online. Facebook and LinkedIn are the top platforms to find this age group. Baby Boomers emphasis on relationships can also be linked to how they like to have brand trust and brand loyalty with companies. Content with clear and brief information are delivered best over desktops and tablets. 

Generation X

As one of the middle generations, this age group is an assortment of people. As a result, the ways Generation X likes to be marketed can be comparable to Baby Boomers and/or Millenials. Although they are the smallest age group of people, Generation X should not be overlooked. They have the highest average income on the national level, which is reciprocated in their top-tier purchasing power

They use tablets, desktops, and mobile devices. Videos can be a nice interchangeable medium to use in this instance since it can show well on all devices. Additionally, blogs can be sought after for an organized and interesting application of information. Generation X still likes to rely on email to stay updated. 

Millennials

This generation is at the heart of the smartphone craze. They have the highest percentages of smartphone owners with 92% and laptop owners with 70%. Millennials have been the trendsetters for everyday technology, especially known for using phone apps, for anything from using social media to checking their bank accounts. Their ease with the constantly changing technology causes this generation to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The fast-paced environment is what they are used to. 

On the other hand, they are used to seeing a lot of media, so they can require more to entice them in comparison to the other generations. Thus, they want to be able to get information concisely. Information should be directly to the point. Still, Millennials often like to see creative and/or interactive media. Imagery can help attract their attention. They also engage with incentives, such as sales and offers. 

Don’t consider calling this generation because it is likely they will not answer the phone. Although they can often be found on their phones a lot, they still will not pick up calls. Texting or emailing are preferred in order to have clear and concise correspondences. 

Generation Z

As the youngest of the four generations, this group has grown up around technology. By being the generation to which it has become second nature to know how to navigate technology, they are most likely to catch up to Millenials with their mobile and online trends. Generation Z has another world available to them through technology, as seen through their vibrant social media presence; Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, and Musical.ly. are among their top mobile apps. 

Generation Z can work well with more creative content, such as through social media, quizzes, memes, and other graphics. They also are the most likely to make purchases from their mobile devices, such as from food apps or online clothing sites. It is important to stay up to date with popular trends in order to keep up to date with Generation Z.

Always Have a Plan

Target marketing to any of the four generations offers a concise plan to work with. Each of these generations’ expectations, likes, and dislikes provides information to strategically use for marketing. Considering the different elements of the generations makes sense based on how they behave and navigate life. It is important to realize who you are marketing to through different advertisements. Digital pieces will attract different people than those that gravitate to print pieces, which is what generational marketing is all about. The goal is to better end up understanding the connection between both the marketing and the customers.

 

This is the second blog post by marketing intern Maura Honan. The first blog post was about brand trust, you can read it here.