The Summer of Interns

A nod to our 2017 summer interns.

This summer we’ve been lucky to have 3 interns here in the office — they’ve been excellent additions to our team, supporting our work in Decision Sciences, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing and Sales. We thought they did a great job, but we took a risk and asked them about their experiences with us.

Here’s what our interns had to say:

Katherine Glass, Consensus Summer InternKatherine Glass: This summer I worked with both Decision Sciences and Content Marketing. My favorite thing about Consensus is just how many different parts of the company I got to work in. I worked with data, I got to experience the proofing process, and I got to work on building our social media presence. I’m better prepared for any future work experience because not only have I gotten so much exposure, but I learned from people who were kind, open to answering questions, and who were interested in hearing what I had to say.

 

Alex Kennelly, Consensus Summer Intern

Alex Kennelly: This summer I had the opportunity to help out with multiple sites, both internal and for our clients. But the most exciting part was that I got to speak to our clients. I learned it is so important to treat each client as if they are the only one. No matter where I end up in the business world, I will always be able to apply that.

 

Brady Burke, Consensus Summer InternBrady Burke: I worked in Digital Marketing and Strategy at first and then integrated into Sales. The most exciting part is getting to work in a digital environment and learn about computer systems. The internship directly correlated with my major and should hopefully help me achieve a similar job!

 

We’re pretty happy we got to know these 3 talented, dedicated young people who were enthusiastic about coming into work and interested in learning everything they could from this opportunity at Consensus.

Best of luck guys, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for each of you! (Come back!)

Driving to Conversion: Designing Exceptional Landing Pages

Every aspect of your landing page design should support the path to conversion.

When we design a content marketing campaign, we sometimes start by designing the landing page experience. Sure, an outstanding ad campaign will drive folks to the landing page — but once they get there, we really want them to convert to a lead.

Our head of decision sciences likes to repeat this stat to our sometimes-verbose team of copywriters as they write landing page copy: 2% of the people who land on a landing page will fill out the form.

So, no pressure.

All that means is, we have to write succinct, inventive, and compelling copy. We’ve got to convince our target audience that they need the offer we’re selling. A lot of that has to do with the offer itself, but really, it’s all in how we sell it, and how we design the page to convey our message.

Let’s talk about design — because over the years, our creative team has worked to refine and perfect our approach to designing landing pages, experimenting with the right place to put the form, the right amount of copy, the right layout, and the right interactive elements.

Here’s what we’ve learned about creating exceptional landing pages that convert for our clients:

Highly-Scannable Design: Everything about our page design must support the path to conversions — so we layout our text in a way that makes it easily scannable, offer CTAs above the fold (and below if we have a longer landing page experience) and ensure our design is consistent with our client’s brand and product positioning.

Consistent Headlines: From our campaign creative through to the landing page, our headlines and CTAs must be consistent so people will know exactly what to do when they get to the page.

Highly-Clickable CTAs: CTA color is a big deal for us. There’s a lot of research on how green buttons perform better than red buttons, and that’s fantastic, but often our client’s brand palettes just don’t support green CTAs. So over time, we’ve learned the secret to clickable CTAs is really about contrast, either through color or fonts. Occasionally a subtle bevel or drop shadow can help if the brand allows. Or we might make it standout by making it unique, like giving it rounded corners in contrast to the rest of the design. And arrows are helpful too, because they indicate a forward direction or progression.

The Right CTA Copy: We always wrap our CTAs with a short description of our offer — one sentence or phrase. And we like to use short words like “get” instead of “submit” or “download.” (Download is a pet peeve for us — it just feels very 1997.)

Succinct, Actionable Copy: Our copy focuses on the benefits of our offer — why does our target audience need this offer; what will compel them to fill out the form? What will they get out of the offer — will they get stats, expertise, will they learn something that will help them be better at their job? Most of the time, we subscribe to the idea that less copy is more, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.

Social Proof: When we can, we feature testimonials on our landing pages, because 63% of people say they’re more likely to take action when they see product ratings and reviews. Remember, those are testimonials about our offer, not necessarily the product it might relate to.

Forms: Users hate giving away their information — so we strive to make our forms as short as possible, collecting only the information we really need to qualify leads. (We can always ask for more information later in our campaign if our client’s CRM supports it.) And, the form should be the primary focus of the page. We tend to put our forms to the right, but persistent forms work too.

Don’t optimize for the fold: While we try to keep our landing pages short, the reality is that users do scroll — so we follow this rule of thumb: figure out what a user needs to know in order to be motivated to fill out the form.  This means our landing pages can sometimes be quite long, either because our audience isn’t easily convinced to give away their email address, or because there really is a lot to say about the offer they’re getting. It’s all about having a deep understanding of our audience, their goals, and what motivates them.

 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to designing the ideal landing page experience. Each offer, each brand, each campaign is different. Our goal is always to create an experience users will enjoy; one that compels them to convert.

Working on a new content marketing campaign? We can help.

 

 

User Story Workshops

Successful online experiences enable users (i.e. customers, site visitors, etc.) to accomplish their goals. But oftentimes, in the design process, keeping users’ goals top-of-mind is no easy task.

To overcome this hurdle there is a simple yet effective exercise that ends with what we call a User Story Index. By the name alone you can derive two important facts about the exercise: it is about users (or site visitors) and what they want to accomplish when visiting a Website.

To create a User Story Index with our clients, we begin with a User Story Workshop to gain agreement on:
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5 Digital Design Trends That Are Changing The User Experience

A look into 5 digital design trends that create an everlasting digital user experience.

We see design trends everywhere. Everything we see in magazines, restaurants, shops, and home interiors, to runways, advertising, media, browsers and more, continually educates our eye on the evolution and trends of design. Sometimes the evolution is recycling trends from the past, and sometimes we see new trends. From Pharrell Williams’ hat and a comeback of culottes on the runways, to the return of the vintage edison light bulb and the new eco-friendly, sleek Tesla–all exciting trends that keep our eyes engaged and our minds thinking. Can I pull off a Pharrell hat or those culottes in my closet from ten years ago? Tesla or BMW? Should I update my kitchen pendants? All great questions, of course. Design trends keep decisions interesting!

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Customer Experience Strategies

If there is one important discussion we continue to have with our prospects and clients, it’s that delivering amazing cross-channel customer experiences takes new capabilities.

Why is the delivery of the Customer Experience (CX) such an important part of a brand’s success? Simply put…technology. As Scott Brinker points out in his excellent post Agencies and the marketing technologist revolution, digital is winning (see slide 5). Companies are beginning to tune their strategic thinking towards ways that increase the perceived value of their brand, increase lead gen and customer acquisition and decrease support needs – all through digital means. Customer Experience strategy and tactics (both outward and inward facing) allow corporations to have more touch points that are relationship driven and ultimately define the brand.
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Successful Branding By Design

Love the brand

When it comes to creating a brand, most businesses think they have it covered. They’ve hired a designer to create a logo that represents their company and voila it’s posted to their website or outside their brick and mortar. But with just a logo, your audience — your customer base — is only getting a fraction of your story. Understanding the importance of branding and its facets is a vital step towards crafting a memorable, worthwhile product or service.

Distinguishing how a logo and a brand differ is simple. A logo identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or an icon. A logo may take a few months to develop, whereas a company’s brand is a little trickier. The brand is the perceived visual and emotional collective response to things like your logo, your advertising strategies, your printed and digital materials and your brand voice.

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How Google Maps Data Visualization Completes a Community Site

A gorgeous design and Google Maps data visualization create an addictive user experience for a global community learning site.

Like every other industry, healthcare is using digital technology, big data and social media to improve the way it works. Whether it’s using 3D printing to allow surgeons to practice their craft, or social media to collaborate, or robots to efficiently and whimsically deliver food to patients, hospitals and healthcare companies alike are in the digital technology business.
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User Acceptance Testing Sheds Light On Value of Participant Feedback

It’s about that time, folks! Time to analyze our latest round of User Acceptance Testing (UAT). When creating memorable user experiences, it’s important to gather feedback from users before a final product goes to market. With every digital experience we create, this step plays an integral role in the project’s success. And this one’s for a mobile app which is really exciting!
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Blog Up People!

Implementing a blog doesn’t have to be over whelming, or even make you break a sweat. Here’s how in 5 easy steps.

Step 1. Go Window Shopping

WordPress, with it’s robust features and abundance of widgets and plugins, can give your blog great features and save you the time and money in the process. Is your company public? Use the stock widget. Are you looking to connect to Facebook? Use Facebook Connect. Do you want to have users follow and friend you on Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter? Use the Social Share Widget.  Do you want users to be able to find a location? Use google maps. Need your site to go mobile? Check out WPtouch to transform your WP site to an iphone, android, you name it application. What about SEO? Try All in One SEO pack. I could go on….and on….
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