Video: Demand Generation and Websites at Walker Sands

A strong web presence and brand awareness on the right platforms can be make or break for companies in a digital age. Walker Sands Digital offers demand generation services that drive awareness and impressive results for B2B technology and professional service companies.

Check out the Demand Generation at Walker Sands Video, to hear our VP of Digital Marketing John Fairley, and Senior Digital Account Executive Katie Donabedian, explain how our paid, social, SEO and content teams collaborate to create thoughtful SEO programs. Watch the video to learn how the team utilizes relationships formed with clients and B2B lead generation tactics to drive quality leads:

Adopting a good SEO program is half the challenge of generating quality leads. In conjunction with personalized programs, we create websites that align with our clients’ business goals. Through the strategic integration of cognitive UX, visual communication and content, our teams work creatively to deliver a user experience that is intuitive and optimized for conversions.

In the Websites at Walker Sands video, our Senior Director of Digital Marketing Matt Brown, and Design Lead Jillian Kent, discuss how we work together with open client communication to bring web projects to life.

Today’s digital landscape demands an effective digital lead generation program coupled with a compelling website. Talk to us about your business goals and learn how Walker Sands Digital can work with you to reach your B2B business goals.

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Video: Public Relations and Integrated Campaigns at Walker Sands

At Walker Sands, our public relations efforts go beyond writing pitches and earning placements. Programs include researching and executing strategies that are tailored to resonate with target audiences.

Likewise, our teams are experts in a multitude of B2B technology industries and have the knowledge to create messaging and creative initiatives that align with our clients’ business goals. PR teams do so by cultivating relationships with journalists and clients to secure top-tier placements and generate measurable awareness.

In the Public Relations at Walker Sands video, Account Director, Allison Ward, and Senior Media Relations Specialist, Kyle Rall, share their tactics to staying two steps ahead of the curve in their respective industries. Watch the video to learn more on how teams support our clients and each other:

In addition to media relations and strategic PR programs, we create solutions for clients through integrated campaigns. Our public relations, demand generation and content development teams work harmoniously to create high visibility campaigns with a focus on engaging digital storytelling.

Watch the Integrated Campaigns at Walker Sands video to hear from Senior Content Strategist, Matilda Schieren, and Senior Designer, Ann Hagner, on how tackling the challenges of integrated campaigns is rewarding and discover highlights from their favorite projects here:

Strategic public relations and integrated, creative campaigns are needed to stand out in today’s crowded market place. Get in touch to learn how the Walker Sands’ approach can work for your B2B tech company.

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Rebranding or Website Redesign? How to Tell If You Need One, Both or Neither

Something’s wrong, but you’re not sure what. Your product/service is as good or better than anything else on the market. Your customers love you, but the sales pipeline is drying up and revenue growth is flagging. What’s missing?

In cases like these, the usual suspects are your brand and your website. They are both crucial to the success of your business. But it can be difficult to tell which one deserves an overhaul; if one is off, the other can suffer as well.

Before we help you decide whether your business needs a website redesign, a rebrand or both, let’s discuss what website redesigns and business rebrands actually are – and what it takes to see each project through.

What is a business rebrand?

When a business rebrands itself, it changes the way it presents itself to the public through every channel (not just the website). A rebrand can impact the design of the brand (logo, color palette, typography, photography, icons, etc.), as well as the messaging of the brand (company name, value proposition, slogan, content, voice & tone, etc.) to more competitively position itself in the marketplace.

Like website redesigns, company rebrands are initiated and shaped by business goals and market realities. After tobacco products were exposed for their inherent health risks, Philip Morris realized that its brand was as toxic as its cigarettes. The company underwent a full rebranding when it changed its name – and accompanying design and messaging – to Altria Group in 2003.

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2002

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Contrast that case with Google, which has essentially retained all of its design and messaging since emerging as a search engine, despite growing into a company that today has a hand in cell phones, home systems, business applications, cloud storage, driverless vehicles and more. Google’s periodic rebrands have included type changes and tweaked color palettes to keep up with design trends, along with other updates like redesigned favicons and new sub-brands to support products like Gmail.

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1998

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2017

A rebrand as subtle as Google’s can also be referred to as a “brand refresh,” but it’s important to remember that all rebrands exist somewhere on a spectrum. The elements that you reinvent, scrap, enhance, or keep as-is should always be considered within the context of your business goals.

Your corporate rebranding can enhance brand equity if it succeeds in attracting and retaining more customers, bolsters brand loyalty, and improves brand recognition. The rebranding decisions you make along the way will no doubt impact the design and/or messaging reflected on your website, but rebranding your business is not the same as redesigning your website.

What is a website redesign?

A website redesign is more than a new look. It’s a re-engineered website that is written, designed and developed to help your business accomplish specific goals. Priorities vary across businesses, but they can include:

  • Driving more traffic
  • Increasing user engagement
  • Generating more and/or higher-quality leads for your sales team

Clearly, these are KPIs that every business would love to see improve. Unfortunately, website redesigns don’t happen overnight. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what our own website redesign process looks like:

  • Stakeholder Surveys and Interviews
  • Competitive Analysis
  • UX and Information Architecture
  • Design and Content Creation
  • Programming and Implementation
  • Analytics and Marketing Automation Setup
  • Optimization for Search Engines
  • Final Go-Live Checklist and Launch

Each of those phases requires meetings, informal communication, research, management responsibilities and sub-tasks. The time it takes to complete any given website redesign project depends on a number of factors such as website size, number of stakeholders and technical complexity. But when your business is counting on a more productive website that supports business goals, the investment of time and effort is worth it.

Take the CloudCraze website redesign for example. Walker Sands Digital redesigned the e-commerce company’s website after they had just completed a rebranding. (Note the different logos.)

Before:
cloudcraze

After:
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Before the redesign, the CloudCraze website had a busy design, complicated user paths, and a relatively slow load speed. After the redesign, the CloudCraze website was clean, easy to use and fast to load. If you’d like the full story on how we did it, we encourage you to read the case study.

So, how do you tell if your business needs a rebranding, website redesign, or both? Here are a series of questions to help.

Does your business need a rebrand?

If you suspect that it’s actually a rebranding that your business needs, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Have the products or services we offer significantly changed since our last rebranding or inception?
  • Has our target audience evolved (demographics, perceptions, goals, budget, etc.)?
  • Is our brand out of step with current design trends and market expectations?
  • Is our messaging and/or design aesthetic inconsistent across channels (e.g., website, sales materials, business cards and email signature)?
  • Does our business lack a strong point of view?
  • Are our key audiences unable to understand what we do?
  • Are our key audiences unable to understand what we stand for?
  • Are our employees unable to consistently and succinctly say what it is that we do and the value we offer?
  • Are our internal marketing and sales teams asking for brand assets and guidelines to communicate with external audiences?
  • Is it difficult to distinguish our business from our competitors?
  • Is our brand more of a liability than an asset?

More than three yes’s indicate that you should probably consider a rebranding for your business.

Do you need a website redesign?

If you wonder whether it’s time to update your business website, ask yourself these questions:

  • Have we redesigned our website within the last three years?
  • Do we ever hear compliments about our website?
  • Does our website compare favorably to other websites in our industry?
  • Have we seen traffic to our website steadily increase over time?
  • Do our website pages load in 3 seconds or less across all devices?
  • Is our website mobile-friendly?
  • Does our website have SSL or HTTPS security?
  • Are visitors finding our website on search engines?
  • Are visitors converting on our website (e.g., submitting forms)?
  • Do our visitors convert at or above industry averages?
  • Is our website easy to navigate?
  • Are visitors staying on our website and clicking around?
  • Am I proud to share our website with prospects?

As you review your answers to the questions above, any more three no’s should have you considering a website redesign.

Check the foundation once more

After you ask yourself these questions, it’s important to consider whether the challenges you’re facing are related to your website, your brand, or your actual business. Your website and brand are both extensions of your core business, but rebranding and/or redesigning your website will have very little effect on your bottom line if fundamental business shortcomings are left unaddressed.

Gain new perspectives from colleagues

If your answers to the above questions have you leaning toward either (or both) a website redesign or a rebranding project, then it’s time to begin the conversation inside your organization. Canvas your colleagues across departments and levels of authority to get a sense of how important those initiatives are to them, and what they would want a website redesign or a rebranding to achieve.

Connect with the right partners

As consensus for a website redesign or company rebranding project builds, open up conversations with digital agencies and/or branding agencies. Ask them questions about their processes, experience in your industry, and how they measure success. This will get you started on the path to finding the right partner that can help you execute the right project. The investment of resources will be worth it, as it will allow you to best position your business for success in the years to come.

Looking for some inspiration?

Check out some of our favorite website redesigns and rebranding projects in our gallery of client work. If you’re interested in how Walker Sands Digital can help you reach your business goals with either a website redesign, rebrand or both, then you can get in touch with us here.

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Walker Sands’ New Whitepaper Outlines The B2B Approach to Influencer Marketing

Just about every business decision – no matter the magnitude or industry – hinges on a single key ingredient: trust.

The recommendations of individuals with significant industry and social followings carry heavy weight with customers, sparking a growing desire to capitalize on the credibility of an influencer’s backing. To help cultivate trust among potential customers, a growing number of B2B brands are wisely turning toward influencer marketing.

WS_whitepaper_Under-the-Influence_cover_300pxWhile sales professionals and marketing collateral can certainly help raise awareness of specific products or services, buyers inherently trust people over press releases. In fact, 84 percent of B2B buyers start the purchasing process with a referral.

In our new whitepaper, “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing,” we’ve outlined the steps you can take to bring influencer marketing to your business. From executing influencer marketing initiatives to measuring success, discover how our approach to B2B influencer marketing can jumpstart buyer interest in new products and initiatives.

Finding a fit

When done right, influencer marketing can be a win-win for both brands and the influencers they work with. Businesses have their messages amplified while influencers get their hands on data-based insights that can help grow their social following.

But as in any other relationship, fit is crucial.

Before reaching out to a potential influencer, take a few minutes to ask yourself, “Is this influencer’s content and audience relevant to my business?” Although it’s always tempting to pursue a well-known thought leader, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to make a big difference in your brand’s bottom line. Keep an eye out for influencers who regularly engage a large portion of your target audience using a tone that aligns with your brand.

Pulling the trigger

Once you’ve identified which influencers you’d like to work with, the next step is to set aside the time and budget needed to bring a campaign to life. Thinking about getting an influencer to promote your next product launch? We recommend spending at least two months researching and reaching out to relevant analysts. The more ambitious the influencer marketing initiative, the more time you’ll need.

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When it comes to budget, many of the same rules apply. If, for example, you want an influencer’s help producing a video, be prepared to pay more than you would for a simple mention in their blog post. While nurturing an organic influencer relationship may help you save on costs, it will also take more time. By developing a sound strategy for your campaign and clearly identifying the desired outcomes of the relationship, you can determine how much time and budget are needed to execute a successful campaign.

Measuring success

Measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaign will not only provide insight into an initiative’s ROI, but also highlight areas for improvement moving forward.

Since measurements can vary based on the type of influencer marketing investment, we’ve created a different set of criteria for both ongoing and campaign-based programs. From the frequency of influencer interactions to share of voice among target influencers, each data point can help determine whether the campaign helped move you one step closer toward your goals.

Eager to learn more about influencer marketing? Download our whitepaper, “Under the Influence: A B2B Brand Guide to Influencer Marketing,” and stay tuned for more content surrounding the B2B approach to influencer marketing.

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Chain Reaction: How Blockchain Is Infiltrating MarTech

Venture capital firms have invested more than $1.4 billion in blockchain since 2013, and more than 2,500 patents involving the technology have been filed in the same time frame. The implications for the financial world here are more obvious, but what does this trend mean for marketing? More than the average marketer may think, as it turns out.

Blockchain is the distributed ledger technology (DLT) behind bitcoin, the digital currency that’s used with encryption methods so that transactions are made without a middleman (banks). These days, businesses offering everyday consumer goods and services are increasingly accepting bitcoins. While Bitcoin was the first currency to be applied to this DLT strategy, it’s not the only currency that can be.

With Blockchain as the backbone of bitcoin, transactions are extremely fast and secure, all while being transparent. One shutterstock_548916601blockchain analyst has compared it to a Google Doc, with our mainstream system of transactions being a Microsoft Word document. The ledger is shared for all to see and updates automatically every ten minutes, all while being incorruptible.

Considering these strengths, it’s only a matter of time before blockchain technology changes the marketing landscape as we know it. Here are three realms that may see changes due to blockchain technology in the not-so-distant future.

Media buying

The idea of blockchain is already being applied to the world of ad buying, and isn’t so far away from being implemented on a larger scale. Nasdaq announced that in late 2017 it will launch an electronic marketplace using blockchain technology for the New York Interactive Ad Exchange.

The ledger will allow publishers, advertisers and media buyers to buy and sell ad space via an electronic marketplace. According to the NYIAE CEO Lou Severine, if this takes hold the way it’s intended, companies could implement the model across different forms of media including TV, radio and out-of-home markets.

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