For 11 consecutive years, Ideopia has won heavy metal in the Aster’s, a medical and healthcare marketing competition. Our haul for 2015 was two Silvers and a Gold. We’re revved, humbled, and happy for another excuse to party. Clients? Not so much. They like awards, too, but they’re much more excited about the results.
Actual performance has little to do with most award shows, including the Aster’s. So we thought you might enjoy the real story on the marketing challenges we faced, and how we stared them down with our work.
Silver for ophthalmic manufacturer website redesign
Bell, an ophthalmic distributor in Westville, New Jersey, won a Silver Aster for its new website.
The search engine optimization (SEO) challenge was to target the site to specific locations within a two-hour drive from Bell’s headquarters. Our client’s goal is to provide personal, on-site service to his customers.
This is a heavily populated area that includes Philadelphia, Baltimore and Manhattan, and slices of other cities in Maryland and Delaware. The site now ranks in the top five on Google with all major keywords throughout the target area.
The product section, which is now an e-commerce store, contains 180 SKUs. To increase usability and readability, copy was written and rewritten for web. Bullet points, subheads, and multiple pages keep visitors from burning out on text. Our development team allocated extra time to design smooth store navigation and checkout flow.
To create churn with fresh content, a blog and an e-newsletter were added. And , thanks to a content management system (CMS), our client can make all content changes to the site himself.
The results for this project include a 125% increase in traffic, and similar increases in time spent on the site, and page views.
Surgical microscope campaign pulls down silver
Ideopia won Silver in the Magazine Category for a print advertising campaign that introduced Haag-Streit surgical microscopes to the U.S. market. Haag-Streit, an international medical equipment and device manufacturer, is based in Berne, Switzerland. A subsidiary in Mason, Ohio, handles U.S. distribution.
The two challenges we faced were 1) creative: how do we differentiate Haag-Streit from its competitors conceptually, and 2) strategic: what is our argument for increasing brand preference? The answer was leveraging the client’s German and Swiss heritage to support its claim of superior optics.
Results? The campaign with minor alterations in copy drove demand in two markets: neurosurgery and ophthalmology.
Tree-hugging self promotion is pure gold
Ideopia’s Treebie Squad delivers its first Treebie to client Avure Technologies.
Ideopia received a Gold Award for a self-promotion project that encouraged recycling and social responsibility. We started out with our clients by giving them a Treebie with every print job. The Treebie represents a tree Ideopia planted for them via the Arbor Day Foundation and our local Hamilton Country parks. To support the effort, we built a mini site that explains the effects of deforestation. Treebies were promoted to our clients and prospects via email, social media, public relations, and good old door to door. See video.
For us, it’s a success because it reflects our environmental values to the outside world and prospective clients. We’re proud of it, and we intend to build on it.
Skip the instructions and strategy for a new website and you might go psychedelic!
Your mailorder website has arrived. You tear into the box, an pull out the parts, like Flashy Stuff to Impress Your Boss, SEO Pak (optional), and a Velcro® Navigation Bar. Just grab the handy hex tool, muddle through the instructions in Swedish and cross your fingers. If your assembly line bookcase breaks, you can kick it to the curb. Unfortunately, the plug and play approach for a website has serious consequences.
Building a website without a coherent plan will harm your company’s business competitiveness, lead generation, traffic and reputation. And it’s too expensive to too toss in the dumpster. Fixing or rebuilding your site could cost thousands of dollars, not to mention lost time and opportunity.
Web Strategy: Write the Instructions
Web sites are capital expenditures for most companies, so you shouldn’t order one up like a burger without knowing precisely what you want it to do. Work these out with your internal team or with a trusted web agency (like Ideopia, of course!).
1. Business Objectives
Define the revenue goals for your company or division.
Discuss new initiatives. Are you launching a new line, or moving into a new market? The information is critical to designing your new site.
2. Barrier to Sale
Every company has one. Write it down, and make sure your site addresses it.
3. Web Strategy
What is the value proposition or strategy of the business and how does it translate into a web presence?
4. Search Engine Optimization
Carefully choose 15- to 20 keywords, or keyword phrases that you wish to rank on in search engines. The most effective SEO is designed before the development of site architecture, design and copy.
5. Content Plan
Involve as many people as possible in generating ideas for content. But set the expectation that the purpose of the site is to support business objectives, not pump up egos or pet projects. Remember, the search ranking and success of your site will depend on the relevance of its content.
6. Site Plan
Use a whiteboard, or sticky notes, and sketch out all the key pages in the site and what they do. Arrange them so they support the web and content strategy. It’s simple, the important stuff gets moved to the top of the site.
7. Paper Prototype or Wireframe
Test the logic of your new site by creating a prototype with normal office paper. One piece per page. Sketch out the navigation in detail, and work out the function of applications, like long forms. You don’t need a special program, or even the ability to draw a straight line.
8. User Testing
Find out if your customers understand the site’s navigation, labels for major sections, or how to use an app. You can perform user tests yourself, and you can to one on a cleaned up version of your paper prototype. Skip at your own peril.
9. Product Backlog
Finalize the content and structure of your site by creating a product backlog in a spreadsheet. It should include the directory names, text for SEO; and page contents, including images, copy, animation, and any functional items.
Now you’re ready to track your project and start building a web site. And with any luck, you won’t have any screws leftover.
To learn more about web strategy at Ideopia, call Mike Bober at 513-947-1444 x15. He might be able to help put together your bookshelf, too.
A project for a client earlier this month reminded us that while user tests are invaluable in website development, they also have tremendous value for existing sites. The purpose of a user test is to determine whether someone can complete critical tasks on your site…like spend money!
For example, plunk a user down on the site’s homepage, and ask her to find a specific product, complete a transaction or find contact information. Some fixes we’ve found, like changing the names on navigation tabs, are incredibly simple.