Starting 2019 Strong: A third award from Clutch

Over the course of 2018, our partnership with Clutch has been a close one. We’ve worked with this leading ratings and reviews firm to collect client feedback and gain insight on what we do best and, more importantly, what we could do better.

So far, this close partnership and our tight client relationships have helped us earn a place on two of Clutch’s awards lists. Now, we’re finishing 2018 with a final award as the Clutch team announces the top design and branding agencies across their platform. We couldn’t be more grateful to our clients who have taken the time to speak with Clutch about our work together, giving the platform the proof they needed to rank Stevens & Tate among the top.

Your Company’s Core Values Play a Role in Developing Your Brand Story

As we look to the next year, we’re confident that our client relationships will become more close-knit than ever, and we’ll maintain the same unique approach to every client challenge that has earned us a place as one of the top advertising agencies in Chicago and beyond.

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5 Marketing Tactics You Should Be Using in 2019

Over the course of the year, businesses will implement various marketing tactics, some of which are hot, new marketing trends, others that have already been proven to be effective. However, not all marketing tactics that you used in 2018 will work in 2019. Keeping that in mind, the following are some of the marketing tactics that we think you should continue using–or begin using–this upcoming year.

1. Keep Producing Video Contentvideo marketing trends

At this point in time, video content should be a major component of your content marketing strategy. According to recent studies, half of all American Internet users watch video content online every day, whether it’s on their computers or on their phones. Invest in pre-recorded videos as well as live videos that are mobile-friendly to continue reaching a larger audience.

2. Add Chatbots To Your Website

Getting your visitors to engage and interact with your website is vital to maintaining their interest (and keeping that bounce rate low). Chatbots have become an incredibly helpful feature for visitors over the past few years. The presence of a chatbot allows a visitor to ask questions or for assistance in real time instead of having to email a company and wait for who knows how long to hear back. Implementing a chatbot will make your website experience much more convenient for your visitors and will prevent them from getting frustrated.

Why Your Website Redesign Would Benefit From An Inbound Marketing Strategy

3. Curate User-Generated Contentvideo marketing strategy

One of the most important elements of brand perception is authenticity. If your brand doesn’t feel authentic, it will hurt your reputation. One way to build your authenticity is to leverage user-generated content. There’s nobody that consumers trusts more than other consumers, after all. Produce video testimonials and set up contests to promote the creation of user-generated content (such as Instagram photo contests) that you can use to build your authenticity.

4. Focus On Personalization

Personalization has been important to customers for years now, and this won’t change in 2019. Personalizing your marketing will help you stand out and will make it easier for your audience to engage with you on a more personal level. It’s also become much easier to personalize your marketing than it’s ever been due to the ability to collect and analyze purchase history data, consumer behavior data, and more. At this point, there’s simply no excuse not to leverage personalization.

5. Employ Best Data Privacy Practices

The GDPR passed in Europe in 2018, which put into place numerous regulations regarding the collection of private user data. While such regulations aren’t yet in place in the U.S., it’s only a matter of time before they will be. As a result, you should begin taking steps to ensure that the data you’re collecting is secure and that you’ll be able to follow any new data privacy regulations that may pass.

Not all established marketing tactics or current marketing trends will be useful next year. However, some certainly will be. These are some of the marketing tactics that you should implement into your 2019 marketing strategy.

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A Year In Review: Advertising Trends of 2018

The year is almost coming to an end, which makes it the perfect time to take a look at some of the most popular advertising trends that caught on in 2018. The following are not only some of the most popular advertising trends of the year, but also some of the most effective ones that you may want to continue implementing into the new year.

1. Focusing On The Brandbrand development process

Businesses are switching their marketing efforts to focus more on their brand than on their products and for good reason–focus on the brand will never become outdated, whereas product messaging will become outdated the moment you release a new product. Not to mention that by focusing on the brand, it will be easier to sell products and services, whereas focusing on a single product or service will not have that domino effect. By focusing on your brand, you can establish yourself as being more relatable to your customers. This is a challenge if you’re just focusing on marketing products.

2. Being Authentic

Trying to appeal to your audience by being something you’re not simply doesn’t work anymore. Audiences are smart and they can tell whether or not you’re being authentic. They can sniff out a company that’s trying way too hard to be cool and to win over an audience. Being inauthentic is going to turn off your audience, not to mention potentially make your brand look dishonest.

Content Marketing Trends to Track in 2018

3. Embracing Social Change

It wasn’t long ago that businesses shied away from any kind of social issue (or anything that could be viewed as political) in fear that they might alienate part of their customer base. However, it turns out that by taking a stand for what you believe in, you’re more likely to strengthen your relationship with your audience. And even if you lose some customers as a result, odds are you’ll gain just as many for the same reason. A great example of a company embracing social change is Nike and their Colin Kaepernick ad.

4. Omni-Channel Marketing

There are a lot of marketing channels that you can use to reach your audience. However, picking and choosing one channel and focusing on it shouldn’t be the extent of your strategy. Businesses are leveraging multiple channels of marketing and using them to compliment one another in what’s called omni-channel marketing.

Examples of this include promoting content on your website via your social media channels. These channels don’t need to be within the same type of marketing format either. Many businesses are crossing their inbound and outbound channels. For example, it’s not uncommon for a business to promote their social media presence on the commercials they’re running on TV. This kind of cross-channel promotion helps improve the effectiveness of your reach.

These were some of the biggest advertising trends of 2018. While they are called “trends” they are legitimate marketing strategies that should remain effective well into 2019, making them worth considering as a part of your future marketing campaigns.

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Stevens and Tate Named Top Ad Agency in 2018 By Clutch.co!

Whether you’re looking for a commercial or a full on marketing campaign, our team at Stevens and Tate has been offering the best solutions to our partners since our start in 1992. As a B2B service company, we recognize that our success stems from the success of our partners, and that is why we aim to deliver exactly what our clients need in order to boost their business. It is because of our client-focused mentality that our firm has caught the attention of ratings and review firm Clutch, who has ranked us as a leading marketing agency!

What is Clutch?

Clutch is an unbiased, third party company that provides rankings for B2B service providers in order to help companies who are looking for compatible partners. The rankings they give businesses like ours are derived primarily from work they have done with their past partners. Clutch contacts their past clients directly to hear their feedback and the experience that they had. On our review page, Clutch provided our ratings and the testimonials from our partner companies!

Here are only a few of the things that they have had to say about working with us:

  • “They’re a team of professionals that know how to communicate effectively.” – Owner, Grocery Store

  • “I cannot find another agency that matches their quality and their rates in equal measure – Division President, Real Estate Firm

  • “They understand our company and they understand our brand.” – VP of Marketing, Food Production Company

In addition to being highlighted on the Clutch website, our work has also been featured on their sister-website, The Manifest, where we are ranked in the top 30 advertising and marketing companies! This database provides industry reports and trends in rising companies in their respective fields, and serves as a tool that breaks down the top companies within their industries.

Stevens & Tate Revamps Healthcare Website For The University Of Chicago Medicine Kovler Diabetes Center

marketing-make-or-breakOver the years, we have had the opportunity to work with clients of all shapes and sizes! Whether their market is retail, healthcare, or the food industry, we help companies brand themselves and engage their customers effectively. Our diverse portfolio allows us to think outside of the box for our clients. It also has given us the ability to reach any market.

When working with our partners, we offer unique solutions that are tailored to their business specifically. We offer a multitude of services from branding, SEO, PPC, web design, and basic advertising. Our speciality is forming a strategy that helps your business grow and captures the attention of your customers!

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Creating Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Businesses tend to put extra effort into their advertising campaigns during the holiday season. While this is in part because people are buying gifts for one another, which means that there’s a general spike in sales, it’s also because Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become national institutions in themselves, a time when people search out great deals for things that they want. Because almost every business big and small offers deals at this time of the year in order to attract customers, stepping up your advertising efforts is the only way you’re going to stand out from the crowd.

4 Examples Of Successful Holiday Marketing Campaigns

The following are a four examples of some of the holiday marketing campaigns that have stood out over the past few years:

1) Coke

Coke put a twist on their famous “Share a Coke” ad campaign by running a holiday campaign that showed people sharing a coke instead of fighting over products at a mall. This ad works well because not only are people already familiar with the basis of the campaign, but they can also relate to fighting the crowds to get what they want before it sells out.

2) HotelTonight

The online hotel booking site’s clever campaign was headlined by the slogan “Visit, Don’t Stay.” This refers to how family members often visit one another and generally get into arguments or on each other’s nerves due to the holiday stress. Instead of staying with their family, they can stay at a hotel and simply “visit” their family.

3) John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners released their “Boy and his piano” commercial featuring Elton John this year that quickly went viral. It showed Elton John playing a song as the camera speeds through time, showing John as a younger and younger musician performing in front of huge crowds, finally settling on a version of him as a young boy getting a piano for Christmas. This ad is effective because of its use of a celebrity, its message of how a gift can change someone’s life (making it relevant to the holiday season), and in creating a feeling of nostalgia. The ad was particularly effective in that it did not specifically promote a product or sale, relying on its message to be its call-to-action.

5 Holiday Email Templates for Salespeople

4) McDonald’s

McDonald’s has used a variation of a campaign in which Santa stops by for a bite to eat at McDonald’s during his Christmas run for years now. But this year, McDonald’s stepped it up by making their ad campaign more interactive. For example, Spapchat users can play a game that makes them look like a reindeer and that requires them to catch as many falling carrots as they can.

5 General Tips For Your Holiday Marketing Campaign

Use these five tips to craft a marketing campaign that will help you stand out during the busy holiday season:

1) Make your ads holiday-themed

This one’s obvious, but find a way to tie your product or service into the holidays. The previously mentioned ads are great examples of how this can be done.

2) Use nostalgia

People often feel sentimental during the holidays, which means that using nostalgia is an effective way to make an emotional connection.

3) Use a sense of humor

The holidays can be quite stressful, which is why an ad that can make consumers laugh will stand out. See the HotelTonight ad as a fantastic example.

4) Make your offer stand out

Whether it’s a huge discount, a free trial, free shipping, or something else, your offer should stand out to make your ad stand out.

5) Find a way to engage

Get consumers engaged. This can be done by finding ways that consumers can interact with your campaign, whether it’s by holding contests or by providing short games that they can play, in the same way that McDonald’s did this year.

The holidays are a time of year where consumers are looking to spend the most money, which means businesses tend to step up their game when it comes to marketing their products and services. Use past holiday marketing campaigns as inspiration and keep in mind general holiday marketing tips to create a successful holiday marketing campaign of your own.

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6 Effective Call To Action Examples

Great content is essential to building brand authority, attracting leads, engaging with leads, building trust, and more. However, good content will only take you so far. If you want your leads to take action once they’ve read or viewed your content, you’ll need to end with a convincing call to action. Without calls to action, your leads won’t know what you want them to do, which will make it more difficult for you to capture them. The following call to action examples will give you an idea of how to create a call to action that is effective:

1. Be Clear And Concise

Your call to action should only be a sentence or two long. If your call to action is too long, your intention may get lost. The last thing you want is for a lead to read your call to action and forget what it was that you were attempting to get them to do by the time they get to the end.

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2. Highlight Benefits

You can’t tell a lead what to do unless you offer them something of value in return. For example, you can’t just say “sign up to our newsletter,” if you don’t provide a reason for them to do so. Otherwise, what’s the point in them taking action? Take the call to action examples of Ikea, one of which asks leads to sign up to their newsletter:

Sign up here to get IKEA promotions, news and exciting design ideas for your house and workplace delivered right to your inbox!

This call to action is very clear about what the benefits are to signing up to their newsletter, all while keeping it short and sweet.

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3. Emphasize A Lack Of Risk

One of the reasons why it’s so important to build your brand authority is so that you can build trust with your leads quicker. The more people trust you, the more willing they will be to follow your calls to action. However, even if you have managed to establish your brand, people tend to be hesitant about providing their personal information. Because of this, you should emphasize the low risk of following your call to action. Netlifx has a great example of this:

See what’s next. Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime.

Not only does Netflix highlight the benefit of signing up (watching anywhere), they also emphasize the lack of risk (cancel anytime).

4. Use A Sense Of Urgency

Create a sense of urgency with the words you use. This has a psychological effect on leads, helping to encourage them to take action sooner rather than later. If they decide to wait until later, they may forget about your offer, after all. Words that incite urgency include “now,” “today,” “instantly,” and “hurry,” to name a few.

Powerful Call-to-Action Phrases to Increase Clicks

5. Consider Two Calls-to-Action

Because you should keep it simple, it’s usually better to stick to one call to action at a time. However, in some cases, two may be appropriate. For example, if you offer two versions of your service, such as free and premium, or if you have a trial available, in which case you may want to have sign up buttons for the service itself and for a trial to that service. Spotify does this with their call to action, which includes two buttons:

Get Spotify Free

Get Spotify Premium

This can be effective since people who try free versions or trial versions are often more likely to sign up for the paid service as a result.

6. Make It Stand Out

Make sure that your calls to action are easy for leads to spot. Instead of just using regular text that blends into the text of your content, consider using buttons that are of different colors than your background. Many successful call to action examples also use visual images. Lyft, for example, uses an image of a driver and his passenger, who is enjoying the ride, as an image that provides an immediately positive impression of their service.

The stronger your calls to actions are, the more leads you’ll convert. These call to action examples should give you a good idea of how to make calls to action that will help improve your conversion rate.

  25 Website Must Haves For Driving Traffic, Leads & Sales

How Will Inbound Marketing Help Me Sell Custom Homes?

As a home builder, you might assume that traditional marketing efforts are all that’s required to find new clients. Building homes is not something that’s done on the Internet, after all. However, you shouldn’t discount the importance of inbound marketing and the benefits that it can offer. The following are a few ways that implementing inbound marketing to your overall marketing strategy can help you to sell more custom homes.

1. Make It Easier To Be Found Online

Setting up a website is the first step towards being found online. There are many potential clients out there who are thinking about building a custom home. They are likely to start their research online before they even know who you are. They will begin looking for information on building custom homes and will look for home builders in the area that they want to live in. If you don’t have a website or pages on social networks, odds are they will stumble upon your competitors instead.

However, setting up a website isn’t the only part of being found. You’ll want to optimize your website and all of the content you produce for your site using SEO. This means using strong keywords and earning links from outside sources to boost your SEO rankings, which, in turn, will help make it easier for people to find you when doing Google searches.

2. Increase Awareness Of Your Home Building Business

The bigger a presence you build online, the more awareness you’ll generate for your home building company. For example, if you regularly produce content for a blog on your website, your regular readers will be more likely to share that content on social media. This is a great way to generate more awareness for your business. That one person who shares your blog post on Facebook, for example, may not end up using your services. However, that content will be exposed to their social circle. Someone in that social circle may take note of your company and may, in fact, be looking for a home builder themselves.

You can also use PPC (pay per click) advertising to generate awareness for your company on Google’s SERP (search engine results pages).

Creative Real Estate Marketing Ideas for Homebuilders

3. Improve Your Authority As A Custom Home Builder

Reputation matters. By producing high-quality content that’s relevant to custom home building on your website on a regular basis, you’ll soon establish yourself as an authority. This is especially true if other websites begin linking to your content. Brand authority is important because it helps strengthen your brand identity as well as build trust throughout your audience. When you’ve established yourself as an authority, potential clients are more likely to choose to work with you because they trust that you will do a good job.

4. Engage Directly With Potential Clients

Sales funnel

Multi-colored 3D characters standing under the sales funnel.

The ability to speak directly with potential leads to answer any questions that they may have is invaluable. By establishing a presence on social media and regularly interacting with your audience, you can do just that. Social media will allow you to post questions, articles, links, and more. You can even join various discussions that are relevant to the home building industry to make connections with potential clients as well as business partners. Social media channels like Twitter make it easy for your audience to get in touch with you in a convenient manner as well.

5. Nurture Future Clients

Not everybody that interacts with you on social media or that checks out your website will be ready to begin the home building process. They may be on the fence, or it may be a while before they will be able to begin the home building process due to a variety of reasons. You can use inbound marketing tactics, such as regularly posting blog content to keep you at the top of mind or by regularly sending them email newsletters, to nurture them so that when they are ready, they’ll reach out to you.

As you can see, the use of inbound marketing can be incredibly effective for home builders. By leveraging inbound marketing as a major component of your overall marketing strategy, you can increase awareness, improve your reputation, and attract more potential customers.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers

What’s Trending In Marketing For December 2018

This week in inbound marketing we look at Pinterest’s new carousel ad feature and Foursquare’s new way to measure a tv advertisement’s offline impact on store visits. Read more on the changes and marketing trends for this past month.

Noteworthy Marketing News

How Small Businesses Can Compete With Amazon This Holiday Season

Amazon is convenient for the everyday shopper, but if you own a small business, you may be really feeling the pressure from the eCommerce giant, especially over the holidays. So how can you compete with variety and fast, free shipping? This article gives you three tips that can help you prepare for a successful holiday shopping season.

Facebook Shared 5 Holiday Shopping Season Tips for Marketers

The holidays are here, the biggest shopping season of the year. And if you’re like most marketers, you want to make the most of this time of year and reach out to as much of your audience as you can. Read on to see the 5 tips Facebook gave to marketers for this holiday shopping season.

Calls to businesses rose more than 375% over past two holiday seasons

According to the past two holiday seasons, it looks like customers are picking up their phones more often. This is important for all business owners, because it means that every ring could be another possible lead. And with more customers turning to their phones for answers, the more chances you have for success.

Survey: Expect more holiday spending, ‘blended retail’ shopping this year

The NPD Group shopping report for this year shows that with the rising economy, people will be spending more on holiday shopping this year, averaging $700 for gifts. Along with other important discoveries, the survey also notes that most people plan on ‘blended retail’ shopping, which is a mixture of both online and in store shopping. If you are a marketer or a store owner, remember the importance of both your online and offline presence for the 2018 holiday season.

7 Holiday Social Media Marketing Strategy Dos and Don’ts

Improving Your Marketing Program

5 Holiday Email Templates for Salespeople

The holiday season is upon us, which means you’re getting ready to send out those holiday emails to your leads and clients! Whether its a big thank you for their business, a big deal on your services or just a little holiday cheer, read this article for 5 Holiday Email Template ideas to help engage with your audience.

Which Is Best For Me?: Growth Driven Design vs. Traditional Web Design

Growth driven design is a great way to adapt to the market’s demands and give your customers new material on a constant basis. Although it’s a great marketing tool, growth driven design isn’t for everyone. Whether you want to go the traditional route or take the plunge and go for a growth driven design, this article shows you the important differences between the two.


Using Lead Scoring to Identify Your Best Prospects

There are many approaches to reaching your audience, and although reaching as many people as possible can be a good approach, you want to reach the right people. How do you know you’re reaching high-quality prospects? That’s where lead scoring comes in. Using lead scoring is the most effective way to target your most potential prospects so you’re being efficient with your time.

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Pinterest’s new Promoted Carousel ads will display up to 5 swipable images in a single ad

Pinterest’s new advertising feature will now allow advertisers to display up to 5 images that you can swipe left-to-right.  It looks just like a regular pin, except users can scroll through it in their feed or tap on it to look at one of the images. Giving marketers more ad space will allow them to add more creativity to their ads.

Foursquare can now measure TV ads’ impact on offline store visits

Marketers spend $70 billion dollars a year on tv advertising, but how do you measure the ROI on your tv commercial? This is the question businesses have been asking for decades, but now with Foursquare you can. Now radio, direct mail and TV commercials can be tracked to the store and even to the point-of-sale. Read on to see how they do it.

Snapchat integrates with Comscore to measure Discover channel traffic

With the new partnership with Comscore, advertisers will now be able to more accurately measure their reach in their Snapchat Discover channels. Compared to in the past when advertisers could only look through Snapchat itself to look at their reach, now there will be more data to gauge with a third-party measurement.

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