Monday, March 10, 2014

Top 3 Reasons Why Your Website Needs Videos

Video has become one of the most important tools in an inbound marketing strategy. Viewers are consuming video content more than ever before and that trend isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
More than 90 percent of consumers access video content on the web.
The move from text and visual content to video content has been FAST and businesses who don’t make the transition will be left behind with an underperforming website.

1. It’s how consumers are consuming content

People browsing the Internet have a short attention span, and videos allow visitors to consume more content, faster. Visitors are much more apt to engage with videos than with static text, so creating more interactive and visual content is essential.
This isn’t just a passing trend; the largest online video network, YouTube, which, by the way, is the SECOND LARGEST search engine in the world, reports:

2. It creates a great website experience

Websites are no longer static brochure sites. Successful businesses are using their website to create a compelling experience around their brand. Marketing directors are looking for ways to make a connection and build a relationship with their visitors, because they know that those connections increase the number of loyal customers in the future.
No matter what a brand’s mission, video on a website supplements visitors’ experiences and builds those connections. Here are three of our favorite examples of how brands are using video to:
  • Demonstrate product (B2C) – Zappos
  • Share their expertise (B2B)– MOZ
  • Tell their story (non-profit) – charity: water

3. It benefits your inbound marketing strategy

As we mentioned before, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and Google, the largest search engine, owns them. Every keyword that you’re targeting for your website can be an opportunity for video. The best part for marketing directors is that Google now displays video in their search results, boosting your chances of being found for certain keywords.
Another reason video is great for SEO is because it keeps visitors on your site longer. One important factor on how well a page ranks in search results is how long a visitor stays on a page, the longer the visit the more important Google thinks the webpage is.
Distribution – Social Media and Email
Video is highly sharable across all your distribution networks. When you create original video content, your social media and emails are maximized because you’re driving people to your content and your site, rather than away from your site.
Online Sales
Brands selling products online can’t discount video. Ecommerce websites are now using video to convert visitors to customers once they’ve entered their buying funnel. Studies have shown that visitors are 85% more likely to buy a product if they see an explainer video first.

Vital Does Video

Yes, it’s true. Here’s a video that we recently created for Chinburg Properties highlighting one of their signature projects here on the seacoast.
Want to know how Vital can help your business get started with video? Contact us today, we’d love to hear about your project.

Why and How to Use Testimonials to Increase Website Conversions

Your business has tons of clients saying loads of great things about you, and we think this is awesome! Yet, some businesses still wonder, are these testimonials important to their online marketing strategy? The answer is a resounding yes!
Testimonials can persuade consumer decisions, strengthen your street cred, and support the inbound marketing strategies you already have in place.
In this post, we address how to use testimonials by learning why they are valuable, and how you can collect, choose, and integrate them to most effectively increase your website conversions.
Consumers Crave Social Proof
By nature, consumers are skeptical creatures, and at the end of the day this only makes it harder for you, and you alone, to convince them that buying your products or services is a good choice. To put it bluntly, they just don’t trust you right off the bat (but it’s nothing personal); they just trust their peers as a first avenue for buying advice—they trust “people like me.” Which means when others buy, they buy.
But this is not simply by happenstance. It is a fundamental disposition of human behavioral evolution—we are more likely to do something when we realize others are already doing it. Referred to as social proof, this psychological synonym for herd behavior is predicated on the principle that what we truly want in life is to reflect the “correct” behavior of others who we believe may “possess more information about the situation.”
So, like the strategy and success of inbound marketing, the psychology and results of social proof mean that people gravitate towards and learn from the informational leaders, experts, and influencers within their circles.
This is why restaurants promote “top picks” in their menus; trendy bars let lines form outside their doors, and sitcoms play canned laugh tracks. By purposefully promoting this information, they entice their target audiences to want to follow along—order this, stand here, laugh now—because everyone else is! So, unsurprisingly, the prospect joins.
Put the Proof Back in Your Website’s Pudding
In today’s digital ecosphere, 70% of consumers look at online reviews before they buy products or services, and this puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of harnessing testimonials as social proof in an effort to speak to your customers’ needs without talking at them.
Specifically, testimonials work to your businesses’ advantage because they demonstrate user social proof, according to To the consumer, hearing an unbiased, independent voice with the same buying objectives and pain points as their own is invaluable. It not only helps you, the owner, establish greater trust, build better credibility, and avoid overly salesy “pitching,” but this informative approach to consumer engagement also inspires these website visitors to waffle less and convert with more authority—and that should be your goal.
As director of accounts and blogger Chris Getman puts it:
“Testimonials provide third party, independent validation… No one wants to hear a company talk about how great they are, there’s not a lot of credibility in self-promotion, so letting your customers tell your story is perceived as more credible.” 
But leveraging testimonials to substantiate the performance, quality, or value of your products and services is only as good as the quality and placement of these endorsements. You want to capture your consumers with exactly the right information at exactly the right time.
To help your business collect, choose, and incorporate testimonials in your online marketing strategy and increase conversion rates (especially when it comes to the boom in and competition for e-commerce success), follow these 3 guidelines:
1. Make Collecting Testimonials Easy  
As a business owner, you’re busy, so chasing customers and trying to get their feedback is likely a backburner push. This is understandable, but if you have a sustainable system in place to collect this information, you’ll set yourself up for success.
To save some time, consider applying the following strategies:
  • Include links and CTAs within your site that allow user feedback to be easily provided
  • Set up auto-responders to go out to every customer when they buy from you
  • Turn good old-fashioned letters (or emails) into testimonials—there’s a good chance your inbox gets more inadvertent testimonial gold than you think! (Just make sure to get permission)
  • Turn your best social media engagements into testimonials—with the volume of fans social media can generate, there’s likely an abundance of testimonial gems waiting to be had! (Just make sure to get permission)
However, collecting your testimonials is only half the battle. You need to know which ones will be worth offering your website real estate to.

8 Reasons Why Fortune 500 Companies Use the WordPress CMS

In 1996, Bill Gates mused that content is where most of the real money would be made on the Internet, stating, “those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and product—a marketplace of content.” (Content Is King)
Gates couldn’t have been more correct. From blog posts and videos to whitepapers and eBooks, today’s consumers crave engaging content to celebrate and share. It empowers them and it drives their buying decisions. And for this reason, search engines crawl and index the content on website pages too. The more quantity, quality, and frequently updated content a website boasts, the more likely that site is to rank higher in the search results of Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
So, to say the least, content is the cornerstone of today’s commerce—and the best and brightest businesses know it. From Fortune 500 companies like eBaySonyGM and UPS, to national news giants likeForbes, CNN, Reuters and The NYT, to tech tycoons like SamsungIBM and TechCrunch, heavy hitters everywhere are rolling out slick sites with full-scale content strategies developed in and supported by the WordPress CMS (content management system).
But why are more than 75 million websites, including 55% of the top 1 million most visited websites in the world, choosing WordPress?

Heavy hitters everywhere are rolling out slick sites with full-scale content strategies developed in and supported by the WordPress CMS, and here’s why:

1. Blogging Dominance
At the heart of every well-executed, repeatable content strategy, there is a blog—but your blog isn’t worth a damn if you and your team can’t quickly access its backend. With WordPress, you, yes you, can easily and intuitively publish, curate and modify all of your great content to advance your SEO, establish thought leadership, and feed your social media strategies. WordPress began as a free publishing platform that emphasized editorial controls and user-friendly dashboards. Today, this user-centric approach remains (no coding skills or experience necessary).
The Big Benny: Blogging is WordPress’ bread and butter—if you can make edits to a Microsoft Word doc, you can make edits to your content through WordPress.
2. Open Source Force
Open source means software is free and non-proprietary. Instead of a single team, WordPress is supported and advanced by the most extensive community of CMS developers (and we’re talking thousands!). For you, this means greater security, customization, flexibility, freedom, and overall higher quality development with less associated cost.
The Big Benny: You have total ownership to use the software that drives your website, and you can modify and distribute its code without any associated licensing costs.
3. Multimedia Made Easy
WordPress is not just for text-heavy blog posts. WordPress makes it simple to import and manage multimedia too, such as photos, videos, graphics, etc. You do not need coding experience, and you can independently add or revise your content to immediately reflect your brand.
The Big Benny: WordPress makes it simples to publish and edit all those pictures and videos your audience loves.
4. Plugins-a-Plenty
For users needing advanced functionality, such as shopping carts for e-commerce sites or social media sharing to boost inbound marketing stratagems, WordPress offers the largest list of plug-ins (nearly 30,000) and widgets of any CMS, and the packaged code is easy to install (with nearly 600 million downloads to date). And as the open source development continues to grow, so will these numbers.
The Big Benny: Your website can be as robust as you desire and executing improvements is fast and easy.

Don’t Hire a Digital Marketing Agency That Doesn’t Have These 5 Qualities

A great digital marketing agency can do wonders for your business. But with more creative agencies popping up all the time, how do you know if a digital marketing agency is really as great as they claim to be?
Here are five qualities to help you spot a great digital marketing agency:

1. A Kick-Ass Website

Any good digital marketing agency should have a current and up-to-date website. If they are using good SEO practices, you should be able to find them easily on Google by searching for their core services and their geographic area. Their website should be modern and engaging, and have all the key elements of an effective inbound marketing strategy: an active blog, responsive design, intuitive navigation, and effective conversion strategy with calls to action, etc.

2. A Powerhouse Team

A great digital marketing agency is made up of a team of diverse talents and expertise. Check out their team—can you see them online? A great agency will be proud of their team and will put them front and center. They should be a multi-disciplined team, with unique experts in their respective fields—design, development, SEO, content strategy, social media, brand development, etc. Is the owner or founders involved, and are they accessible to you?

3. Tools — And The Expertise To Use Them

They’re set up with tools to get job done, and the experience to know how to use them. Ask what they use for project management, and what their team uses to measure website performance and SEO (Google AnalyticsMozHubspot), inbound marketing (HubspotMarketo), social media analytics (Sprout SocialHubspot), email marketing (MailChimpConstant ContactHubspot), CRM (Salesforce, and did we mentionHubspot?), etc. They should be comfortable with all these tools—but they should also know when they can and should ignore them. Many tools use analytics to judge content or data based on averages, but seasoned marketers will know from experience that thinking outside the tools can put you on the cutting edge and reap much greater results.

4. Relevant Experience

Take a look at their messaging and how they talk about themselves—do they speak your language? Do they address your needs? Check out their portfolio for experience with clients of your size (will they think you are too small or too big a client?), and even within your industry (will they be familiar with your challenges and experienced in solving them?). When you meet with them, is their presentation tailored to your needs—have they done their homework?

5. A Culture You Can Hang With

Your digital marketing agency will be working closely with you and your team for a long time, if all goes well. So it’s important that their culture jibes with yours. This is a much more subjective aspect to measure, but is nonetheless important. Does the team have extracurricular interests that they talk about on their website? Do they look like they are having fun when you meet with them in person? Chances are, if they have fun together, they work well together—and will work better together for YOU.
Choosing a digital marketing agency can seem overwhelming, but it can also be a fun process. Do your homework, ask around, and you’ll find the one that proves that they are the best for you. And if you have any questions, we’re always here to chat—find us on Twitter or send us a note.

The Importance of Typography, Part 1: Fonts Speak Louder Than Words

In today’s digital landscape—more than ever—people are aware of typography, design and how the world looks around them. Gary Hustwit records this in Helvetica, a documentary about how fonts affect our everyday lives. Most notably, Helvetica ushers in the larger conversation about global visual culture, detailing how and why people are progressively more mindful about the visual impact of design.
“The world is full of beautiful fonts—choosing the right one for your next project can be a daunting task.”
When working with a digital marketing agency, it is important to be prepared to discuss fonts during the creative process. And you may hear terms like sans serifslab serif, or script—but this isn’t a bunch of mumbo jumbo, it’s science!
Here are five tips to help you understand fonts and why they are so important.

1. Fonts vs. Typefaces

Fonts, typefaces… what’s the difference? Here’s the easiest explanation to remember:
  • A font is a grouping of typefaces that have similar characteristics.
  • A typeface is referring to an individual family member of that font.
Take Gotham for instance:
Gotham has many typeface variations, but each falls within the parent font, Gotham. Specifically, Gotham Italic is a typeface; it resembles all things Gotham but looks slightly different. Think of it as one big happy family—each typeface is unique and special, but they all share the same font name.
Font Tip: Knowing the kinds of typefaces you have to work with or want to use will give you a good foundation as you develop your digital presence.

2. Know the Big Players

There are an overwhelming amount of fonts at our fingertips, but first let’s talk about the main categories of fonts out there.
Serif: Serif is the slight projection at the end of a stroke that’s most commonly seen at the bottom of letters. If you look closely, some fonts will have “little feet” on them. This is what characterizes it as being a Serif font. This allows the eye to flow through sentences with ease.
Sans Serif: Fonts that are Sans have no “feet,” or serif. Take a look at the diagram:
Blog_Banner graphics_2
You can clearly see the difference above between a Sans Serif font and a Serif font. Sans Serif fonts are often modern, trendy and streamlined, however they tend to be harder to read at smaller sizes.
Script: This font type is known for its elegant, light and professional appeal. You often see this kind of font written on wedding invitations, diplomas or certificates. Use this kind of font sparingly. It’s not designed to be used as body copy or used in small spaces.
Display: You often see this kind of font on movie posters, newspapers, banners, etc. It’s intentionally designed to grab your attention or to give emphasis to a certain area. This is another font that’s not meant to be used in large quantities—a little goes a long way.
Hand Lettering: These kinds of fonts have hand rendered characteristics. Maybe they look as if a child has written it, or as if someone used a Sharpie or whiteboard marker to jot something down. Designers like to use fonts like this because they add a human element to the design—something that people can relate to.

Best Time To Go Pee During A Movie? There's An App For That.

Yes, there really is an app for just about everything. And RunPee is proof of that. The app, which is downloadable for the iPhone, Android and Windows phones, is pretty damn genius. Not only has Dan Florio come up with a wonderful idea for movie watchers with small bladders or enlarged prostates, but he has also created and implemented the app in such a way that it is truly helpful and more informative than one might think.  

Note: The logo, social media sites and website are in desperate need of a redesign, but I'm going to disregard that for now.

How Does It Work?
After carefully watching newly released and in-theater movies, RunPee determines the best "Pee Times," 3-4 minute windows during which nothing crucial, extra funny or visually fantastic is occurring, for a large database of commercially produced films.

You start a timer at the beginning of the movie and your phone will vibrate (no bothering fellow movie-goers) a few minutes before each Pee Time so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the movie.

It offers "suggested Peetimes" - Not all peetimes are the same. Some are better than others. The apps have a short message before the peetimes informing you which one we would recommend using and which ones might be for emergency use only.

There's even a synopsis of what you might miss during a particular Pee Time (you can read that on the toilet):

Scanning the movies to find these times where you need not worry you wasted your hard-earned movie ticket money and you can slip right back into the movie, able to pick up where you left off without having missed anything major, is only part of the app.

Additional Features:

• Gives you a synopsis of the first 3 minutes of most movies just in case you’re running late.

• Check-in to social media sites Facebook and Twitter

• Lets you know if there is anything during or after the end credits that you should stick around for like bloopers, outtakes, epilogues or funny jokes. No more waiting 8-10 minutes for nothing[Note: This is also very helpful for those movie theaters with crowded parking lots so you can just duck out the second the movie ends]

• Quick access to ratings as well as information about the cast and crew from

• Uses local storage to store movie data on your phone for use later when in case you are offline inside the theater.

• Sign up for an e-mail notification as to when a movie is released on DVD/Blue-Ray.

• Post movie reviews to Facebook from the app without the trouble of texting:

• View ratings/ reviews by other RunPee app users

The website RunPee is free to use, but the mobile app has certain advantages over the free web service, such as most of those listed above. The movie list on the free website only goes back 3 months but the mobile app let you view every movie in the database - covering nearly ever wide release movie since Summer of 2009.

above: Dan Florio, the brainchild behind RunPee, came up with the idea for the app while watching the 2005 three hour remake of King Kong.

In addition to the aforementioned, the Run Pee page on Facebook also gives you a peek at movie trailers for upcoming releases and reviews of new movies.

With the help of movie critic, Shanee Edwards, who now works for the folks at RunPee, they have access to movie screenings before a movie is released to the public, so that in most cases PeeTimes for a newly released movie are posted quickly.

The app is only .99 cents, which is a great bargain. 

A Dog-Shaped Children's Desk, Le Chien Savant, by Philippe Starck.

A recent addition to the Magis Me Too Collection, the children's arm of Magis Design, is Le Chien Savant.

Designed by Philippe Starck, Le Chien Savant is a children’s combination chair and desk in the shape of a dog that was inspired by C. Bavaud

"As a child I never liked school, but I loved dogs.
Should I had met this learned dog at that time, I would have become a scholar, too.
But I missed this occasion and unfortunately the learned dog now exists, but unfortunately only for children. Too late." - C. Bavaud

Le Chien Savant is made of rotational-molded polyethylene and available in five colors. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use.

Magis Me Too

Available at or through various modern furniture retailers. 

Must-See TRUE DETECTIVE Facts, Photos, Quotes, Art, Parodies and Links.

Tonight airs the 8th episode and season finale of HBO's True Detective. An addictive new series that premiered January 12, 2014 starring Matthew McConaughey (as Rustin Cohle) and Woody Harrelson (as Marty Hart) that has caught on like wildfire and spurred numerous online discussions, fan sites, theories and of course, satire.

Great acting coupled with intense writing that contains enigmatic acronyms, intellectual theories, philosophical monologues and cryptic references make the show simultaneously compelling and yes, totally friggen' confusing.  So I've gathered facts, glossaries, photos, artwork, sites and videos, both hopeful and humorous, for you True Detective fans to enjoy as the season comes to an end.

First off, if you know nothing about the show, here is it as described by HBO:

Opening Titles and Music 
The True Detective opening title sequence (shown below) is accompanied by The Handsome Family's "Far From Any Road".

From the dusty May sun
Her looming shadow grows
Hidden in the branches of the poison creosote
She twines her spines up slowly
Towards the boiling sun
And when i touched her skin
My fingers ran with blood

In the hushing dusk under a swollen silver moon
I came walking with the wind to watch the cactus bloom
And strange hands halted me, the looming shadows danced
I fell down to the thorny brush and felt the trembling hands

When the last light warms the rocks
And the rattlesnakes unfold
Mountain cats will come to drag away your bones

And rise with me forever
Across the silent sand
And the stars will be your eyes
And the wind will be my hands

Memorable quotes from season one:

Rust's storage locker:


Truly Helpful Links:
DB? CI? KA? Prost? Braced? Juiced? Spaghetti Monster? Carcosa? What do all those acronyms and words mean?
• Anna Silman's A Handy Glossary of True Detective Names, Places, and Things for Vulture Magazine is list of terms that will answer some serious - and not so serious- questions for you.
• The Huffington Posts' Definitive Guide to Understanding True Detective defines law enforcement abbreviations and some Louisiana slang for you.

Official True Detective Mondo Posters commissioned by HBO (not for sale):

By artist Jay Shaw:

By Phantom City Creative:

By Vania Zouravliov:

Best Artistic Fan Site:

Artist Nigel Evan Dennis has created a graphic designer's dream version of the True Detective characters, theories, geography and more which he also sells as posters here.
Check it out here

Another nice piece of Fan Art by Cameron Stewart:

Some Funny Parodies: 

"Can Anyone Understand "True Detective?" 
Published on Mar 5, 2014 - Joel McHale and "The Soup" present their take on the hit HBO show starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson:

True Detective: The Oscars Parody
Published on Mar 6, 2014 - Matthew McConaughey is interrogated by The Academy about the 2014 Oscars and his past of less-notable films.

 Written by and Starring Jon Rudnitsky:

True Detective - Next Season
Published on Mar 6, 2014 - A sketch by UCB Maude team Royal Bermuda Whiskey Club

. Directed by Will Reese
Written by Matt Chester:

Marty Hart Watches The Red Wedding. Great for any Game of Thrones and True Detective fans. (don't watch unless you are caught up on both). By DecentFilmz 

Where's the show going? 
Even lead actor Matthew McConaughy's not certain. Here he is discussing it at the Film Society of Lincoln Center:

Other Relevant Links:

•HBO's True Detective 

•Darkness Becomes You is a special micro site for the show by HBO which has all seven episodes, great photos, music and more 

•HBO's Official True Detective's Instagram

• True Detective's Official Facebook Page

•HBO's Official True Detective swag ( T-shirts, pens, hats and posters) 

I hope you enjoyed my round-up of True detective related info. Of course more will be revealed after tonight's episode airs. I hope it's as intriguing as the rest of the season because I, for one, am really looking forward to Season Two.