We all know how tempting it is to set aside our own business needs in favor of helping clients. Clients always come first. Over the last few months, while we were creating beautiful work for our clients, we were able to find little pieces of time to do it for ourselves.
We redesigned our website so that it’s easier than ever to learn, share and connect with us. Here’s how:
- It’s light, clean and well-organized so you’ll find what you’re looking for instantly.
- The expanded Portfolio gives you a close look at our latest work across a wide range of marketing capabilities and industries. From videos and e-blasts to websites and newsletters, you’ll see exactly what we do and how we do it.
- Find out what makes each of us tick on the new About Us page. You’ll also learn our favorite treat.
- We work with organizations large and small across all industries. Read some of their stories in our Case Studies to learn how you too can benefit from our expertise.
- It’s easier than ever to find marketing insights and ideas on our new Blog. Enhancements include featured posts and short introductions about each topic so that you can get top tips at your convenience.
Check out our new site now and come back often! What do you like about it? What, if anything, would you change? We want to hear from you, so let us know what you think.
Earlier this year, The Simons Group had the opportunity to work on materials for three award galas. I love working on award materials because they are a chance to celebrate honorees and each organization as a whole.
Below are two of my favorites from 2013: an elegant trifold program for BOMA Chicago and a fun twist on IABC’s Call for Entries for the Chicago Bronze Quill Awards.
Edward Bury, our contact at BOMA Chicago, was a pleasure to work with. He had a clear vision of what he wanted, but left the creativity to us. It was important to him to have a sophisticated and classic program. He also wanted to include categories and names that weren’t included in past brochures. Space was a challenge, but with just the right organization, everything fit nicely. For the cover, I chose a striking photo of Chicago and tied everything together by using the yellows in the photo to create a subtle gradient on the inside spread.
I always enjoy designing multipage layouts, so the IABC Call for Entries was a treat. Alex Mitchell, our contact at IABC, asked that we incorporate a quill to tie back to the show’s title. To do this, I drew a few different quill silhouettes and created abstract designs by layering and varying their opacities. I carried this design element throughout the entire piece to create a uniform look. Overall, this two-color design is very clean, open and easy to read.
Good luck to all of this year’s nominees! I’m looking forward to next year’s award season.
Have any designs inspired you lately? What elements appealed to you? Tell us about them in the comments below.
What clients see when we present a website we’ve designed for them is the culmination of hours of work. Few know what exactly goes on during those hours. What happens between the first conversation and the final presentation? Let me give you a brief glimpse. (more…)
ForteONE helps mid-market companies set goals and achieve them. But the management consultancy recently set some goals of its own; namely, to launch a new website that would be built around two concepts: 1) sharing its elite team’s expertise with a wider audience, 2) upholding the writer’s adage “show, don’t tell.”
From initial brainstorming sessions to the launch, we worked with ForteONE to define, refine and implement features and requirements for its new website, including: creating designs complementing the firm’s existing color scheme and marketing collateral; ensuring content consistency and message positioning; and developing the capabilities to allow ForteONE personnel to post white papers, case studies, videos and other thought leadership content directly to the new website.
We developed the new website, copy and design around a content management system. We also are completing an ongoing video series for ForteONE, which will use the new website as a platform for showing its clients’ success stories across a variety of media channels.
Take a look. Visit www.ForteONE.com.
What do you like best about the new ForteONE website?
Chicago Family Business Council (CFBC) offers a wealth of programming and support to help business leaders succeed. It’s fitting, then, that the website we recently created for CFBC is also chock-full of resources.
As a strategic partner for the organization, whose membership includes owners and key leaders of family-owned and other closely held businesses, we’ve worked with CFBC for years on its marketing efforts. When CFBC became an independent nonprofit organization and formed an affiliation with DePaul University earlier this year, the group needed a new website to go along with its new identity. CFBC had a long wish list for the site, but one overarching goal: making the website a dynamic, helpful resource for its members.
We handled the copywriting, design and coding for the new site, creating a user-friendly finished product filled with the information members need. Key features include a password-protected section where members can access sensitive documents and other information, a robust directory with member bios and photos, detailed information on joining CFBC, and an easy way to register for upcoming events. The website is built as a content management system, which means CFBC can update the site easily.
What do you think of CFBC’s new look? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re like most companies today, you send electronic communications to prospects, current customers and stakeholders.
Recent research from Monetate, an e-commerce software firm, shows that 4.25 percent of visitors who arrive at a website through an email turn into customers. Monetate’s found that only 0.59 percent of visitors who arrived via social media turn into customers.
The lesson? E-blasts – when used properly – yield significant results for your business. Misusing an e-blast can have the opposite effect, however. What are the ingredients for a winning e-blast?
- Clean copy. Did you edit your copy carefully? Did you overuse exclamation marks? Is your point clear? Is your copy too long? These are important questions to ask yourself before you send an e-blast. A well-edited, concise e-blast will go a lot further than something sloppy. Two paragraphs of copy – a couple of sentences and maybe a few bullet points – is all you need.
- Clean coding. Make sure whoever puts together your formatted e-blast knows what they’re doing. Be sure to remove [TEST] tags from the subject line. Eliminate sloppy HTML, which usually rears its ugly head when converting Microsoft Word to HTML. Edit the final layout with an eye toward eliminating any errant tags or other bad code that made it into the e-blast. If these types of errors show up, readers will not be impressed.
- No gimmicks. Don’t promise the moon, and don’t write too aggressively. For example, lead sentences like, “For only $100, you can get …” usually scare people away. While you’re at it, go ahead and remove “free offer” and “risk-free” from your e-blast vocabulary as well. Show that you’re adding value, and let people know you can fill a need.
- Don’t overwhelm. Aside from managing the content of individual e-blasts, make sure you’re not doing yourself a disservice by inundating subscribers with emails. There is no standard frequency when it comes to sending e-blasts, but a good rule of thumb is a minimum of once a month and a maximum of once a week. The worst thing a company can do is turn a loyal reader into someone who hits the unsubscribe button, and readers frequently opt out of e-communications when companies flood their inboxes.
At the end of the day, a well-crafted e-blast is good for your business and can promote products and services that help your customers. Take these steps to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck.
Have any additional e-blast tips? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Every year, Morrisey, one of our favorite clients, throws an employee party. This year’s theme was burgers and butterflies, and Hilary and I had the pleasure of designing and writing for the event. (more…)
What’s an infographic? A very valuable marketing tool, if wielded properly.
An infographic displays a high volume of data or information visually to explain a message quickly and clearly. Many companies are using infographics for advertisements, signs, maps, case studies, technical writing and sales. And why not? They’re easy to read, visually compelling and convey a large amount of information in a memorable way. (more…)
You may ask yourself, “If my product hasn’t changed, why should I change my brochure?”
If so, ask yourself another question: Have you ever seen a 10-year-old brochure? Not only does the color fade over time, but the information also becomes stale.
As customers’ needs change, so should your marketing strategy. And it isn’t as difficult as you think – designers have the technology to create eye-catching graphics that communicate your message effectively while also highlighting your products or services.
Many businesses have steered away from physical copies of their brochures and turned to digital versions of their marketing collateral. Going electronic allows companies to post brochures or sell sheets on their websites and send information to potential customers instantly. I remember waiting three to seven business days to receive a brochure or catalog in the mail. Now, I receive them immediately and can save the materials on my computer.
By providing customers with a digital format, you’re able to reach a larger audience. In addition, you’re not limited to a certain number of printed copies if you have price constraints. Another great advantage of going electronic with your brochures is that you can adjust your content quickly when necessary.
When we create a new website for a client, one of the first questions we ask is whether the company wants a content management system (CMS) site or a non-CMS (also called a traditional HTML) site. The right choice depends on a number of factors, including the client’s budget and how much control the company needs over the site once it’s completed. While a growing number of our clients are requesting CMS sites, some still prefer to go the traditional route.
Not sure what the difference is? You’re in the right place. We’ve put together a primer on the basics of CMS and non-CMS sites to help you find the right fit for your company. (more…)