The morning air turns crisp while there is an undeniable change in the color of the leaves. Shorts and tank tops turn into sweaters and scarves. Pumpkin spice latte and burnt orange hues become the new standard. Fall has arrived, and we are so excited to enjoy every minute of it.
-The Wendt Agency
At Wendt, we are a talented team of innovative specialists who strive for excellence. (If you wonder what’s it like to work at Wendt, hint: best job ever, check this out.) We caught up recently with Johnny Ewald, our Senior Digital Designer, for a little Q & A session. Johnny is an accomplished designer, animator, and audio-video artist and storyteller. He creates powerfully focused marketing that does more than just paint pretty pictures. From start to finish, he loves the entire creative process. For Johnny, being creative is what he loves most about his work. Read on as he shares his background and insights into recent industry trends.
Who is Johnny?
“I am a passionate person who puts a lot of thought into pretty much everything I do. There are many layers to me, but if someone were to describe me in five words or less, they would most likely be kind, funny, passionate, hard-working, and easy-going. I have a strong desire to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life, whether it’s creating online banner ads or landing a trophy brown trout on my fly rod. I can be a perfectionist in the sense that I can be hard on myself if I feel like I have failed. What I do know is that life is a journey, and I am still figuring it all out, but am continually open to learning as much as I possibly can and having as much damn fun as I can while doing it!”
What do You do for Wendt’s Clients?
“Being part of an entire team here at Wendt, I contribute to providing clients with Super Service by means of effective creative strategies and solutions. More specifically, I touch many parts of an overall project in the creative department. A few of these parts include digital HTML5 banner ads, creative concepts for TV spots, social media graphics, short video production, and motion graphics animations.”
In Your Field, What Trends Have You been Noticing? What Should Clients be Aware of?
“I have noticed that during the pandemic, what we are going through has transformed the way companies do business. Consumers have turned to e-commerce at an accelerated rate, and I think that a company that offers goods and services needs to keep aware of this trend and stay on top of digital marketing tactics to keep its target audience close. The opportunity for our clients to reach their customers through digital communications is at an all-time high and should be taken advantage of immediately in such a fast-moving landscape.”
You’ve been With Wendt for How Many Years? What do You Look Forward to About Your Work Each Day?
“I have been with The Wendt Agency since December 2017, so nearly four years. Wow! As the idiom goes, time flies when you are having fun! What I look forward to each day working for Wendt is that I get to challenge myself with a wide variety of projects. I enjoy working on multiple projects at once, with each project being completely different from one another. It’s fun to see my ideas at the very beginning of a new project mold into new ones throughout the entire creative process. Sometimes the initial idea becomes so transformed and manipulated during this time; it sometimes transcends the original idea, which can be really cool!”
If You Could Give a Piece of Advice to Your Future Self, What Would It be?
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, and never be afraid to fail! Stress is natural and does not control your life. Breathe, live happy, and remember always to stop and smell the roses!”
At Wendt, we are a team of free-thinking individuals collaborating to achieve success for our clients. To learn more about our team and how we create winning campaigns, reach out to us here. And be sure to sign up for Wendt Word, our monthly newsletter that shares our marketing insight, our expertise, and culture.
Starting a new job is like going on a first date. The expectations of both parties can be pretty lofty. There may be some initial confusion. A moment of awkwardness. And more than one misadventure may be experienced by all, but, throughout the whole process, you can’t help wondering to yourself, “could this be the one?”
To work at Wendt is to be a part of a group of dedicated marketing professionals who hold themselves to high standards. We’ve been keeping ourselves to a high standard for over 90 years. Being the longest-established agency in Montana means that our expertise in knowing what drives our client’s customers to action is extensive. For us, we don’t just produce ads. We create ideas. We are constantly working closely with our clients to build lasting partnerships that are truly collaborative. You can read about one thing you need to know about great client collaborations here. At the end of the day, when we look for new hires to join our team, we thoughtfully look for innovative individuals who can bring creative excellence to their work and who strive to be sincere relationship builders.
What’s it Like to Work at Wendt?
At Wendt, we love what we do, we exist in possibility, and we strive for the next level. Our office is informal and very creative. We each have a music day where we get to share our favorite playlists, and we all stop what we’re doing to take a moment and play with whatever office pup has joined us for the day. On random afternoons you might find us having drinks and snacks in the common area celebrating a coworker’s new home purchase. And in the summertime, we take a hard-earned annual employee retreat, where we recharge our creative batteries. Some of us have been here for decades, and some of us are in our first year, but we all hold ourselves to embodying our brand pillars.
- Everything we do is with integrity.
- We provide Super Service.
- We are innovative.
- We create strategies and solutions that build connections.
- We are a team of free-thinking individuals collaborating to achieve success.
- We believe in partnerships with our clients and with each other.
- We have a proud history that gives us knowledge and experience.
- We are proactive in an ever-changing environment.
We are always looking for talented, curious, passionate individuals eager to be a part of our award-winning team. Could this be you? To learn more, check out our current openings here. Not finding what you’re looking for? Reach out and tell us why you think you would be an excellent fit for our team.
Is effective collaboration a predictor of campaign success? We like to think so. Generating creative that is meaningful and provides value to the consumer, while meeting the client’s expectations, takes input from all parties involved. We’ve learned that the best client collaborations happen when you have an engaged client and an innovative team that are open to ideas and partnership. So, what’s the one thing you need to know about great client collaborations? It can lend itself to producing superior creative.
We recently had the opportunity to develop new creative messaging for the Montana Lottery’s Big Sky Bonus game — a Montana-only game that offers a state-wide progressive jackpot. For this campaign, we produced a collaborative commercial, both our agency and the Montana Lottery team were excited to have created together.
Collaborating with Clients to Make Magic Happen
Having worked with the Montana Lottery for the past seven years, we have a history of launching successful campaigns for them. (Read about our recent Montana Lottery: Mega Millions – Always Big Communicator Awards and Telly wins here.) The process for the Big Sky Bonus piece was just the most recent example of a very collaborative effort between our team and the Montana Lottery, from the conceptual phase through production of the commercial. In this instance, the Lottery team had a vision for creating a “winner’s factory” that showcases the high number of winners being created. Our team took that vision and ran with it to bring the concept to life.
We created a “Willy Wonka” style Big Sky Bonus factory that magically made winners for the commercial. The production itself was complex and required a depth of planning. It involved a mix of practical props and special effects. The location was also key in making the concept come to life. We had to find a unique setting with dynamic architecture and interesting angles for filming. The resulting commercial was a playful creation that delights viewers.
Great client collaborations like this one develop easily when you have two teams working towards a shared vision. As a creative agency, it’s our job to dive in and work with the client to flesh out concepts that drive strategy. It’s also our job to take our client’s ideas and turn them into magic. And magic is what happens when teams are open to ideas, open to collaboration, and open to partnerships.
Email newsletters are an essential component of effective marketing for any business. A massive bonus of marketing with a newsletter is that your customers have to opt in to receive communication, so you are already sending it to a captive audience that wants more information about your business. Check out our top 3 reasons to send out a monthly newsletter.
- Connect with your Customer. Monthly email communication is the perfect way to connect with your customer and keep your business top-of-mind. Customers want to connect with companies and brands they like, and they especially like being the first to know information, hence why people love insider newsletters. Giving customers an opportunity to connect with you will also help establish trust and create brand ambassadors. If you’re informing while also selling, you’re building a long-term relationship.
- Drive Sales. People are impulsive, and including an incentive like a coupon, special promotion, or call to action (Call us now!) can be precisely what the reader needs to take action. When crafting your email think about it as a vehicle for driving sales and creating new opportunities with your customers.
- Demonstrate Expertise. When you take time and effort to send a regular email newsletter, you show not only your ability to write and creatively craft an email, but you also convey your expertise. It is okay to brag a little about your services, successes, and simply why they should choose you. This will establish yourself as a strong industry leader and show why your skills or products are superior.
At Wendt, we recently went through the process of reinventing our newsletter. We dug into data and insights to help inform us what our readers were seeking. A newsletter is an extension of your brand, making it imperative that you give it a name. The new title of our newsletter is the Wendt Word, where you can expect to find marketing news, expertise, and a glimpse into Wendt culture. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here!
If you are looking for e-newsletter inspiration, we highly recommend checking out reallygoodemails.com, which provides great insights and examples of the best emails companies are putting out. With 306.4 billion emails sent and received daily in 2020 (source: Statista), you don’t want to be the only one that is not marketing your brand via email.
In part one of this blog series, I addressed methods in planning your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy, including keyword research, freshening up your content, ranking higher in search results, and copywriting dos and don’ts. But did you know that great content isn’t the only factor in ranking higher in search engines? Other factors that may be holding back the SEO results you are looking for include old content, such as dead pages, and not having an optimized, fast loading website. Let’s discuss what happens when a page has been deleted or is no longer relevant, but still can affect your rankings, and how the overall performance of your website affects SEO.
Cleaning up Old Content
What happens when you remove a page, post, or sell out of a product, or even change the URL of a page? The page, post, or item can still appear in search results because it was indexed but will become a dead link. This means people will still be able to click on the link but will instead visit a page that no longer exists. Think of it as a zombie. It’s still alive and it can potentially hurt you. Having too many dead pages in search results leads to link rot, which is just as lethal as it sounds. Link rot will likely turn away potential visitors or customers from looking further at your site, much like fleeing survivors of the apocalypse. That’s why it’s a good idea to audit pages or posts that are no longer available, whether they’ve been removed, or there’s been a change to the URL structure. You don’t need a hatchet to fight these living dead links, but you can easily combat them without even breaking a sweat or running for shelter. Just use redirects, which take the visitor to another page that provides similar or refreshed information. Apocalypse averted!
If you’re using a WordPress website, download the Redirection plugin or Yoast SEO Premium, which generate redirects based on any changes in a page’s URL structure and allow you to create custom redirects. A 301 redirect is used for a page that has been moved permanently and is no longer available and can direct traffic to a page with similar information. These are the most important type of redirects that can have the most impact on your SEO. If you have a lot of pages that have been removed and aren’t redirected, you could create a fun and innovative 404 error page. That way instead of visitors feeling like they reached a page by mistake, you can provide a game or interactive feature; so, they feel it was worth the time to accidentally land on a missing page.
Your Website’s Overall Performance
Having well-written and informative content is a huge help with ranking higher in search engine results, but search algorithms also take into consideration the speed of your website. Therefore, a holistic approach, or improving all aspects of your website, is a great way to rank higher and get more conversions. If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, not only will you potentially lose visitors, but also inadvertently drive them towards your competition. Also, having a website optimized for mobile devices is another factor that search engines consider. To test how fast your website is, use free online tools such as GTmetrix.com and Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If you have a lot of images, pages, or plugins on your website, here are a few resources that can help optimize the performance of your website.
- Caching plugins – cache is temporarily stored data that your computer stores and uses to access files quickly. This is great for website’s that aren’t frequently updated, however if you’re actively updating content, use a plugin to automatically clear the site’s cache daily. Or simply clear the cache with the click of a button when you make updates to serve up the most recent version of your website. Some plugins I recommend are W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, and WP Rocket.
- Image Compression – if you aren’t properly resizing images before uploading them to your website, then larger images will load slowly on the front end, leading to a decrease in the overall load time of the site. Photoshop is a great tool for resizing and compressing images, but there is also free online software that’s simple to use such as imagecompressor.com and tinypng.com. If you don’t have time to compress all of the images on your site and re-upload them, you can add a plugin such as Smush Pro, which compresses all previously uploaded images as well as every image that’s uploaded while the plugin is active.
- Content Delivery Network – a CDN is great way to improve speed by serving the website on networks closest to your visitors. For example, if your hosting server is in California and a lot of your traffic comes from the east coast; the website will take longer to load the further a visitor is away. By using a CDN, such as Cloudflare, your website will be served faster and from a closer location.
- Hosting plan – if your site is still loading slowly after trying these steps, check your hosting plan. As a site expands over time and you’re locked into a smaller hosting plan, it’s time to upgrade the storage. Most plans increase by about $20 per package. If you have an active website and plan to stick around, it’s well worth the investment to upgrade.
A great looking, well performing website with useful information is the best way to satisfy your user’s needs on all levels. By auditing pages, plugins, and optimizing the performance of your website, you can deliver a much more satisfactory product that will also improve the overall user experience, and that’s a goal we all strive for.