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Marketing for Manufacturing in the Age of the Self-Directed Buyer [Lunch & Learn]

By | April 15, 2014

factory light bulb

Retooling Your Marketing for Exponential Growth & Profitability
If you’re serious about understanding the new ways of marketing and selling, attend the Fathom/NitroMojo “Lunch & Learn” seminar on May 8th. You’ll walk away with a concrete plan for growing your company in the age of the self-directed buyer.

WHAT: Lunch & Learn: “Retooling Your Marketing for Exponential Growth & Profitability

WHERE: Richard Shatten Board Room, Greater Cleveland Partnership office. 1240 Huron Road E, Suite 300 Cleveland, OH 44115-1717

WHEN: Thursday, May 8 (11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.)

Space is limited to 25. Don’t miss out: Register today!

Join us to talk about:

  • Your sales goals
  • Your growth plan
  • The black hole in your distribution channels
  • Lead generation
  • Lead nurturing and sales conversion
  • Staying current in a rapidly evolving marketplace

WHY: In the old days, your customer came to you knowing nothing except that maybe you were the place to buy from. They needed you to hold a hand through the buying process, explaining every aspect of the thing they were purchasing. Information—and the advantage—was on your side.

Fast-forward to today: Buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they contact the vendor (Forrester). What does this mean? The buying process has been transformed. Customers often know what they’re looking for; they just don’t know YOU have it. And chances are, before they even know your name, they can easily investigate every aspect of what they’re ordering and discover your rivals in the course of that research.

THE ANSWER: Manufacturing executives, all is not lost! We can show you ways to capitalize on this information overabundance and your customers’ hunger for knowledge/help. Your company need not get tossed overboard in the sea change.

Stay for lunch, leave with a plan. We look forward to seeing you there!

***

Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson via Flickr.

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How Creative, Conversion and Analytics Joined Forces to Reinvent the Fathom® Website

By | January 16, 2014

About one year ago, Fathom decided to focus even more tightly on areas of industry expertise.

At this time, the Fathom website –the most important medium for reaching new customers and generating more sales – was in need of a new identity to reflect our evolving approach, services, areas of expertise and brand identity.

(Cue superhero music) Enter a dedicated marketing team with the sole purpose of promoting and establishing the Fathom brand.

PRIORITY #1: RECOGNIZE THE ISSUE

As we began digging into the analytics of the website, we found ways to boost the conversion rate, audience engagement, and overall user interaction.

From a design perspective, the original version of the website was not mobile-friendly, and was not automated to react responsively to browser window sizes. Responsive Web design (RWD) is an approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors). A site designed with RWD adapts the layout to the viewing environment by using fluid, proportion-based grids,flexible images, and CSS3 media queries.

Also, there was an incredibly large amount of real estate in the upper-left-hand corner of the home page that was ripe for repurposing. Your top priority “above-the-fold” should be establishing who you are and how your products or services can benefit your potential customers. Think of it as your storefront window; it is a peek inside of your business. If it is not appealing almost immediately, then chances are that your prospects will move on very quickly (attention deficit issues are at an all-time high on the Web these days, if you haven’t noticed).

 

Issues with the problematic homepage included wasted space and a lack of conversion elements.

Elements to focus on with a redesign of the homepage included wasted real estate, mobile viewing, and a lack of conversion elements.

Another balance designers must achieve is aesthetics vs. usability, i.e. user-centered design (UCD). UCD is focused on the usability of a site, or what makes for an easy and seamless user experience, including the ability to complete tasks (especially conversions, from the commercial perspective). We needed to integrate conversion-centered design (CCD) with a total creative redesign of the website. UCD and CCD do intertwine, but the major distinction of CCD is that it aims to persuade the user to achieve your business goal while ideally matching it to the user’s.

To sum it up, CCD is a discipline targeted specifically at designing page-level experiences that achieve a single business goal. It seeks to guide the visitor towards completing that one specific action, using persuasive design and psychological triggers to increase conversions. In Fathom’s case, that single business goal was to get users to request a free marketing opportunity assessment.

PRIORITY #2: REDESIGN THE FATHOM WEBSITE WITH RESPONSIVE CCD IN MIND

Now that we had established a conversion-centered design, the next steps were to mock up a website that not only maximized our new desired conversions, but also appealed visually to our target audience, and behaved in a responsive manner.

We redesigned the entire site to be responsive within our existing CSS template, but for the sake of time and this article, we will focus on the design of the homepage. The plan was simple: Focus on key elements that spoke to our customers with clarity about three very important topics:

  • Who Fathom was and why we exist
  • Our approach to digital marketing
  • Industry specialization

The initial mockups resulted in two varying designs of the homepage consisting of essentially the same content. Version A focused heavily on our digital funnel management approach to marketing, and included many features:

  • Industry areas of expertise
  • Ticker for tracking revenue delivered to clients
  • “About us” video
  • News and blog feed
  • Featurette of one of our teams
  • Resource library slider
  • List of the company’s top accomplishments and awards

Version B primarily concentrated on who Fathom was as a company, our goals, and our service areas of expertise. Version B was designed to be much simpler and more visually appealing than Version A, and included a large image slider with large calls-to-action; a breakdown of our digital funnel approach; a list of industry areas of expertise; our “about us” video; a news and blog feed; and a resource library slider.

Both variations included two main call-to-action buttons: “Free Assessment,” and “Chat with Our Experts.”

 

Versions A and B of the newly redesigned Fathom homepage

 

PRIORITY #3: ESTABLISH AN A/B TEST OF THE HOMEPAGE VARIATIONS

After some quick and masterful development within WordPress by our resident front-end Web developer/genius, Matt Thompson, it was time to put Versions A and B of the revamped homepage to work. With the help of Visual Website Optimizer, a multivariate conversion testing application, we put the two variations of the homepage face-to-face in a battle for conversion glorification. We focused our tests on three important variables:

  1. Our Approach (clicks to the ‘approach’ page through any stages of the funnel breakdown buttons)
  2. Engagement (overall time on the website)
  3. Free Assessment Conversions (clicks on the green button to our assessment request page containing a lead form)

The results of the test, which ran a total of three months, although very close in some cases, gave us some very important insights (see below).

a_b_test_results

While Version A led by a hair in conversions to the “Free Assessment” page, winning by 0.30%, Version B won the test for website engagement and clicks to learn more about our approach. With these analytics, we were able to conclude without a doubt that Version B led to higher engagement, keeping visitors on the site longer, resulting in higher education about Fathom’s approach and services.  With this knowledge, we have set Version B as the static and full-time variation of Fathom’s homepage.

PRIORITY #4: KEEP TESTING!

And the testing is far from over! Now that we know Version B holds the highest engagement, we will utilize this data to formulate and create three new variations of Version B to A/B/C test. Because we now know that our homepage visitors did not overwhelmingly request the “Free Assessment”, we can focus one of our variations around it with a slider banner image. Other elements we are planning to test include:

  • Variations of CTA button designs within the slider to increase clicks
  • Moving the “about us” video above the fold to increase engagement/time on site
  • Focusing the top entirely on our industries of expertise
  • Designing the top fold to be “approach”-centric, educating our audience on the services and people who make Fathom unique

The bottom line is: We will never stop testing, and neither should you! Web design and content architecting is the perfect storm in which creative, conversion and analytics fuse together to become the ultimate proving ground for your business. Do you have what it takes to appeal to your audience while maximizing conversions for your business? Balancing these interests can be a challenge, but the only way to truly refine and perfect this art is through the fusion of creative, conversion and data. The measuring stick to this balancing act will always be testing – and you should never be satisfied.

 

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Box.com: A Gift That Keeps on Giving

By | December 20, 2013

In the spirit of the holidays, Jay (Fathom’s IT superman) has given the gift of a cloud-based file sharing system to the Sales and Marketing team.  It’s a gift that will keepboxcta2 on giving, as it’s rolled out to the entire company over the next few months.

Box.com is officially replacing our fileserver, and we’re very excited about it.  It makes downloading documents a much faster process, allows for version control (no more saving over each others’ files permanently!), and enables team members to post comments and get real-time updates when files have been uploaded or changed.  Pretty awesome.

As a prerequisite to accessing Box.com, our internal marketing team produced “The 10 Box.com Commandments”.  This is a list of rules that all sales and marketing team members agreed to abide by to maintain the integrity of the new Box.com folder structure. We’d like to share these with you, if you or your company are considering a switch to Box.com.

 

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Dreamforce Recap 2013: 7 Key Call Metrics that Will Accelerate Sales Revenue

By | December 4, 2013

call-metrics-phone-dial

Howard Brown, CEO of RingDNA, kicked off Dreamforce with a session on 7 Key Call Metrics that Will Accelerate Sales Revenue. At Fathom, we’ve used call tracking services for years – both for ourselves and our clients – so we realize the importance in qualifying phone calls just like any other lead. However, this session took call tracking a level deeper – exploring the opportunity to tie both inbound and outbound calls into Salesforce.com directly using RingDNA. Not ever having heard of this tool before, I have to admit – it’s worth looking into if you’re utilizing Salesforce.

As Brown stated in his presentation, call metrics matter for three reasons:

  1. They help predict the future.  Call metrics help companies identify which sales reps are succeeding, which are likely to hit revenue targets and which are best to receive calls not just based on industry, but on keyword searches.
  2. Insides Sales hiring is up 54%, and for every one outside sales rep that is hired, there are 10 insides sales reps being added to teams.  It’s more critical now than ever to track the activity and performance of these insides sales reps, and the calls they’re making and receiving.
  3. First place gets a Cadillac, second place gets steak knives and third place is fired.  Closing deals is critical to sales reps, and understanding the quality of phone call leads can help sales teams know where to allocate their time and effort.

Without further ado…here are the 7 call metrics that every business should be tracking:

  1. Number of outbound calls by rep by day
  2. Call disposition per rep per day (how many calls turned into appointments?)
  3. Number of calls per lead (if a lead is unresponsive, how many times will the sales team try to reach out?)
  4. Number of unanswered calls (missed calls = lost revenue opportunity)
  5. Lead response time (did you know that responding to a leads query within an hour = 7x more likely to have a meaningful conversation and 60x morelikely than waiting 1 day? Harvard Business Review)
  6. Average Call Rating by Marketing Campaign (rate phone calls 1 to 5 stars so marketing has a good gauge on the quality of the leads they’re sending to sales)
  7. Wins by Rep by Campaign (are the right calls being routed to the right closers?)

If would like advice on how best to track your phone calls or leads, don’t hesitate to call us at 866-915-0418, chat with us, or shoot us a quick email.  We’ll get back to you right away.

You can also learn more about call tracking below:

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Breaking Down 5 Buzzwords from Dreamforce

By | November 25, 2013

If you weren’t at last week’s Salesforce.com Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, I will tell you what you missed (besides endless parties … er, networking opportunities) and why it’s important. First off, with nonstop stimulation and fantastic food, drink, people and learning, sensory overload was the norm. But this post is not about the excess, Green Day, or my personal travel details. I don’t think that helps you very much. The conference is certainly a spectacle. It is also something more. While it’s impossible to attend all of the 1,000+ sessions, making everybody’s experience of the event unique, I feel confident in making some broad generalizations about the theme of the conference, which essentially applies to anybody that does business. I’m going to call it ‘customer service for the 21st century.’

What follows are 5 of the most prominent buzzwords and catchphrases overheard at this year’s conference, plus a guide to interpreting them:

Internet of customers (connected customers): The idea that customers are mobile, always on and always connected via the Internet. The implication is that your business/brand should be monitoring all the data they share, engaging with them and making it easier for them to do their jobs or get what they want.

Internet of things: Related to the previous definition, the concept that everyday devices can connect to the Internet and bring more efficiency and convenience to users’ lives. Examples include Internet-controlled thermostats, automobile ignition starters, and electric toothbrushes (see Marc Benioff keynote below).

1:1 messaging: Refers to individual, personalized communication, specifically in the context of a large audience, e.g., an email database of 100,000 customers. The idea is that by appealing to the unique needs and situation of a single customer, you are vastly increasing your chances of being valuable to that person.

customer empathy: At the risk of sounding obvious, the companies that truly understand and empathize with their customers tend to be the ones that solve their problems and help give them what they want/need, sometimes even before they know they need it. The message is to truly understand your customers and do whatever it takes to remain close to them.

mobile: With mobile device usage increasing, the warnings were loud and clear: Any company that has mobile customers (which are increasingly representing all customers) needs to have a mobile-ready website and/or applications. Simply put, a website designed for a desktop computer will not be easy (and often impossible) to use on a mobile device, which causes high abandonment rates. The greater number of mobile customers in your audience, the more applicable this is to your business.

 

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