Archive for September, 2011

Create and Effective Website with Website Usability Testing

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

FiG Advertising and Marketing knows what makes a good website, after all–we have a lot of success designing & improving our clients’ websites.  We know a good website will save you marketing expense, increase incoming leads, and keep your business more sustainable, especially in the economic downturn.  We want to share some of our most valuable tips:

Tip #1: Create an Effective Content Strategy

Make sure every page on your website provides something of value to the audience.  The content of your website should be genuine and custom to your business,  don’t just copy off of your competitors’ websites.  Focus on what you do, what you solve, and why it is different from other offerings in the market. If your audience can’t find value on the website, they will leave. Good content also can help with your visibility with search engines.

Tip #2: Have a Clear Goal

A website isn’t just an information medium.  Unlike a newspaper, it needs to serve one specific purpose.  If it is an e-commerce website, every page is to sell.  If you are a service company,  the goal of every page is to generate leads via a clear call to action.  If you are a restaurant, every page is to invite people to eat at your place, with clear menus, locations, and hours of operation.  Websites of larger companies might have a couple of goals.  Apple for example, uses its website for product purchase, customer service, and store locating.  Think carefully about what you want to do with your website, make sure it brings value to your potential customers.

Tip #3: Website Usability

A website must function well for your audience, not just you.  What navigation tabs should be included on the site?  Where should we create links? Do you need a search bar to make things easier?  These are the questions that you need to ask your audience/clients, not yourself.  A service/product introduction under “About” page might make sense to you, but it might take the audience an extra couple of minutes to find.  Your website shouldn’t have a learning curve, make it intuitive and friendly.  Below is a list of website no-no’s:

  • Auto-play Videos/Audio: No!  If your client wants to watch a video, he/she will click play.  An annoying video will drive people away.
  • Pop-up Windows: No!   Never switch your users’ windows for them.  If you have something to show them steer them to it within your core site.
  • Misspelled words: No!  People with poor spelling skills may not notice, but the majority is literate and they DO CARE!!!
  • Shinny Words: No!  It is really hard to read light text on light background.  Some color combinations just don’t work.  Additionally, if your background is a picture, then you need to consider a wide mixture of light and dark, and how it would affect the text on it.Sample Image

 Tip#4: User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

Make sure your website actually works!  If you have a big budget, you can have a thorough UAT: hire a marketing firm to select people that match your ideal potential client profile as testers, set up a controlled environment, use heat mapping to track their surfing records, and prepare to make changes, a lot of changes sometimes.  However if you are a small company, you should still test by sending your site to your family and friends and ask for “honest” opinions!


How is your website doing? Do you want to run a quick test to find out?

Does your website have a clear goal?

If your website has a goal, how well does it achieve the goal? (0 if you have no goals. 1~5 for how well your website is achieving your goals: 1 is very poorly, and 5 is perfectly achieving the goal)

What is your Google ranking, if you search \"your city/zip code your industry/service\" (0 is not on the first page, and 1 is on the first page)

How many social media accounts does your business have?

How many of the no-nos that we mentioned in the blog does your website have?

Please leave your email to receive your score
The website that you tested: (eg.

Thank you for taking the test. We’ll email you your score shortly.

(If you have concerns about your website contact FiG for a free discovery session)

A New Message For Colorado Youth At Risk

Friday, September 16th, 2011
Colorado Youth At Risk Logo

Colorado Youth At Risk helps kids grauate from Denver area high schools

The sad fact of the matter is that only 51% of kids in Denver high schools graduate, even less in Aurora.  Colorado Youth At Risk is a great organization in the Denver-metro Area that helps kids succeed in high school before they fail or drop out.  They have an incredible graduation rate of 90% for kids that complete their program.  So how do they achieve such great success?

Colorado Youth at Risk partners adult mentors with kids that are on the wrong path or just need a little guidance to stay on the right one.  Without mentors however their program cannot do this great work.  FiG chose to pitch in at the beginning of this year to help develop mentor recruitment marketing messaging and materials.

Based on what we learned by surveying current mentors the key is the kids.  What makes people become mentors is not about them, it’s about giving back to the community they live in and helping a new generation of young people in ways that they themselves may have been helped in the past.  This research led us to Colorado Youth At Risks new mentor recruitment marketing tagline:

“Be the help you once needed”

Additional services that FiG has volunteered have revolved around these efforts and this message including radio advertising, in both English and Spanish, developing partnerships with great media organizations (special thanks to the team at Front Range Sports Network and 87.7 ESPN Deportes) to get those spots on the air, and the development of fliers for distribution at various events.  You can see these efforts here.

87.7 ESPN Deportes Radio

87.7 ESPN Deportes…Solo Deportes…Solo En Español

Stay tuned for further developments as we begin a more comprehensive effort around their spring mentorship recruitment campaign, including website landing pages and additional media.

Please take a moment to learn more about these great mentoring opportunities or to donate to a great non-profit.

Ad of the Month: The Goodwill Effect

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

You might know Goodwill Denver for their  thrift stores, but there’s more to Goodwill than bargains.  They position themselves as a helping hand to improve communities and inspire hope.  Recently Goodwill Denver hired an advertising agency to design an ad campaign (including billboards and radio) to promote donations, sales, and brand awareness.  All of these ads do a great job of conveying a message to both ends of their product life-cycle: “Donate when life changes” and “you can get a great deal on things that are still in great condition when you buy from Goodwill”.  But today we’re just going to focus on the billboard messaging.

Goodwill Denver Billboard

Now you can get those action figures at Goodwill

What is your first impression?

Goodwill is doing a great job getting across the idea that “When your life or priorities shift you can donate what you don’t need anymore.”  More importantly, donating isn’t just about casting off unneeded stuff.

Goodwill Denver Billboard Post Divorce

After you buy those plates post about your shopping experience on their facebook page

How about this one?

Most people donate because they want to get rid of things they don’t want anymore.  Divorce is not a happy topic, however, it is a good reason for you to give away stuff that you’d rather not see every day.  Instead of holding on to unhappy memories, pass them on to Goodwill,  feel better and move on.

Goodwill Denver Billboard Gaining Weight

Those jeans are probably still in pretty good shape

The last one uses “tongue-in-cheek” commentary to give a younger generation a different reason to donate.  Instead of making Goodwill the place where young people throw away out-of-fashion or worn-out clothes, this billboard positions it as a place that has treasures that people simply outgrew!

This new campaign and our ad of the month highlights the fact that you don’t have to be rich to make a donation. Even simple  items like a pair of jeans make a difference.  The new Goodwill brand makes light of donating and emphasizes that life is ever changing, and when you donate to Goodwill, everyone wins.  We like it.  What do you think?

Developing an Effective Message

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

When I say “messaging”, I don’t mean promotional text messages or email messages in your inbox, but the content, images, and everything else that is included in the way that you talk about your brand.  Consider for a moment that you are a brand and messaging is how you behave.  In order to make yourself “attractive”, you need to develop clear messaging to generate constant interest/attention from your audience through your actions, appearance and value as a person.  This is what we call “efficient marketing communications” or effective messaging.

Brief & To the Point 

CBS News discovered that the average page-view time on the web is only 33 SECONDS.  If you are not brief and to the point, you lose your audience.  Can you read a 500-word page in 33 seconds?  Probably not.   Most people don’t read everything, instead they skim.  They read headlines, first paragraphs,

  • bullet points

and bold, italic & colored key words.

So read your bullet points and key words after writing a blog.  Or ask a colleague to read it over and see if he/she understands the message from bullet points and bold text alone.

Utilize Relevant Images & Videos

Amazing Moves Website

Don’t forget about captions, people skim to captions as well

A picture is worth a thousand words. Literally.  For example, on the right is a website that FiG designed.  On our portfolio page, we have both the screen shot of the website and a one paragraph description.  Instead of wasting 500 words describing the awesome job we did on this project, it’s better to let the picture speak for itself.

Videos– relevant, meaningful, and creative videos effectively increase your audience time spent reading.  We noticed that our “Ad of the month” articles usually keep people on the site longer.  The one in our last E-Newsletter is a great examples, and it had a very low bounce rate.

Use Tables, Charts, and Graphs

We all know that tables, charts, and graphs make better presentations but tend to forget about them when writing blogs or articles.  They can save you hundreds of words, and provide a clear visual communication for your readers .  If you disagree, read this market research article on Denver’s business social media usage and let me know whether you really read every number in it.

Did you find it useful?

Yes, the last tip was designed to generate user feedback.  Interactive conversations are always better than monologues, not only on social media, but everywhere.  However, don’t ignore the comments once you hear them, and don’t bother your audience with too many questions.

In order to make marketing efforts effective, marketers need to develop clear messaging to generate attention from their audience or deliver solutions to their problems.  Unless people know what your brand is all about, it’s very difficult for them to make a clear decision whether or not to purchase your product or service.